Judith Jarvis Thomson recently argued that it is impermissible for a bystander to turn a runaway trolley from five onto one. But she also argues that a trolley driver is required to do just that. We believe that her argument is flawed in three important ways. She fails to give proper weight to (a) an agent¹s claims not to be required to act in ways he does not want to, (b) impartiality in the weighing of competing patient-claims, and (c) (...) the role of patient-claims in determining agent-duties. All three of these failures can be understood in terms of what we call the Mechanics of Claims, an approach we develop for identifying and balancing competing claims in determining rights. Using that framework, one can see both why Thomson's most recent argument is mistaken, and how to think more clearly about deontological choices generally. (shrink)
Following a long-standing philosophical tradition, impartiality is a distinctive and determining feature of moral judgments, especially in matters of distributive justice. This broad ethical tradition was revived in welfare economics by Vickrey, and above all, Harsanyi, under the form of the so-called Impartial Observer Theorem. The paper offers an analytical reconstruction of this argument and a step-wise philosophical critique of its premisses. It eventually provides a new formal version of the theorem based on subjective probability.
We need modal imagination in order to extend our conception of reality - and, in particular, of human beings - beyond our immediate experience in the indexical present; and we need to do this in order to preserve the significance of human interaction. To make this leap of imagination successfully is to achieve not only insight but also an impartial perspective on our own and others' inner states. This perspective is a necessary condition of experiencing compassion for others. This is (...) the primary thesis I will try to defend in this discussion. (shrink)
We present an experiment designed to investigate three different mechanisms to achieve impartiality in distributive justice. We consider a first-person procedure, inspired by the Rawlsian veil of ignorance, and two third-party procedures, an involved spectator and a detached observer. First-person veiled stakeholders and involved spectators are affected by an initially unfair distribution that, in the stakeholders’ case, is to be redressed. We find substantial differences in the redressing task. Detached observers propose significantly fairer redistributions than veiled stakeholders or involved (...) spectators. Risk preferences partly explain why veiled stakeholders propose less egalitarian redistributions. Surprisingly, involved spectators, who are informed about their position in society, tend to favour stakeholders holding the same position as they do after the initial distribution. (shrink)
Anthropologists have documented substantial cross-society variation in people’s willingness to treat strangers with impartial, universal norms versus favoring members of their local community. Researchers have proposed several adaptive accounts for these differences. One variant of the pathogen stress hypothesis predicts that people will be more likely to favor local in-group members when they are under greater infectious disease threat. The material security hypothesis instead proposes that institutions that permit people to meet their basic needs through impartial interactions with strangers reinforce (...) a tendency toward impartiality, whereas people lacking such institutions must rely on local community members to meet their basic needs. Some studies have examined these hypotheses using self-reported preferences, but not with behavioral measures. We conducted behavioral experiments in eight diverse societies that measure individuals’ willingness to favor in-group members by ignoring an impartial rule. Consistent with the material security hypothesis, members of societies enjoying better-quality government services and food security show a stronger preference for following an impartial rule over investing in their local in-group. Our data show no support for the pathogen stress hypothesis as applied to favoring in-groups and instead suggest that favoring in-group members more closely reflects a general adaptive fit with social institutions that have arisen in each society. (shrink)
Intergenerational impartiality requires putting the welfare of future generations at par with that of our own. However, rational choice requires weighting all welfare values by the respective probabilities of realization. As the risk of non-survival of mankind is strictly positive for all time periods and as the probability of non-survival is cumulative, the probability weights operate like discount factors, though justified on a morally justifiable and completely different ground. Impartial intertemporal welfare maximization is acceptable, though the welfare of people (...) in the very far future has lower effects as the probabilities of their existence are also lower. However, the effective discount rate on future welfare values (distinct from monetary values) justified on this ground is likely to be less than 0.1 per annum. Such discounting does not compromise environmental protection and sustainability unduly. The finiteness of our universe implies that the sum of our expected welfare to infinity remains finite, solving the paradox of having to compare different infinite values in optimal growth/conservation theories. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss the question of partiality and impartiality in the application of triage. Triage is a process in medical research which recommends that patients should be sorted for treatment according to the degree or severity of their injury. In employing the triage protocol, however, the question of partiality arises because socially vulnerable groups will be neglected since there is the likelihood that the social determinants of a patient's health may diminish her chance of survival. As a (...) process that is based on the severity of a patient's injury, triage will be unfair, and hence negatively partial, to socially vulnerable people. Thus, I aim in this paper to show that the triage protocol fails as an impartial evaluative process because its only aim is to maximize survivability. I contend that: (i) triage would lead to the neglect of the social condition of patients or victims, and (ii) it will only serve the utilitarian purpose of maximization of outcomes which may not be justified in some cases. (shrink)
Distinguishing between reasonable partiality and reasonable impartiality makes a difference in resolving the serious clashes between priority for compatriots versus cosmopolitan global duties. Defenders of a priority for compatriots have to acknowledge two strong moral constraints: states have to fulfil all their special, domestic and trans-domestic duties, and associative duties are limited by distributive constraints resulting from the moral duty to fight poverty and gross global inequalities. In the recent global context, I see four main problems for liberal-nationalist defenders (...) of priority for compatriots: (i) Reasonable particularists often forget that associative duties for compatriots compete with many sub-national and trans-domestic associative duties. (ii) They tend to forget that associative national duties compete with other, strong special (contractual, reparative) obligations regarding not only citizens and residents inside nation-states but also trans-domestic obligations across state borders. (iii) They do not properly discuss the problem of unallocated duties in addressing global poverty and insecurity. (iv) The design of supra-national and global mediating institutions, and the crafting of policies to remedy the misallocation of duties and to coordinate the required state activities is an urgent task neglected by liberal nationalists. In the recent context, reasonable partialitys bias towards partiality is most unwelcome and morally dubious. Reasonable impartialitys bias towards cosmopolitanism helps to stimulate a drastic shift in obligations and stimulates productive trans-national institutional design. (shrink)
우리가 자신의 행위를 도덕적으로 정당화하고자 한다면, 그 행위가 도덕적 원칙과 병립할 수 있다는 것을 보여주어야 한다. 즉 도덕적 행위의 정당화는 보편적 관점에서 받아들여질 수 있어야 한다. 근대 이후 많은 철학자들과 여러 윤리이론들은 도덕적 추론은 공평성에 대한 요구를 받아들여야 한다고 주장했다. 이것을 우리는 ‘공평성 논제 impartiality thesis’라 부를 수 있다. 공평성 논제에 따르면 우리는 어떠한 도덕적 판단을 내리고자 할 때, 우리 자신이나 혹은 우리와 특별한 관계를 가진 사람들의 욕구나 이익에 특별한 비중을 두어서는 안 되며, 공평한 관망자로서 중립적 관점에서 판단하려 노력해야 (...) 한다. 하지만 또 다른 철학자들은 도덕 판단에 있어서의 이러한 공평성 논제에 동의하지 않는다. 이들은 사적으로 특별한 인간관계에서 요구되는 의무와 편향성(partialism)을 공평성 논제는 설명할 수 없다고 주장한다. 본 논문에서 필자는 도덕 판단에서의 공평성에 대한 요구에 관해 브래드 후커(Brad Hooker)가 제시하고 있는 공평성에 대한 평가와 도덕 판단에서 그 적용 단계를 중심으로 살펴보았다. 이를 통해 필자는 결국 윤리적 판단의 정당화 근거를 위해서는 공평성에 대한 요구가 충족되어야 함을 논증하였다. 왜냐하면 도덕 규칙들에 대한 정당화 요구는 도덕 판단에 있어서의 비결정성과 불확실성을 최소화하여 도덕에 관한 공평한 권위를 부과하기 위한 도덕 체계 일반의 보편적 요구사항이기 때문이다. (shrink)
Consequentialism is often charged with demandingness objections which arise in response to the theory’s commitment to impartiality. It might be thought that the only way that consequentialists can avoid such demandingness objections is by dropping their commitment to impartialism. However, I outline and defend a framework within which all reasons for action are impartially grounded, yet which can avoid demandingness objections. I defend this framework against what might appear to be a strong objection, namely the claim that anyone who (...) accepts the theory will be practically irrational. (shrink)
How should an impartial social observer judge distributions of well-being across different individuals when there is uncertainty regarding the state of the world? I explore this question by imposing very weak conditions of rationality and benevolent sympathy on impartial betterness judgments under uncertainty. Although weak enough to be consistent with all the main theories of rationality, these conditions prove to be sufficient to rule out any heterogeneity in what is good for individuals, to require a neutral attitude to uncertainty on (...) the part of the social observer, and to require that both individual and social betterness be strongly separable. (shrink)
Amartya Sen has argued that contractarian theories of justice inevitably fall victim to the problem of parochialism, for the reason that they rely on a problematically narrow conception of impartiality. Sen finds a corrective model of impartiality in Adam Smith’s figure of the impartial spectator. In this essay, I argue that Sen’s invocation of the spectator to resolve the problem of parochialism is unfounded, as the impartial spectator is fundamentally a product of socialization that serves to propagate conventional (...) moral norms. I consider various interpretive avenues for “rescuing” the spectator from parochialism, and ultimately conclude that a minor amendment to Smith’s account, resting on the possibility of a conscience informed by moral pluralism, is required. (shrink)
To capture genuine utilitarian tendencies, developed the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale based on two subscales, which measure the commitment to impartial beneficence and the willingness to cause harm for the greater good. In this article, I argue that the impartial beneficence subscale, which breaks ground with previous research on utilitarian moral psychology, does not distinctively measure utilitarian moral judgment. I argue that Kantian ethics captures the all-encompassing impartial concern for the well-being of all human beings. The Oxford Utilitarianism Scale draws, in (...) fact, a point of division that places Kantian and utilitarian theories on the same track. I suggest that the impartial beneficence subscale needs to be significantly revised in order to capture distinctively utilitarian judgments. Additionally, I propose that psychological research should focus on exploring multiple sources of the phenomenon of impartial beneficence without categorizing it as exclusively utilitarian. (shrink)
This paper presents an analysis of the various dimensions of independence and impartiality. Among other things, I will argue that the two concepts, both of which are profoundly implicated in the rule of law, can be conceived as values and are perfectly distinguishable from each other. I will also propose a conception of neutrality, as a third distinct value that satisfies the requirement for non-redundancy with regard to independence and impartiality. Hence, judges and arbitrators must be independent, impartial (...) and neutral. Each of these values contributes in different ways to enabling the law to fulfil its distinctive function of facilitating social interaction in complex and plural societies. (shrink)
Confronted with Adolf Eichmann, evildoer par excellence, Hannah Arendt sought in vain for any 'depth' to the evil he had wrought. How is the philosopher to approach evil ? Is the celebrated criterion of impartiality ill-equipped to guide judgment when its object is evil - as exhibited, for instance, in the recent genocide in Bosnia? This essay questions the ability of the neutral 'third party' to respond adequately to evil from a standpoint of avowed impartiality. Discussing the different (...) roles of perpetrator and victim, I argue that in any knowledge about evil the victim is the supremely privileged source; this being so, the non-party to the occurrence of evil must privilege the testimony of the victimized - even at the cost of strict impartiality of moral judgment. Key Words: Arendt evil genocide Goldhagen impartiality judgment Kant Levinas. (shrink)
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health disaster driven largely by antibiotic use in human health care. Doctors considering whether to prescribe antibiotics face an ethical conflict between upholding individual patient health and advancing public health aims. Existing literature mainly examines whether patients awaiting consultations desire or expect to receive antibiotic prescriptions, but does not report views of the wider public regarding conditions under which doctors should prescribe antibiotics. It also does not explore the ethical significance of public views (...) or their sensitivity to awareness of AMR risks or the standpoint (self-interested or impartial) taken by participants. Methods: An online survey was conducted with a sample of the U.S. public (n = 158). Participants were asked to indicate what relative priority should be given to individual patients and society-at-large from various standpoints and in various contexts, including antibiotic prescription. Results: Of the participants, 50.3% thought that doctors should generally prioritize individual patients over society, whereas 32.0% prioritized society over individual patients. When asked in the context of AMR, 39.2% prioritized individuals whereas 45.5% prioritized society. Participants were significantly less willing to prioritize society over individuals when they themselves were the patient, both in general (p = .001) and in relation to AMR specifically (p = .006). Conclusions: Participants’ attitudes were more oriented to society and sensitive to collective responsibility when informed about the social costs of antibiotic use and when considered from a third-person rather than first-person perspective. That is, as participants came closer to taking the perspective of an informed and impartial “ideal observer,” their support for prioritizing society increased. Our findings suggest that, insofar as antibiotic policies and practices should be informed by attitudes that are impartial and well-informed, there is significant support for prioritizing society. (shrink)
Bernard Williams questioned whether impartial morality “can allow for the importance of individual character and personal relations in moral experience.” Underlying his position is a distinction between factual and practical deliberation. While factual deliberation is about the world and brings in a standpoint that is impartial, practical deliberation is, he claims, radically first‐personal; it “involves an I that [is] intimately the I of my desires.” While it may be thought that Williams's claim implies an unpalatable Humean subjectivism, the present article (...) argues that this does not follow: That first‐person practical deliberation is directed both by the “I of my desires” and by the world. Drawing on Peter Winch's argument against the universalizability of moral judgments and D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, the article argues that practical deliberations involve discovering value in the world, but that what is revealed about the world depends constitutively on the first‐person deliberations and decisions of particular agents. (shrink)
D. D. Raphael examines the moral philosophy of Adam Smith (1723-90), best known for his famous work on economics, The Wealth of Nations, and shows that his thought still has much to offer philosophers today. Raphael gives particular attention to Smith's original theory of conscience, with its emphasis on the role of 'sympathy' (shared feelings).
It is a commonplace that in many societies people adhere to profoundly different conceptions of the good. Given this we need to know what political principles are appropriate. How can we treat people who are committed to different accounts of the good with fairness? One recent answer to this pressing question is given by Brian Barry in his important work Justice as Impartiality. This book, of course, contains much more than this. It includes a powerful and incisive discussion of (...) several accounts of distributive justice, a critique of other attempts to defend liberal neutrality and a rebuttal of those who are critical of the ideal of impartiality. In this paper I wish, however, to focus on Barry's defence of liberal neutrality. The paper falls into three parts. Section I outlines the thesis that Barry wants to defend and gives a brief sketch of the argument he employs to defend it. Barry's argument makes two claims – what I have termed the Sceptical Thesis and the Agreement Thesis. Section II therefore critically assesses Barry's defence of the sceptical thesis and Section III examines the agreement thesis. (shrink)
This article explores the relationship between friendship and morality. Two ideas have been influential in the history of moral philosophy: the impartial standpoint and close friendship. These two perspectives on thought and action can conflict, however, and such a case is presented here. In an attempt to resolve these tensions, and understand the assumption that gives rise to it, I explore an alternative conception of moral conduct and friendship suggested by early Confucian thought. Within this account, moral conduct is that (...) which aims at harmony, understood as the appropriate blending of different elements. This suggests a conception of friendship that realizes harmony through a focus on shared activities, and the quality of interaction achieved between people as they participate in shared social events. This account offers a novel way of conceptualizing friendship, which also avoids the tension between the impartial standpoint and close friendship. (shrink)
Distinguishing between reasonable partiality and reasonable impartiality makes a difference in resolving the serious clashes between 'priority for compatriots' versus cosmopolitan global duties. Defenders of a priority for compatriots have to acknowledge two strong moral constraints: states have to fulfil all their special, domestic and trans-domestic duties, and associative duties are limited by distributive constraints resulting from the moral duty to fight poverty and gross global inequalities. In the recent global context, I see four main problems for liberal-nationalist defenders (...) of priority for compatriots: Reasonable particularists often forget that associative duties for compatriots compete with many sub-national and trans-domestic associative duties. They tend to forget that associative national duties compete with other, strong special obligations regarding not only citizens and residents inside nation-states but also trans-domestic obligations across state borders. They do not properly discuss the problem of unallocated duties in addressing global poverty and insecurity. The design of supra-national and global 'mediating' institutions, and the crafting of policies to remedy the misallocation of duties and to coordinate the required state activities is an urgent task neglected by liberal nationalists. In the recent context, reasonable partiality's bias towards partiality is most unwelcome and morally dubious. Reasonable impartiality's bias towards cosmopolitanism helps to stimulate a drastic shift in obligations and stimulates productive trans-national institutional design. (shrink)
Advocates of altruism maintain that altruism is an inherently beneficial and, therefore, morally desirable motivational disposition towards furthering other people's good. In this essay I dispute this claim by showing various ways in which altruism might come into conflict with plausible moral demands. The underlying problem is always one of moral myopia, an altruistic blind spot that interferes with altruism's capacity to track moral demands. To resolve the moral dilemmas associated with altruism, I argue, we need to embed altruistic dispositions (...) in a more comprehensive moral framework. I propose that a theory of impartiality might succeed in embedding altruism in way that avoids the problems outlined in this essay, in addition to allowing room for altruistic motivations to play a genuine part. The main purpose of this essay is to draw attention to the complexities associated with the moral assessment of altruistic acts and choices. (shrink)
This essay critically assesses two strategies of accommodation used by defenders of impartialism in ethics to argue that the care orientation represents no genuine challenge to impartialist theoretical paradigms. One strategy focuses on impartiality as a constraint on moral deliberation, the other as a constraint on moral justification. While highlighting respects in which the commitment to impartiality is more consonant with the care orientation than many advocates of care have acknowledged, this essay attempts to clarify crucial ways in (...) which each accommodationist strategy falls, thus locating some of the more important contributions and challenges the care orientation offers to moral theory. (shrink)
Why should a lottery be used in the allocation of an indivisible good to which participants in the lottery have an equally strong claim? Stone argues that when indeterminacy arises, in which it is impossible to satisfy the equality condition requiring like cases to be treated alike, the impartiality principle suggests that the agent responsible for the allocation task should not intend to favor one over another on the basis of invalid reasons. In this article, I argue that the (...)impartiality principle is neither sufficient nor necessary to explain the fairness of lotteries. Instead, the fairness of lotteries is explained by the sanitizing effect that lotteries generate to screen out the reactive attitudes of resentment and indignation that claimants might otherwise have if they do not obtain the good in question. (shrink)
Many hold that morality is essentially impartial. Many also hold that partiality is justified. Susan Wolf argues that these commitments push us towards downgrading morality's practical significance. Here I argue that there is a way of pushing morality's boundaries in a partialist direction in a way that respects Wolf's insights.
Philosophers are apt to assume that impartial thinking is both possible and desirable. This article, originating in a very definite doubt of this assumption, is an attempt at an examination of the problem.
Defenders of sophisticated evidential decision theory (EDT) have argued (1) that its failure to provide correct recommendations in problems where the agent believes himself asymmetrically fallible in executing his choices is no flaw of the theory, and (2) that causal decision theory gives incorrect recommendations in certain examples unless it is supplemented with an additional metatickle or ratifiability deliberation mechanism. In the first part of this paper, I argue that both positions are incorrect. In the second part of the paper, (...) I show how the agent's preferences involved in standard counterexamples to EDT, such as Newcomb's problem, violate the Jeffrey/Bolker preference axioms, specifically the Impartiality axiom. (shrink)
Kierkegaard's "Works of Love" provocatively presses for a reconsideration of impartiality, partiality, and equality. Past readings of this text have typically (1) criticized its focus on the abstract category of "human being," ignoring its attention to distinctiveness and difference; (2) defended it from the charge of abstraction by accenting its treatment of distinctiveness and difference, playing down its assumptions about the "essentially" human; (3) acknowledged its emphases on both essence and difference, arguing that they are incompatible and irreconcilable; or (...) (4) acknowledged both emphases, assuming they are compatible without exploring or accounting for the apparent incompatibility. As a means of resolving this seeming inconsistency, I will focus on Kierkegaard's recommendation of moral blindness and its implications for moral vision, and I will argue that "Works of Love" contains resources for an understanding of impartiality that allows moral attention to concrete difference. (shrink)
‘Impartial benevolence and partial love’ contributes, like the other essays in the edited collection ‘The Problem of Moral Demandingness’, to the discussion of that problem. Its contribution is to offer a phenomenological exploration of the place that these two ideas/ ideals actually have in our ethical life and experience. On the basis of this exploration I argue that neither ideal, neither impartial benevolence nor partial love, comprehensively “trumps” the other — both are important, and more to the point, simply different. (...) Hence there is no general algorithm for deciding which counts for more. (shrink)
The paper constitutes a detailed critical commentary on Stephen Darwall’s Impartial Reason (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983). Its central thesis is that Darwall’s attempt to integrate a naturalist theory of substantive reasons for acting with a neo-rationalist derivation of moral requirements from the very concept of practical rationality is faced with insurmountable theoretic problems. The author argues that anyone who would accept a plausible internalist account of reasons, that justificatory reasons for an agent to act are facts which must be (...) capable of motivating that agent under certain conditions, cannot establish on an a priori or rationalist basis claims for the intersubjective validity of reasons or substantive normative requirements of any kind, but rather must acknowledge that such claims are both irreducibly empirical and epistemically risky. (shrink)
Almost every country today contains adherents of different religions and different secular conceptions of the good life. Is there any alternative to a power struggle among them, leading most probably to either civil war or repression? The argument of this book is that justice as impartiality offers a solution. According to the theory of justice as impartiality, principles of justice are those principles that provide a reasonable basis for the unforced assent of those subject to them. The object (...) of this book is to set the theory out, explain its rationale, and respond to a variety of criticism that have been made of it. As the second volume of his work-in-progress, A Treatise on Social Justice, this work lies at the heart of a thriving academic debate which the author has played a key role in shaping. (shrink)
In modern Western philosophy, impartial reasoning has defined the moral point of view and determined the strategies of moral justification. Political philosophers have invoked it as well, to legitimate certain governmental and social institutions. Normative impartiality has become highly controversial in recent years, however, and feminists have contributed substantially to these debates.
The debate between impartialists and their critics has dominated both moral and political philosophy for over a decade. Characteristically, impartialists argue that any sensible form of impartialism can accommodate the partial concerns we have for others. By contrast, partialists deny that this is so. They see the division as one which runs exceedingly deep and argue that, at the limit, impartialist thinking requires that we marginalise those concerns and commitments that make our lives meaningful. This book attempts to show both (...) that the dispute between impartialists and their critics runs very deep, and that it can nonetheless be resolved. The resolution begins by asking how impartialist political philosophy can defend the priority of justice when it conflicts with people's commitments to their conceptions of the good. It is argued that priority can only defended if political impartialism has a moral foundation, and that moral foundation must not be a foundation in the ideal of equality (as is often thought), but a foundation in the partial concerns we have for others. In short, impartialist moral philosophy must take our partial concerns as central if it is to gain allegiance. However, if it does take our partial concerns as central, then it can generate a defence of political impartialism which shows why justice must take priority, but which also acknowledges that pluralism about the good is permanent. (shrink)
This paper discusses “impartiality thought experiments”, i.e., thought experiments that attempt to generate intuitions which are unaffected by personal characteristics such as age, gender or race. We focus on the most prominent impartiality thought experiment, the Veil of Ignorance (VOI), and show that both in its original Rawlsian version and in a more generic version, empirical investigations can be normatively relevant in two ways: First, on the assumption that the VOI is effective and robust, if subjects dominantly favor (...) a certain normative judgment behind the VOI this provides evidence in favor of that judgment; if, on the other hand, they do not dominantly favor a judgment this reduces our justification for it. Second, empirical investigations can also contribute to assessing the effectiveness and robustness of the VOI in the first place, thereby supporting or undermining its applications across the board. (shrink)
This article examines the ways in which French tourist officers manage impartiality in telephone calls when faced with recommendation-seeking questions. Using Conversation Analysis and drawing on a corpus of 700+ telephone calls, it shows that, by typically avoiding conforming responses, officers resist confirming the evaluative element embodied in RSQs and, thus, avoid making recommendations. Instead, they opt to treat the questions as unanswerable in their own terms, a practice that may be deployed on its own or in conjunction with (...) other practices such as supplying information that will assist callers in making their choices and/or constructing responses as contingent. Further, officers typically do not decline to make recommendations on institutional grounds and, through their choices of interactional practices, obscure the institutional restrictions under which they operate. Thus, the selection of nonconforming responses by tourist officers is shown to contribute to the maintenance of an impartial stance. Finally, the article addresses the notions of affiliation and alignment and shows that nonconforming responses are less disaffiliative than outright rejections. (shrink)
In this article, I defend the veil of ignorance against the objection that the device is inadequate for deriving demands of justice, because the veil of ignorance purportedly enforces a stronger form of impartiality than Kant’s categorical imperative and, primarily as a consequence, it generally leads to non-prioritarian conclusions. I show that the moral ideal of impartiality that is expressed by the veil of ignorance is not essentially different from Kant’s notion of impartiality and that it does (...) not generally lead to non-prioritarian conclusions. Although the moral ideal of impartiality that is modeled by the veil of ignorance demands solid justification for favoring particular positions of society, it generally does not rule out prioritarianism. Rather, the non-prioritarian conclusions reached by many theories of justice that rely on veil of ignorance reasoning are a result of the complex structures of these theories and the way that they combine and weigh different moral ideals, as well as their informational bases. (shrink)
Peremptory norms of general international law are universally binding prohibitions that override any consideration for non-compliance. The question is how nonconsensual norms emerge from a consensual international legal order. It appears that either the peremptoriness of jus cogens renders consent superfluous to the norm’s binding force or consent divests jus cogens of its peremptory status. The goal of this paper is to resolve the dilemma by explaining why jus cogens is exempt from the general requirement of consent that binds states (...) to the rules of international law. The paper provides an impartiality-based account of enforcement that explains why a state’s refusal to give consent to jus cogens may be overridden in a consensual legal order. (shrink)
Landon Frim ABSTRACT: ‘Universal benevolence’ may be defined as the goal of promoting the welfare of every individual, however remote, to the best of one’s ability. Currently, the commonest model of universal benevolence is that of ‘impartiality,’ the notion promoted by Peter Singer, Roderick Firth, and others, that every individual is of equal ….
In a much-discussed article on fair grading, Daryl Close said that impartial and consistent grading of students forbids practices like grading on a curve and dropping the lowest grade. I show—negatively—that impartiality and consistency don’t forbid these practices. I also show—positively—that some other conditions on fair and reasonable grading do rule out grading on a curve and dropping the lowest grade.