The prodigal and his brother: Impartiality and the equal consideration of interests

Journal article


Coghlan, Peter. (2005). The prodigal and his brother: Impartiality and the equal consideration of interests. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. 26(3), pp. 195 - 206. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11017-005-3978-8
AuthorsCoghlan, Peter
Abstract

At the heart of Peter Singer’s utilitarianism is the impartial weighing of the interests of those affected by our actions. Singer calls this the Principle of Equal Consideration of Interests. This paper argues that Singer’s Principle does not accord with our moral intuitions and the logic of our moral thinking. It discusses the Principle in the context of the parable of the Prodigal Son and his Brother – a parable that raises the issue of impartiality in a particularly challenging way. What the parable shows is, first, that our moral thinking often turns on judgements of fairness that are prior to any impartial weighing of interests; and, second, that impartial fairness itself is sometimes transcended by compassionate love. Both of these points have important implications for bioethics.

Year2005
JournalTheoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Journal citation26 (3), pp. 195 - 206
ISSN1573-1200
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s11017-005-3978-8
Page range195 - 206
Research GroupSchool of Philosophy
Place of publicationNetherlands
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