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From Rationality to Equality$
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James P. Sterba

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580767

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580767.001.0001

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From Rationality to Morality

From Rationality to Morality

(p.23) 3 From Rationality to Morality
From Rationality to Equality

James P. Sterba

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a justification of morality. It is based on the claim that the principle of non-question-beggingness favors morality over egoism, where morality is understood to be a nonarbitrary compromise between self-interested and altruistic reasons. A crucial step in this argument for morality is to cast the basic conflict with egoism not as a conflict between morality and self-interest, but rather as a conflict between altruism and self-interest. It is argued that while previous defenders of morality understood correctly that moral reasons could not be compromised with self-interested reasons, they failed to recognize that this is because moral reasons are already the result of a purportedly nonarbitrary compromise between self-interested and altruistic reasons. This chapter also argues that morality can be non-question-beggingly justified by appealing to premises that the egoist (and the altruist), in fact, share with the moralist.

Keywords:   morality, rationality, non-question-beggingness, altruism, egoism, Henry Sidgwick

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