Why the Moral Equality Account of Hypocrisy Does Not Fail After All

The Journal of Ethics 28 (1):171-186 (2024)
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The Moral Equality Account of Hypocrisy (ME) is a prominent theory of why hypocrites lack moral standing to blame. Hypocrites make exceptions for themselves and thereby implicitly deny moral equality, which is an essential premise of moral standing to blame. ME has recently faced challenges from philosophers who deny that it is the hypocrite’s rejection of moral equality that causes her to lose moral standing to blame. I have distinguished three main challenges which I discuss and rebut in this article: “The Internal Blame and Blame of Fictional Characters Challenge”, which I attribute to Todd ( 2019 ), and “The Hypercrite Challenge” and “The Inegalitarian Norm Challenge”, which are due to Lippert-Rasmussen ( 2021 ). The article begins by offering an account of ME. It fills in a few gaps in the theory, by explaining why it is necessary for a blamer to invoke a special right to blame and by determining the type of right that standing to blame is. It also distinguishes between the question of why hypocrisy is wrong or bad, and the question of why it undermines moral standing to blame. I hold that several theories provide plausible answers to the first question, but only ME has so far given a good answer to the second question. When distinguishing properly between these two questions, we see that ME can respond satisfactorily to the three challenges.



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David C. Vogt
University of Bergen

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Are there any natural rights?H. L. A. Hart - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (2):175-191.
Hypocrisy and the Standing to Blame.Kyle G. Fritz & Daniel Miller - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):118-139.
Hypocrisy, Moral Address, and the Equal Standing of Persons.R. Jay Wallace - 2010 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (4):307-341.
The Walk and the Talk.Daniela Dover - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (4):387-422.

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