Single Idea 20289

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / b. Defining ethics]

Full Idea

A distinguishng feature of ethics is that ethical judgements are universalisable. Ethics requires us to go beyond our own personal point of view to a standpoint like that of the impartial spectator who takes a universal point of view.

Gist of Idea

Ethics is universalisable - it must involve an impartial and universal view of things


Peter Singer (Practical Ethics [1979], 10)

Book Reference

Singer,Peter: 'Practical Ethics' [CUP 1989], p.204

A Reaction

I'm thinking that ethical agents are more 'situated' than that. Suppose a finance minister stole billions in tax and gave it to a poor country. Good from the universal angle, perhaps, but a shocking betrayal of his own community.