‘Special Obligations’

“Special obligations are obligations owed to some subset of persons, in contrast to natural duties that are owed to all persons simply qua persons. Common sense morality seems to understand us as having special obligations to those to whom we stand in some sort of special relationship, eg, our friends, our family members, our colleagues, our fellow citizens, and those to whom we have made promises or commitments of some sort. Special obligations are often appealed to in arguments against consequentialism, because consequentialism is unable to accommodate agent-relative reasons and genuinely special obligations are agent-relative reasons …” (more)

Diane Jeske, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; first published Thu Oct 17, 2002; substantive revision Tue Aug 6, 2019.

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