Simon Keller

Partiality

Princeton University Press 2013

New Books in PhilosophyNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 1, 2013 Robert Talisse

Our moral lives are shaped by a deep commitment to the moral equality of all persons.  This thought drives us to think, for example,...

Our moral lives are shaped by a deep commitment to the moral equality of all persons.  This thought drives us to think, for example, that each person’s life is of equal moral importance, that each person is deserving of equal regard, that no one’s life is intrinsically more morally important than any other, and so on.  However, our lives are organized around what might be called special relationships – friendships, marriages, families, and such – and these relationships carry with them duties to show certain others special regard.  Indeed, we would find fault with a father who did not show a certain degree of partiality for his own child.  There seems to be a conflict.  In order to manage it, we need a clear account of the moral nature of duties and reasons of partiality.

In his new book, Partiality (Princeton University Press, 2013), Simon Keller examines the leading accounts of partiality, and finds them lacking.  He develops an original view of partiality according to which our reasons and duties of partiality arise from the relationships that we share with others which permit us to respond properly to the value of individuals.