ABSTRACT: Familiar accounts of beneficence take as its target human need. If, as is the case in our world, need is very large, the duty threatens to be demanding, interfering with our lives and our relationships. Working from some Kantian insights and arguments, I lay out an alternative view of the duty, focused on a person’s ends rather than her needs, that points towards three distinct duties to provide assistance, not one. The upshot may (or may not) be demanding, but not in a way that is objectionably interfering.
Barbara Herman is the Griffin Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Free and Open to the Public