By James G. Dwyer
Are young ones of equivalent, lesser, or maybe even larger ethical significance than adults? This paintings of utilized ethical philosophy develops a accomplished account of the way adults as ethical brokers ascribe ethical prestige to beings - ourselves and others - and at the foundation of that account identifies a number of standards for having ethical prestige. It argues that right software of these standards should still lead us to regard young ones as of larger ethical significance than adults. This end provides a foundation for critiquing latest social practices, a lot of which implicitly presuppose that kids occupy an inferior prestige, and for suggesting how govt coverage, legislations, and social lifestyles can be diversified if it mirrored an assumption that kids are literally of stronger prestige.
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Additional info for Moral Status and Human Life: The Case for Children's Superiority
In part, this resembles the position of environmentalists who base moral status on a being’s contributing to a community, and I address that position below. But Anderson’s view is narrower. This is in part because she has a cramped view of reciprocity. And it is in part because she supposes, like contractualists, a tit-for-tat view of moral obligation, which, as explained in the text, is not consistent with the ordinary understanding of morality. On contractualism as an approach to morality more generally, see Scanlon (1998) and Gauthier (1987).
There is a large literature debating the soundness of Kant’s reasoning insofar as it aimed to establish the truth of specific moral propositions,12 but wading into that literature is unnecessary for present purposes. What is important here is that the Kantian account described previously does capture the way people generally think at least some of the time. Common parenting practice again supports an assumption that we sometimes 11 12 See Kant (1956a), 96. A more explicit statement of this line of reasoning is found in Gewirth (1978).
Darwin offered a similar account of the origins of morality as a social practice. Charles R. Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press), 98–113. See Prinz (2007) 32, 36, 41; Jonathan Haidt and Fredrik Bjorklund, “Social Intuitionists Answer Six Questions about Moral Psychology,” in Sinnott-Armstong, ed. (2008b) 181–217. How Is Moral Status Determined? 33 common way in which people override initial self-regarding impulses with countervailing moral intuitions and act out of concern for others is by putting themselves mentally in the other person’s place to vicariously feel their emotional responses9 Indeed, the various criteria philosophers and legal systems cite in discussions of the moral status of other beings appear to be features of those beings that trigger empathy in us, and some theorists claim particular criteria generate moral status precisely because they create a commonality other beings or trigger our empathy.
Moral Status and Human Life: The Case for Children's Superiority by James G. Dwyer