Simon Keller
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    We are partial to people with whom we share special relationships--if someone is your child, parent, or friend, you wouldn't treat them as you would a stranger. But is partiality justified, and if so, why?Partialitypresents a theory of the reasons supporting special treatment within special relationships and explores the vexing problem of how we might reconcile the moral value of these relationships with competing claims of impartial morality.

    Simon Keller explains that in order to understand why we give special treatment to our family and friends, we need to understand how people come to matter in their own rights. Keller first presents two main accounts of partiality: the projects view, on which reasons of partiality arise from the place that people take within our lives and our commitments, and the relationships view, on which relationships themselves contain fundamental value or reason-giving force. Keller then argues that neither view is satisfactory because neither captures the experience of acting well within special relationships. Instead, Keller defends the individuals view, on which reasons of partiality arise from the value of the individuals with whom our relationships are shared. He defends this view by saying that we must accept that two people, whether friend or stranger, can have the same value, even as their value makes different demands upon people with whom they share different relationships. Keller explores the implications of this claim within a wider understanding of morality and our relationships with groups, institutions, and countries.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4638-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Preface
    (pp. VII-XII)
  4. Chapter 1 Special Relationships and Special Reasons
    (pp. 1-30)

    Imagine that you are watching television, and your show is interrupted by a news bulletin. There has been a fire, and several people have lost their homes. How would you respond? You might take no notice. You might feel a twinge of sympathy. If the story has an especially strong effect on you, you might donate some money to help the victims rebuild their lives.

    Now imagine that as you watch the news bulletin, you recognize one of the houses that have burned down, and you recognize the owners. They are your parents. Now, how would you respond? You would...

  5. Chapter 2 My Projects
    (pp. 31-44)

    When you have reason to give special treatment to a person with whom you share a special relationship, the ground of your reason could be in you, or in the relationship, or in the other person. The projects view says that it is in you. To see why we have reason to treat some people differently from others, says the projects view, we need to look more closely at ourselves.

    In what kinds of facts about us could our reasons of partiality be grounded? Without exception, philosophers who take facts about us to ground our reasons of partiality focus on...

  6. Chapter 3 Our Relationship
    (pp. 45-77)

    The relationships view is the most popular view about the ethics of partiality in the recent literature. According to the relationships view, special relationships carry ethical significance in their own rights, and this ethical significance explains why relationships are sources of special reasons. Where the projects view finds the ground of your reasons of partiality in you, the relationships view finds the ground of your reasons of partiality in your relationships.

    There are several different versions of the relationships view. The most significant distinction among them is between those that begin with a claim about value or valuing, on the...

  7. Chapter 4 Your Value
    (pp. 78-112)

    We have reasons to give special treatment to people with whom we share special relationships. If someone is your friend, for example, then you have reasons to do things for her that you would not do for just anyone, and you may also have duties toward her that you do not have toward just anyone, and you may be permitted to do things for her that you would not be permitted to do for just anyone. These are “norms of partiality,” and the question of this book is how they are to be explained. On the projects view, they are...

  8. Chapter 5 My Response to Your Value
    (pp. 113-156)

    You have reasons to give special treatment to people with whom you share special relationships. Where do these reasons come from? According to the individuals view (or my version of it) they come from the value of the individuals with whom your special relationships are shared. If you ask why you have reason to do something special for your friend, then the answer, I say, is that your act would advance your friend’s good, in some respect or other; it would further his best interests, manifest concern or respect for his autonomy, or help him to become a more excellent...

  9. References
    (pp. 157-160)
  10. Index
    (pp. 161-164)