© 1979


A Study in Morals and Metaphysics


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 141)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages 1-10
  2. Introduction

    1. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 11-32
  3. Theory of Universalistic Conditions

    1. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 33-39
    2. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 40-58
    3. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 59-69
  4. Universalizability and Automorphisms

    1. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 71-76
    2. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 77-94
    3. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 95-112
  5. Beyond Similarity

    1. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 113-120
    2. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 121-127
    3. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 128-135
    4. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 136-139
    5. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 140-150
  6. Individuals Do Not Matter

    1. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 151-154
    2. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 155-161
    3. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 162-173
    4. Włodzimierz Rabinowicz
      Pages 174-178
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 179-203

About this book


1. 1. The Principle of Universalizability-an informal explication This work is concerned with the so-called Principle of Universalizability. As we shall understand it, this principle represents a claim that moral properties of things (persons, actions, state of affairs, situations) are essentially independent of their purely 'individual' or-as one often says -'numerical' aspects. l Thus, if a thing, x, is better than another thing, y, then this fact is not dependent on x's being x nor on y's being y. If a certain person, a, has a duty to help another person, b, then this duty does not arise as a consequence of their being a and b, respectively. And if in a certain situation, W, it ought to be the case that certain goods are transferred from one person to another, then this moral obligation does not depend on the individual identities of the persons involved. The Universalizability Principle may also be expressed in terms of similarities. Instead of saying that the moral properties of x are essentially independent of the individual aspects of x, we may say that any object which is exactly similar to x, which is precisely like x in all non-individual, 'qualitative' respects, must exhibit exactly similar moral properties. Thus, if two persons are exactly similar to each other, (if they are placed in exactly similar circumstances, have exactly similar information, preferences, character, etc. ), then they will have exactly similar rights and duties.


15th century Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz classification concept identity individual individuality metaphysics model morality object oral discourse proposition subject will

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Universalizability
  • Book Subtitle A Study in Morals and Metaphysics
  • Authors W. Rabinowicz
  • Series Title Synthese Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1979
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-277-1020-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-009-9486-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-009-9484-3
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 198
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Logic
  • Buy this book on publisher's site