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If in doubt, treat’em equally: a case study in the application of formal methods to ethics

Rabinowicz, Wlodek (2010) If in doubt, treat’em equally: a case study in the application of formal methods to ethics. In: Czarnecki, Tadeusz, Kijania-Placek, Katarzyna, Pollr, Olga and Wolenski, Jan, (eds.) The Analytical Way: Proceedings of the 6th European Congress of Analytic Philosophy. Studies in logic (25). College Publications, London, UK, pp. 219-243. ISBN 9781848900141

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Presumption of Equality requires that individuals be treated equally in the absence of relevant information that would discriminate between them. Our objective is to make this principle more precise, if viewed as a principle of fairness, and to determine why and under what conditions it should be obeyed. Presumption norms are procedural constraints, but their justification can be sought in the possible or expected outcomes of the procedures they regulate. This is the avenue pursued here. The suggestion is that in the absence of information that would discriminate between the individuals, equal treatment minimizes the expected unfairness of the outcome. A related suggestion is that equal treatment under these circumstances also minimizes the maximal possible unfairness of the outcome. Whether these suggestions are correct or not depends on the properties of the underlying unfairness measure. The required properties are specified.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 College Publications
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BC Logic
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2013 16:28
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 05:24

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