Sandel is objecting to what he takes to be the standard, liberal picture of the self: In any case, this reply to the distributive objection depends upon the claim that we can balance our special obligations against our natural or consequentialist duties.
If I find myself causally and epistemically positioned to do greater good by ignoring my intimates and serving the needs of strangers, then that is what I ought to do, according to the consequentialist. Whenever we can maximize value by ignoring our intimates or by breaking a promise, then we, in such circumstances, have no even prima facie reasons to take care of our intimates or to keep our promises.
To say that a social role is reflectively acceptable is to say that one would accept it upon reflection. Unlike natural duties, special obligations are grounded on something other than or, in addition to the intrinsic nature of the obligee.
The consequentialist can, at this point, join forces with any moral theorist who accepts natural duties while rejecting special obligations. Of course, any such view owes us an account of what would count as voluntary assumption of parental obligations. For example, consider my duty to tell the person sitting next to me at a bar that Joe Schmoe slipped poison into her drink.
Anti-voluntarists have taken at least five different routes to responding to this voluntarist worry about the normative status of obligations of role or position the names used here are not necessarily used by those who take one or the other of these options: It is this sort of worry that gives even greater credence to the voluntarist thesis with respect to special obligations.
Thus, special obligations would be understood by Parfit and Nagel as agent-relative reasons: Everyone who lives in a certain sector of the west side of town is a member of the group.
Commonsense morality, however, as we have seen, regards the fact of my standing in the friendship relation to someone as morally significant in and of itself.
The difficulties with the consequentialist account of special obligations arise from its only granting instrumental significance to special relationships, i.
According to the metaphysical reading of that claim, I would not be the same person that I now am if, for example, I had not been born in the U. One may feel less guilty about doing nothing if one can point to others, similarly placed, who have also done nothing.
If not, how can we possibly justify the resources expended on companion animals, given the amount of human suffering in the world? Can we bear relevant psychological connections to animals? After all, if someone had been further away but able to push a button to activate a machine that would save the one drowning, then she would have had the same duty to aid as we did.
People often acquire true beliefs as a result of mechanisms that do not provide any evidence or justification for the belief. Cocking and Kennett regard the claims or obligations of friendship as non-moral claims.
There are, of course, many forms of consequentialism. But consider a case in which the person to whom a promise is made does not expect the one making the promise to comply Scanlon calls this the case of the Profligate Pal.
But, the defender of special obligations might say, as long as I benefit everyone to the extent to which I owe them benefits, why is the relative balance of costs and benefits relevant?
In an era of increased concern about professional ethics, we need to have some account of which professional roles, if any, generate genuinely moral special duties. But if such psychological connections are supposed to underlie obligations to take special care of those to whom I bear such connections, then it follows that my strongest special obligations are to myself, and so I am morally obligated to give special weight to my own interests.
The obvious worry about any such Aristotelian account is its distance from commonsense. We can see these difficulties more clearly if we contrast special obligations with a type of duty recognized by commonsense morality that is not special, i.
But there are some other important accounts that deserve mention. But now consider how, according to the consequentialist, I ought to treat my friends or family members, or colleagues, But why suppose that I have special obligations to other members of the reading group simply because those others have decided to describe me in a certain way, even if their group is a good group with just and worthy goals in which I could participate without violating any requirements of justice or morality?
They can then press the defender of special obligations to offer some account of the grounds of alleged non-derivative special obligations: This was the intuitionist line adopted by W.
Moral Risk and Special Obligations Special relationships take many forms, and the parties to those relationships range across the entire spectrum of moral character at least according to some viewsfrom the extremely virtuous to the downright bad, with most of us falling somewhere in the middle of that range.
Even, however, friendships, for example, that were morally acceptable for us to enter may place demands upon us that run counter to impartial moral demands. So role obligations, i.
Derek Parfit understands agent-neutral as opposed to agent-relative reasons in the following way: It may seem to be the case that I am morally required to tell only a limited class of people that someone has put poison into their drink, namely, the class consisting of the person sitting next to me right now whose drink is such that I know that it is poisoned.
But what explains these highly stringent obligations?
If we are meditating, practicing gratitude, and attentive to our emotions, those answers should just come to each of us in our own way, in each individual situation.
If moral agents were inclined to reason as straightforward consequentialists, they would be unable to form loving, intimate relationships.
Once we allow non-derivative, genuinely special obligations in our moral theory, we are left with the question as to whether we can ever know when a special obligation outweighs another special obligation or a natural duty.
All that such an appeal does is to propose a causal hypothesis about the genesis of our beliefs.Special obligations are obligations owed to some subset of persons, in contrast to natural duties that are owed to all persons simply qua persons.
Common sense morality seems to understand us as having special obligations to those to whom we stand in some sort of special relationship, e.g., our friends, our family members, our colleagues, our fellow. Nov 13, · This is the argument that we ought to save the lives of strangers when we can do so at relatively little cost to ourselves.
Australian philosopher Peter Singer says that where world poverty is. Many of us have wondered at one point or another how much we should be doing to help those in need, and whether or not there's some kind of "moral obligation" to do so. It can be anything from an occasional $50 donation after a natural disaster, or getting formally trained to work professionally in a field that directly helps others.
Mar 23, · Do we have a duty to help others? Posted on March 23, by philosophyfactory As usual, one of Andy’s posts has me thinking this time it’s the one on Anthony Bourdain. Who we are; What we do; Corporate reporting; Careers; Contact Us; Commission in Scotland Your responsibility for others; Your responsibility for others.
Advice and Guidance. What is on this page? Your responsibilities. Who is this page for? Any organisation providing a service you will have to do more than this to actively. More cosmopolitan and universalistic, Kant holds that there are universal duties that we have, both to ourselves and to others, simply as human beings, and he regards these as in some sense the foundations of all our duties, within which we also acquire duties in consequence of social customs, institutions and relationships.Download