Impartiality and Consistency

D. H. Monroa1

a1 Sydney University.

It is quite commonly held nowadays that universalizability is a purely formal feature of moral terms, or perhaps of moral rules.To say that something is good, it is asserted, implies (in some sense of “implies”) that anything else with the same (relevant) characteristics is also good; to say that Jones ought to do X is to commit oneself to saying that, in the same circumstances, Smith ought to do X. In pointing this out, it is suggested, one is not oneself taking up a moral position, or laying down a particular moral rule, but simply making it clear what a moral utterance is. The principle ofuniversalizability is thus a principle of meta-ethics, not of morality itself. That moral judgments are universalizable, Hare tells us, is an analytic statement: “analytic by virtue of the meaning of the word moral”.