Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 9, pp 2351–2370 | Cite as

The Identity-Enactment Account of associative duties

  • Saba Bazargan-ForwardEmail author
Article
  • 118 Downloads

Abstract

Associative duties are agent-centered duties to give defeasible moral priority to our special ties. Our strongest associative duties are to close friends and family. According to reductionists, our associative duties are just special duties—i.e., duties arising from what I have done to others, or what others have done to me. These include duties to (a) abide by promises and contracts, (b) compensate our benefactors in ways expressing gratitude, and (c) aid those whom we have made especially vulnerable to our conduct. I argue, though, that reductionism faces a problem: special duties are not strong enough to account for the strength of our associative duties. At the bar of associative duties, we are required to do what no special duty can warrant. I then present an alternative reductionist analysis of associative duties—the ‘Identity-Enactment Account’—which not only accounts for the peculiar strength of our associative duties, but also characterizes them in an intuitively compelling way. On this account, our strongest associative duties are special duties to protect or promote the welfare of the duty’s beneficiary by adopting and enacting a practical identity in which the duty’s beneficiary features prominently. There are persons who can legitimately demand a prominent place in our mental lives, for the protection and intimacy it affords. They can, in effect, legitimately demand to be among our nearest and dearest. The correlative of such a demand is, on our part, an associative duty we have toward them.

Keywords

Associative duties Agent-centered prerogatives Practical identity Special ties Parental duties Familial duties 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I presented earlier versions of this paper at: the Arizona State University Department of Philosophy colloquium series, the 2017 Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, the 2017 annual meeting of the Society for Applied Philosophy, and the Legal Theory Workshop at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville School of Law. In each case I received invaluable feedback.

References

  1. Almond, B. (2005). Reasonable partiality in professional relationships. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 8, 155–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Annis, D. B. (1987). The meaning, value, and duties of friendship. American Philosophical Quarterly, 24, 349–356.Google Scholar
  3. Archard, D. (2010). The obligations and responsibilities of parenthood. In D. Archard & D. Benetar (Eds.), Procreation and parenthood: The ethics of bearing and rearing children. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arneson, R. J. (2003). Consequentialism vs. special-ties partiality. The Monist, 86(3), 382–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berger, F. (1975). Gratitude. Ethics, 85(4), 298–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blum, L. A. (1980). Friendship, altruism, and morality. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Brake, E. (2010). Willing parents: A voluntarist account of parental role obligations. In D. Archard & D. Benetar (Eds.), Procreation and parenthood: The ethics of bearing and rearing children. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Brake, E., & Millum, J. (2016). Parenthood and procreation. August 2, 2016. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/parenthood/. Accessed February 9, 2017.
  9. Brighouse, H., & Swift, A. (2006). Parents’ rights and the value of the family. Ethics, 117, 80–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brighouse, H., & Swift, A. (2009). Legtimiate parental partiality. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 37, 43–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brighouse, H., & Swift, A. (2016). Family values: The ethics of parent–child relationships. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Brink, D. (2001). Impartiality and associative duties. Utilitas, 13, 152–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Caney, S. (2011). Humanity, associations, and global justice: In defence of humanity-centred cosmopolitan egalitarianism. The Monist, 94, 506–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cocking, D., & Kennett, J. (2000). Friendship and moral danger. The Journal of Philosophy, 96, 278–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dixon, N. (1995). The friendship model of filial obligations. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 12(1), 77–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. English, J. (1979). What do grown children owe their parents? In O. O’Neill & W. Ruddick (Eds.), Having children: Philosophical and legal reflections on parenthood (pp. 351–356). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Goodin, R. E. (1985). Protecting the vulnerable. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. Helm, B. (2010). Love, friendship and the self: Intimacy, identification, and the social nature of persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ivanhoe, P. J. (2007). Filial piety as a virtue. In R. L. Walker & P. J. Ivanhoe (Eds.), Working virtue: Virtue ethics and contemporary moral problems (pp. 297–312). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  20. Jeske, D. (1998). Family, friends, and special obligations. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 77, 289–309.Google Scholar
  21. Jeske, D. (2008). Rationality and moral theory: How intimacy generates reasons. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jeske, D. (2014). Special obligations. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. January 5, 2014. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/special-obligations/. Accessed February 8, 2017.
  23. Keller, S. (2006). Four theories of filial duty. The Philosophical Quarterly, 56(223), 254–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Keller, S. (2007). The limits of loyalty. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Korsgaard, C. (1996). Sources of normativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. LaFollette, H. (1996). Personal relationships: Love, identity, and morality. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  27. Lenard, P. T., & Moore, M. (2011). Cosmopolitanism and making room (or not) for special duties. The Monist, 94, 615–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Macleod, C. (2010). Parental responsibilities in an unjust world. In D. Archard & D. Benetar (Eds.), Procreation and parenthood: The ethics of bearing and rearing children (pp. 128–150). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Macleod, A. (2012). Moral permissibility constraints on voluntary obligations. Journal of Social Philosophy, 43, 125–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Miller, D. (2005). Reasonable partiality towards compatriots. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 8, 63–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Moellendorf, D. (2014). Cosmopolitanism and compatriot duties. The Monist, 94(4), 535–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nagel, T. (1989). The view from nowhere. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Narveson, J. (1987). On honoring our parents. Southern Journal of Philosophy, 25(1), 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Prusak, B. G. (2011). The costs of procreation. Journal of Social Philosophy, 42, 61–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Railton, P. (1984). Alienation, consequentialism, and the demands of morality. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 13(2), 134–171.Google Scholar
  36. Raz, J. (1989). Libertaring duties. Law and Philosophy, 8, 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Scheffler, S. (1982). The rejection of consequentialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Scheffler, S. (1997). Relationships and responsibilities. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 26, 189–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Scheffler, S. (2001). Boundaries and allegiances: Problems of justice and responsibility in liberal political thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Schoeman, F. (1980). Rights of children, rights of parents, and the moral basis of the family. Ethics, 91(1), 6–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Seglow, J. (2013). Defending associative duties. New York City: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sidgwick, H. (1907). Methods of ethics (7th ed.). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  43. Simmons, A. J. (1996). Associative political obligations. Ethics, 106(2), 247–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sommers, C. H. (1986). Filial morality. Journal of Philosophy, 83, 439–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Thomas, L. (1989). Living morally: A psychology of moral character. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Thomas, L. (1993). Friendship and other loves. In N. K. Badwhar (Ed.), Friendship: A philosophical reader (pp. 48–64). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Wallace, R. J. (2012). Duties of love. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 86(1), 175–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Welch, B. (2012). A theory of filial obligation. Social Theory and Practice, 38(4), 717–737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wellman, C. H. (2000). Relational facts in liberal political theory: Is there magic in the pronoun ‘My’? Ethics, 110(3), 537–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wellman, C. H. (2001). Friends, compatriots, and special political obligations. Political Theory, 29(2), 217–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUC San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations