The Idea of the Moral Community

Henry Richardson

in Articulating the Moral Community

Published in print October 2018 | ISBN: 9780190247744
Published online August 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190247768 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Moral Theory

The Idea of the Moral Community

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This chapter explicates the idea of the moral community as the open-ended set of all individuals who can wrong or be wronged by another. Examining these ideas of wronging someone or being wronged by someone as dyadic ideas, intrinsically involving a moral relationship between two persons, the discussion casts this kind of relationship as structuring the moral community. Dyadic norms, which give rise to directed rights and duties, give that structure definite generality and firmness. Distinguishing norms that merely mention another person (“A ought to compensate B”) from truly directed or dyadic norms (“A owes it to B to compensate B”), the text notes the metaphysically demanding sort of ontological correlativity that holds between directed duties and the corresponding rights. This, in turn, sets the stage for an important challenge posed by Michael Thompson—namely, how to explain what unites all persons into one moral community.

Keywords: moral community; persons; moral status; directed duties; dyadic norms; correlativity of rights and duties; Michael Thompson

Chapter.  10355 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Philosophy

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