Ethics 101 (4):818-835 (1991)

Marilyn Friedman
Washington University in St. Louis
This essay counteracts that trend [regarding the debate about whether partiality can be justified, those supporting impartiality have generally been on the offensive arguing that morality calls for impartiality] by taking a closer look at the moral complexity of our social practices of partiality. My adoption of this approach does not represent an endorsement of current notions of impartiality. The ideal of impartiality, in my view, should be substantially reformulated. However, that the concept of partiality is transparently defensible. In this discussion, I focus on the aspects of partiality that complicate the philosophical defense of it. In the first part of the discussion, I argue that the moral value of partiality depends partly on the moral value of the relationships it helps to sustain. It matters to the philosophical issues at stake that personal relationships can be abusive and oppressive. In Section II, I refer to the vastly unequal social distribution of the means for favoring loved ones. Because many people have inadequate resources for caring for their loved ones, our conventional relationship practices of partiality-practices by which we care only for our ``own''-can be disasterous for many people. This seriously complicates the defense of partiality. The paper ends with a discussion, in Section III, of ``global moral concern'' and the resistance which most partialists show to it.
Keywords impartiality  partiality  friedman
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/293345
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,160
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Associative Duties and the Ethics of Killing in War.Seth Lazar - 2013 - Journal of Practical Ethics 1 (1):3-48.
The Justification of Associative Duties.Seth Lazar - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (1):28-55.
Geography and Moral Philosophy: Some Common Ground.David M. Smith - 1998 - Ethics, Place and Environment 1 (1):7-34.

View all 27 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Justification of National Partiality.Thomas Hurka - 1997 - In Jeff McMahan & Robert McKim (eds.), The Morality of Nationalism. New York, USA: Oxford Unversity Press. pp. 139-57.
Friendship, Virtue, and Impartiality.Diane Jeske - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (1):51-72.


Added to PP index

Total views
135 ( #85,466 of 2,499,361 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #89,633 of 2,499,361 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes