Scope Restrictions, National Partiality, and War

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 20 (2) (2021)
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Most of us believe that partiality applies in a broad range of relationships. One relationship on which there is much disagreement is co-nationality. Some writers argue that co-national partiality is not justified in certain cases, like killing in war, since killing in defense of co-nationals is intuitively impermissible in other contexts. I argue that this approach overlooks an important structural feature of partiality—namely, that its scope is sometimes restricted. In this essay, I show how some relationships that generate reasons of partiality are restricted in scope—that is, they generate reasons within particular contexts or with respect to particular goods. I then argue that co-national partiality is scope restricted. I then show how this fact helps proponents of co-national partiality overcome the aforementioned objection to its application in cases like war.

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Jeremy Davis
University of Georgia

Citations of this work

Partiality, Asymmetries, and Morality’s Harmonious Propensity.Benjamin Lange & Joshua Brandt - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-42.

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References found in this work

Proportionality in the Morality of War.Thomas Hurka - 2004 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):34-66.
Role obligations.Michael O. Hardimon - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (7):333-363.
Associative Duties and the Ethics of Killing in War.Seth Lazar - 2013 - Journal of Practical Ethics 1 (1):3-48.
Justifying Partiality.Errol Lord - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):569-590.

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