Harrod's Universality and Generality in Ethical Norms


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Roy Forbes Harrod regards classical utilitarianism as crude utilitarianism. On the other hand, he refers to his own utilitarianism as refined utilitarianism. In this paper, the former is explored as act utilitarianism, and the latter as quasi-rule utilitarianism. The transition from act utilitarianism to rule utilitarianism is partly evident in Harrod's argument. He argues about the generalization of moral judgments by citing Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative. However,he altered Kant's concept of universality into generality without annotations and clearly identified universality with the generality of moral judgments. In this paper, the difference between Kant's perception that universality and generality are distinct and Harrod's perception that they are the same is explored. Findings of this study shows that Harrod's generality was the "generality of the action" to be considered, so it is applicable only to the part of the "maxim of the action" in Kant's categorical imperative. As in many conventional interpretations, the part of "universal law" is applicable to the "universalization" as a generalization of the concept of the subject.




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