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Philosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law$
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Deborah Hellman and Sophia Moreau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664313

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664313.001.0001

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Treating People as Individuals

Treating People as Individuals

(p.203) 10 Treating People as Individuals
Philosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law

Benjamin Eidelson

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers an account of the duty to treat people as individuals, and argues that this distinctive obligation forms an important thread in the moral case against much discrimination. Treating people as individuals is not a matter of eschewing statistical evidence about them, but rather of paying attention to their own roles in determining who they are, and respecting their capacities to make choices for themselves as autonomous agents. This does not suffice to work out the concrete demands of respect for individual autonomy in particular cases, much less to determine when a given act of discrimination is or is not wrong all things considered. But it does provide a conceptual framework for thinking through one dimension of that question ? a dimension that is easily lost amidst concerns of procedural fairness, distributive justice, and the ways in which some people's well-being may be improperly discounted in an agent's decision-making.

Keywords:   discrimination, moral requirements, equality, individual autonomy

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