What is Equal Moral Status and How to Defend It?
The idea that all or nearly all human beings have equal moral status has been a mainstay of modern moral and political thinking. It is widely held that the idea is a shared normative premise of otherwise very different theories such as utilitarianism, egalitarianism and libertarianism, and that it plays a foundational justificatory role in all of them. At the same time, it is also widely understood that as yet no satisfactory account has been given of how equal moral status can be reconciled with the observable disparities in the rational capacities that supposedly ground it. In this talk, my aim is to give a more precise characterization of the justificatory role that equal moral status plays in some – but not all – of the theories that are supposedly committed to it, and to outline a novel strategy to defend the idea.