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By Charles Foster, Jonathan Herring

This ebook is an attack at the idea that it's empirically actual and legally and philosophically passable to work out people as atomistic entities. It contends that our welfare is inextricably entangled with that of others, and consequently legislations and ethics, in settling on our greatest pursuits, may still recognize the primary significance of relationality, the functionality of responsibilities, and (even it appears injurious) altruism.

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Extra resources for Altruism, Welfare and the Law

Sample text

Foster and J. 1007/978-3-319-21605-8_3 33 34 3 Rethinking the Welfare and Best Interest Principles surprisingly little consideration by the courts. Secondly, and not-withstanding strong criticism, the courts have traditionally failed, and even on occasions refused, to articulate any principles or values to be applied in operating the best interests test. This chapter explains how the courts can still uphold the best interests or welfare tests, while taking into account the individual’s relations with others and the well-being of those close to them, the obligations they have, and the need for virtue.

Yet morality, for inalienably, quintessentially social animals, was necessarily that which benefited society. If each individual taken separately has no moral worth, the sum total of individuals can scarcely have more. The sum of zeros is, and can only be, equal to zero. If a particular interest, whether mine or someone else’s, is amoral, several such particular interests must also be amoral. Moral action pursues impersonal objectives. But the impersonal goals of moral action cannot be either those of a person other than the actor, or those of many others.

Both society and the child place on the parent/carer the obligations inherent in this type of trust. Domestic and child abuse can involve the use of information gathered during the relationship so as to personalise the abuse (Attorney-General’s Reference (No 90 of 2009) (2009); Herring 2011). Second: the abuse of trust within an intimate relationship causes especial harm. Intimate relationships are central to our identity and sense of self (Rachmilovitz 2007). Within our intimate relationships we can be truly ourselves, free of pretence.

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