File(s) under permanent embargo
Caring, objectivity and justice : an integrative view
journal contributionposted on 2011-03-01, 00:00 authored by Stan Van HooftStan Van Hooft
The argument of this article is framed by a debate between the principle of humanity and the principle of justice. Whereas the principle of humanity requires us to care about others and to want to help them meet their vital needs, and so to be partial towards those others, the principle of justice requires us to consider their needs without the intrusion of our subjective interests or emotions so that we can act with impartiality. I argue that a deep form of caring lies behind both approaches and so unites them. In the course of the argument, I reject Michael Slote’s sentimentalist form of an ethics of care, and expound Thomas Nagel’s moral theory, which seems to lie at the opposite end of a spectrum ranging from moral sentiments to impersonal objectivity. Nevertheless, Nagel’s theory of normative realism provides unexpected support for the thesis that a deep and subjective form of caring lies at the base of even our most objective moral reasons.