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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8$
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Mark C. Timmons

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198828310

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198828310.001.0001

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Acknowledging Others

Acknowledging Others

(p.9) 1 Acknowledging Others
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8

Talbot Brewer

Oxford University Press

It is widely affirmed that human beings have irreplaceable valuable, and that we owe it to them to treat them accordingly. Many theorists have been drawn to Kantianism because they think that it alone can capture this intuition. One aim of this paper is to show that this is a mistake, and that Kantianism cannot provide an independent rational vindication, nor even a fully illuminating articulation, of irreplaceability. A further aim is to outline a broadly Aristotelian view that provides a more fitting theoretical framework for this appealing conception of human value. The critique of Kantianism is extended to contemporary theorists with a broadly Kantian orientation. The paper closes with an outline of a virtue-theoretic ethical theory that follows Aquinas in taking love to be a master virtue—one that refines the other virtues so as to provide a continuous practical sensitivity to the irreplaceable value of fellow human beings.

Keywords:   Kantianism, Aristotelianism, virtue ethics, irreplaceability, respect, love, Aquinas, Korsgaard, Darwall, Rawls

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