From Rationality to Morality

James P. Sterba

in From Rationality to Equality

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199580767
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745836 | DOI:
From Rationality to Morality

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This chapter provides a justification of morality. It is based on the claim that the principle of non-question-beggingness favors morality over egoism, where morality is understood to be a nonarbitrary compromise between self-interested and altruistic reasons. A crucial step in this argument for morality is to cast the basic conflict with egoism not as a conflict between morality and self-interest, but rather as a conflict between altruism and self-interest. It is argued that while previous defenders of morality understood correctly that moral reasons could not be compromised with self-interested reasons, they failed to recognize that this is because moral reasons are already the result of a purportedly nonarbitrary compromise between self-interested and altruistic reasons. This chapter also argues that morality can be non-question-beggingly justified by appealing to premises that the egoist (and the altruist), in fact, share with the moralist.

Keywords: morality; rationality; non-question-beggingness; altruism; egoism; Henry Sidgwick

Chapter.  16449 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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