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Do All Persons Have Equal Moral Worth?On 'Basic Equality' and Equal Respect and Concern$
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Uwe Steinhoff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719502

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719502.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2022

On the (Re)Construction and Basic Concepts of the Morality of Equal Respect

On the (Re)Construction and Basic Concepts of the Morality of Equal Respect

(p.124) 7 On the (Re)Construction and Basic Concepts of the Morality of Equal Respect
Do All Persons Have Equal Moral Worth?

Stefan Gosepath

Oxford University Press

This chapter relies on a “reconstruction and reflection of our moral awareness” and on discourse ethics to justify basic equality. Analyzing the function of morality and the pragmatics of moral judgments, it tries to justify a principle according to which “a rule is morally justified if and only if, as part of a system of norms, it can be accepted by all addressees as a general guideline for their actions for reasons which are in equal measure general and reciprocal, forming the basis for an enlightened and generally accepted agreement reached without coercion.” The chapter argues that in light of this principle at least one anti-egalitarian challenge can be refuted: while it may be right to treat Mother Teresa and Hitler unequally and to ascribe to them unequal moral worth in some respect, they still retain their “right to justification” on a deeper level and in this sense have equal dignity.

Keywords:   basic equality, dignity, discourse ethics, egalitarianism, moral worth, principle of justification

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