It is widely affirmed that human beings have irreplaceable valuable, and that we owe it to them to treat them accordingly. Many theorists have been drawn to Kantianism because they think that it alone can capture this intuition. One aim of this paper is to show that this is a mistake, and that Kantianism cannot provide an independent rational vindication, nor even a fully illuminating articulation, of irreplaceability. A further aim is to outline a broadly Aristotelian view that provides a more fitting theoretical framework for this appealing conception of human value. The critique of Kantianism is extended to contemporary theorists with a broadly Kantian orientation. The paper closes with an outline of a virtue-theoretic ethical theory that follows Aquinas in taking love to be a master virtue—one that refines the other virtues so as to provide a continuous practical sensitivity to the irreplaceable value of fellow human beings.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.