Partiality is the special concern that we display for ourselves and other people with whom we stand in some special personal relationship. It is a central theme in moral philosophy, both ancient and modern. Questions about the justification of partiality arise in the context of enquiry into several moral topics, including the good life and the role in it of our personal commitments; the demands of impartial morality, equality, and other moral ideals; and commonsense ideas about supererogation. This paper provides (...) an overview of the debate on the ethics of partiality through the lens of the domains of permissible and required partiality. After outlining the conceptual space, I first discuss agent-centred moral options that concern permissions not to do what would be impartially optimal. I then focus on required partiality, which concerns associative duties that go beyond our general duties to others and require us to give special priority to people who are close to us. I discuss some notable features of associative duties and the two main objections that have been raised against them: the Voluntarist and the Distributive objections. I then turn to the justification of partiality, focusing on underivative approaches and reasons-based frameworks. I discuss the reductionism and non-reductionism debate: the question whether partiality is derivative or fundamental. I survey arguments for ‘the big three’, according to which partiality is justified by appeal to the special value of either projects, personal relationships, or individuals. I conclude by discussing four newly emerging areas in the debate: normative transitions of various personal relationships, relationships with AI, epistemic partiality, and negative partiality, which concerns the negative analogue of our positive personal relationships. (shrink)
I argue that you can be permitted to discount the interests of your adversaries even though doing so would be impartially suboptimal. This means that, in addition to the kinds of moral options that the literature traditionally recognises, there exist what I call other-sacrificing options. I explore the idea that you cannot discount the interests of your adversaries as much as you can favour the interests of your intimates; if this is correct, then there is an asymmetry between negative partiality (...) toward your adversaries and positive partiality toward your intimates. (shrink)
I here settle a recent dispute between two rival theories in distributive ethics: Restricted Prioritarianism and the Competing Claims View. Both views mandate that the distribution of benefits and burdens between individuals should be justifiable to each affected party in a way that depends on the strength of each individual’s separately assessed claim to receive a benefit. However, they disagree about what elements constitute the strength of those individuals’ claims. According to restricted prioritarianism, the strength of a claim is determined (...) in ‘prioritarian’ fashion by both what she stands to gain and her absolute level of well-being, while, according to the competing claims view, the strength of a claim is also partly determined by her level of well-being relative to others with conflicting interests. I argue that, suitably modified, the competing claims view is more plausible than restricted prioritarianism. (shrink)
The institution of the family and its importance have recently received considerable attention from political theorists. Leading views maintain that the institution’s justification is grounded, at least in part, in the non-instrumental value of the parent-child relationship itself. Such views face the challenge of identifying a specific good in the parent-child relationship that can account for how adults acquire parental rights over a particular child—as opposed to general parental rights, which need not warrant a claim to parent one’s biological progeny. (...) I develop a view that meets this challenge. This Project View identifies the pursuit of a parental project as a distinctive non-instrumentally valuable good that provides a justification for the family and whose pursuit is necessary and sufficient for the acquisition of parental rights. This view grounds moral parenthood in a normative relation as opposed to a biological one, supports polyadic forms of parenting, and provides plausible guidance in cases of assisted reproduction. (shrink)
We argue for asymmetries between positive and negative partiality. Specifically, we defend four claims: i) there are forms of negative partiality that do not have positive counterparts; ii) the directionality of personal relationships has distinct effects on positive and negative partiality; iii) the extent of the interactions within a relationship affects positive and negative partiality differently; and iv) positive and negative partiality have different scope restrictions. We argue that these asymmetries point to a more fundamental moral principle, which we call (...) Morality’s Harmonious Propensity. According to this principle, morality has a propensity toward preserving positive relationships and dissolving negative ones. (shrink)
In this paper, we distinguish between different sorts of assessments of algorithmic systems, describe our process of assessing such systems for ethical risk, and share some key challenges and lessons for future algorithm assessments and audits. Given the distinctive nature and function of a third-party audit, and the uncertain and shifting regulatory landscape, we suggest that second-party assessments are currently the primary mechanisms for analyzing the social impacts of systems that incorporate artificial intelligence. We then discuss two kinds of as-sessments: (...) an ethical risk assessment and a narrower, technical algo-rithmic bias assessment. We explain how the two assessments depend on each other, highlight the importance of situating the algorithm within its particular socio-technical context, and discuss a number of lessons and challenges for algorithm assessments and, potentially, for algorithm audits. The discussion builds on our team’s experience of advising and conducting ethical risk assessments for clients across dif-ferent industries in the last four years. Our main goal is to reflect on the key factors that are potentially ethically relevant in the use of algo-rithms, and draw lessons for the nascent algorithm assessment and audit industry, in the hope of helping all parties minimize the risk of harm from their use. (shrink)
AI-supported methods for identifying and combating disinformation are progressing in their development and application. However, these methods face a litany of epistemic and ethical challenges. These include (1) robustly defining disinformation, (2) reliably classifying data according to this definition, and (3) navigating ethical risks in the deployment of countermeasures, which involve a mixture of harms and benefits. This paper seeks to expose and offer preliminary analysis of these challenges.
We investigated the accuracy of gender stereotypes regarding digital game genre preferences. In Study 1, 484 female and male participants rated their preference for 17 game genres. In Study 2, another sample of 226 participants rated the extent to which the same genres were presumably preferred by women or men. We then compared the results of both studies in order to determine the accuracy of the gender stereotypes. Study 1 revealed actual gender differences for most genres—mostly of moderate size. Study (...) 2 revealed substantial gender stereotypes about genre preferences. When comparing the results from both studies, we found that gender stereotypes were accurate in direction for most genres. However, they were, to some degree, inaccurate in size: For most genres, gender stereotypes overestimated the actual gender difference with a moderate mean effect size. (shrink)