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Beyond Consequentialism$
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Paul Hurley

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559305

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559305.001.0001

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From Impersonality to Interpersonality: Alternative Conceptions of Impartiality

From Impersonality to Interpersonality: Alternative Conceptions of Impartiality

(p.139) 6 From Impersonality to Interpersonality: Alternative Conceptions of Impartiality
Beyond Consequentialism

Paul Hurley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter sharpens Williams' second challenge to consequentialism, and harnesses it to counter one of the most influential rationales offered in support of consequentialism: the impartiality rationale. Williams' second challenge to consequentialism arises from the recognition that impersonal evaluation adopts a higher-order standpoint towards what rational persons recognize as valuable; not just their own pleasure and wellbeing, but, in addition, rights, autonomy, justice, fairness, loyalty, respect for persons as ends in themselves, etc. Impersonal evaluation articulates a higher-order moral reason that comprehends other lower-order moral reasons in its object, but, for this very reason, seems to be an implausible candidate for providing comprehensive moral reasons. Arguments by Samuel Scheffler that such non-impersonal moral values cannot be provided with an impartial rationale are taken up. It is argued that Scheffler's arguments against any such rationale for non-impersonal moral values inadvertently provide the outlines of just such a rationale. By the end of this chapter, the outlines of an alternative to the impersonal conception of impartiality emerge, together with the outlines of a rationale for its adoption. This interpersonal conception of impartiality, in contrast with the impersonal conception, is in the first instance appropriate for the evaluation of actions (rather than overall states of affairs), and provides a rationale for agent-centred restrictions, agent-centred options, and the doing/allowing distinction.

Keywords:   Scheffler, doing/allowing, impartiality, interpersonal conception, agent-centred restrictions, agent-centred options, liberation strategy

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