The Demands of Impartiality and the Evolution of Morality

Gerald F. Gaus

in Partiality and Impartiality

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579952
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595233 | DOI:
The Demands of Impartiality and the Evolution of Morality

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This chapter argues that Kantian-inspired conceptions of morality must embrace significant parts of an evolutionary view of ethics. According to one sort of Kantian, to respect others as free and equal persons requires that the moral demands made on them are uniquely justified from the impartial perspective. It is argued that under conditions of evaluative pluralism, this idea of impartial reflection is indeterminate. Rational reflection can narrow the field, but actual interactions of good-willed people are needed to fill in the large gaps, and give us a morality that we all can will. Morality is properly seen as consisting of self-imposed requirements verified from the impartial perspective and as having a history that is path-dependent. Indeed, only an evolved morality can be justified to everyone.

Keywords: public reason; impartiality; evolution; Kantian ethics

Chapter.  10259 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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