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Partiality and ImpartialityMorality, Special Relationships, and the Wider World$
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Brian Feltham and John Cottingham

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579952.001.0001

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Impartiality and Ethical Formation *

Impartiality and Ethical Formation *

(p.65) 3 Impartiality and Ethical Formation*
Partiality and Impartiality

John Cottingham

Oxford University Press

This chapter defends the legitimacy of a certain partiality towards oneself in the assignment of time and resources, based on the idea that self-improvement is a legitimate moral undertaking. The ancient notion that we each have a responsibility for the ‘stewardship’ of our talents suggests that at least some of our personal goals are immune to dissolution in the name of externally defined goals. Scope for the development of talents (following Kant) is inherent to my status as a human being. Self-development is not, however, the same as self-creation: the idea that I have carte blanche to determine my own values and structure my life around whatever projects I see as defining who I am. Self-improvement makes sense only within an objective framework of value. Stewarding my individual resources inevitably requires me to take into account the needs of my fellow humans in the wider world.

Keywords:   partiality, self-development, self-improvement, Kant, talents

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