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"Who are we to judge?": on the proportionment of happiness to virtue

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date01/2010
JournalPhilosophy
Journal number1
Volume85
Number of pages20
Pages47-66
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The claim that happiness and virtue ought to be proportionate to one another has often been expressed in the idea of a future world of divine justice, despite many moral difficulties with this idea. This paper argues that human efforts to enact such a proportionment are, ironically, justified by the same reasons that make the idea of divine justice seem so problematic. Moralists have often regarded our frailty and fallibility as reasons for abstaining from the judgment of others; and doubts about our deserving some proportionment of happiness or unhappiness often arise insofar as virtue and vice may be explained on a causal basis. This paper argues that our fallibility and our susceptibility to social influence render judgment and response indispensable, because - given these characteristics - our actions and responses decide the morality that we actually share with one another. In this situation, to 'judge not' is to abandon the field to those with no such scruples.

Bibliographic note

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=PHI The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Philosophy, 85 (1), pp 47-66 2010, © 2010 Cambridge University Press.