This response questions whether human relationships are morally basic in the manner the author suggests, and also whether reference to human relationships is necessary for explaining moral principles, obligations, and judgments. I argue that, often, those can be explicated without essential reference to human relationships, except perhaps in the respect that the moral issues concern human beings. Also, Kellenberger maintains that immorality is to be understood in terms of “violations” of human relationships. However, features other than facts about human relationships often do the main explanatory work in accounting for the wrongness of immoral actions. Indeed, it is often the case that facts about human beings are the basis for ascertaining the moral significance of human relationships and actions. Translation of moral principles into an idiom of human relationships would not be illuminating in a significant, novel manner. We already possess conceptual resources for explicating the moral phenomena with which Kellenberger is concerned. Those resources include concepts of elements other than, and more basic than, human relationships.


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pp. 37-49
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