Justifying Partiality

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):569-590 (2016)

Abstract

It’s an undeniable fact about our moral lives that we are partial towards certain people and projects. Despite this, it has traditionally been very hard to justify partiality. In this paper I defend a novel partialist theory. The context of the paper is the debate between three different views of how partiality is justified. According to the first view, partiality is justified by facts about our ground projects. According to the second view, partiality is justified by facts about our relationships with the things that we are partial towards. And according to the third view, partiality is justified by facts about the things that we are partial towards. I argue that all three views contain part of the truth. We can see this by adopting a more sophisticated view of the weight of reasons. Once we do this, it will be clear that both facts about individuals and facts about relationships play a role in explaining why we often have stronger reason to act well towards those things we are partial towards. Further, I argue, facts about projects help explain why facts about relationships play the role that they do in determining the strength of our reasons.

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Author's Profile

Errol Lord
University of Pennsylvania

References found in this work

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.
Slaves of the Passions.Mark Schroeder - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.

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Citations of this work

Valuing Anger.Antti Kauppinen - 2018 - In Myisha Cherry & Owen Flanagan (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Anger. Rowman & Littlefield.
Scope Restrictions, National Partiality, and War.Jeremy Davis - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 20 (2).
Impartiality.Troy Jollimore - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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