Treating People as Individuals

Forthcoming in Philosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law (Deborah Hellman & Sophia Moreau, eds., Oxford University Press)

30 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2013 Last revised: 27 Jul 2013

Date Written: July 25, 2013

Abstract

Acts of discrimination are often criticized on the ground that they fail to "treat people as individuals." This paper develops an account of that moral requirement rooted in the philosophical literature on autonomy. To treat people as individuals, it argues, is not to eschew inductive generalization but rather to exhibit recognition respect for a particular morally salient property that persons possess. The paper explores just what that property of being "an individual" amounts to, and just how certain forms of discriminatory conduct may fail to respect it. The paper thus aims both to clarify an important strand in the moral case against certain forms of discrimination and, in so doing, to surface some neglected dimensions of what it means to respect the autonomy of others.

This paper will be published as a chapter in Philosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law, Oxford University Press.

Keywords: discrimination, autonomy, treating people as individuals

Suggested Citation

Eidelson, Benjamin, Treating People as Individuals (July 25, 2013). Forthcoming in Philosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law (Deborah Hellman & Sophia Moreau, eds., Oxford University Press). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2298429

Benjamin Eidelson (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/beidelson

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