Dean's Undergraduate Research Awards
Johns Hopkins University
336 Garland Hall
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
What is the starting point for ethics? On a common conception, one shared by both consequentialists and Kantians, the subject matter of ethics comes into focus only when we step back from our own identities, local perspective, and concerns, and view matters from an impartial standpoint. Others have sought to limit the scope of mortality, including the demand to respond to the “agent-neutral,” or impartial good, by introducing the notion of “agent-centered prerogatives.” Part of my summer research will trace out the turns in this classic argument, but I am also interested in investigating a distinctly different approach. The ancient starting point in ethics is: the good of others comes into view not as something to be considered impartially, but as having direct bearing on the agent herself. One question I will consider is whether this presents a viable alternative to the impartial and agent-centered conceptions of morality.