Two concerns about the rejection of social cruelty as the basis of moral equality

European Journal of Political Theory 19 (3):408-416 (2020)
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In his recent book, Humanity without Dignity: Moral Equality, Respect, and Human Rights, Andrea Sangiovanni argues that the principle of moral equality should be grounded in the wrongness of treating others as inferiors insofar as this constitutes an act of social cruelty. In this short piece, I will raise two concerns about the rejection of social cruelty as the basis of moral equality: first, Sangiovanni’s account seems to give rise to disturbing implications as to how those beings that have basic moral status relate to each other. Second, grounding moral equality in the rejection of social cruelty may fail to capture some wrongs qua violation of moral equality.



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Giacomo Floris
University of York