© 1985

Morality and Universality

Essays on Ethical Universalizability

  • Nelson T. Potter
  • Mark Timmons

Part of the Theory and Decision Library book series (TDLU, volume 45)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxii
  2. Ethical Universalizability: A Variety of Thesis

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Jan Narveson
      Pages 3-44
  3. Universalizability and Ethical Consistency

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 45-45
    2. Wlodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 75-90
    3. Frederick A. Olafson
      Pages 103-114
    4. Michael Gorr
      Pages 115-138
    5. William G. Lycan
      Pages 139-156
  4. Kantian Universalizability

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 157-157
    2. Onora O’Neill
      Pages 159-186
  5. Consequentialist Universalizability

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 235-235
    2. Charles M. Cork III
      Pages 267-284
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 297-312

About this book


In the past 25 years or so, the issue of ethical universalizability has figured prominently in theoretical as well as practical ethics. The term, 'universaliz­ ability' used in connection with ethical considerations, was apparently first introduced in the mid-1950s by R. M. Hare to refer to what he characterized as a logical thesis about certain sorts of evaluative sentences (Hare, 1955). The term has since been used to cover a broad variety of ethical considerations including those associated with the ideas of impartiality, consistency, justice, equality, and reversibility as well as those raised in the familar questions: 'What if everyone did that?' and 'How would you like it if someone did that to you? But this recent effloresence of the use of the term 'universalizability' is something that has deep historical roots, and has been central in various forms to the thinking about morality of some of the greatest and most influential philosophers in the western tradition. While the term is relatively new, the ideas it is now used to express have a long history. Most of these ideas and questions have been or can be formulated into a principle to be discussed, criticized, or defended. As we discuss these ideas below this prin­ ciple will be stated on a separate numbered line. The concepts of justice and equality were closely linked in Greek thought. These connections between these two concepts are apparent even in two authors who were hostile to the connection, Plato and Aristotle.


Aristotle Immanuel Kant Plato bibliography concept ethics history history of literature morality oral discourse reason structure subject tradition will

Editors and affiliations

  • Nelson T. Potter
    • 1
  • Mark Timmons
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Morality and Universality
  • Book Subtitle Essays on Ethical Universalizability
  • Editors N.T. Potter
    Mark Timmons
  • Series Title Theory and Decision Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1985
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-277-1909-6
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-010-8834-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-009-5285-0
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXXII, 314
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of the Social Sciences
  • Buy this book on publisher's site