Web Letters | The Nation

Inequality and fairness

Why doesn’t the Golden Rule or Kant’s Moral Law or something like them offer a better argument? Segregationists, for example, would protest if they were suddenly treated accordingly. Frederick would not want his son to be a common solider, etc. People recognize fairness, which is why we justify inequality (for example), by saying it should come about fairly. I guess this comes closer to Rorty, since in small groups and families fairness is important, and when violated it causes problems.

Roger Seamon

Vancouver, CANADA

Feb 15 2014 - 11:16am

Evolutionary ethics and Dworkin

Perhaps the only reasonable solution to the dilemma at the end of the piece on Dworkin—subjectivism on the one hand, theological ethics on the other—is found in evolutionary ethics. I blog on this topic at reasonandmeaning.com.

Dr. John Messerly

Seattle, WA

Feb 15 2014 - 12:01am

Right to life?

I read with interest the discussion about Ronald Dworkin’s ideas about values and rights. A few days ago CNN had a story about a Danish zoo that had put to death one of its healthy giraffes. As I understood it, the zoo runs a breeding program in which this particular giraffe did not fit in. So for the good of the over-all program, the animal was euthanized. Various values were discussed, including the value that animals should be treated well while they are alive and living at the zoo; so they were reluctant to transfer the animal to some other zoos. Still, the giraffe did not in their view have an inherent right to life that would trump their breeding program. I found it interesting that the anchor, Anderson Cooper, was not not so sure the giraffe didn’t have that right. Presumably we humans feel we have such an inherent right, but on what is it grounded? There does seem to be reference to a transcendent value, at least for now.

Jim McDonald

Cranston, RI

Feb 13 2014 - 6:25pm

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