Kimberley Brownlee

Kimberley Brownlee, University of Warwick/ University of British Columbia
13. Mai 2020   16:45 – 18:45 Uhr   Virtual conference room.
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Poster WKAP-Vortrag Kimberley Brownlee

Interactional Ethics

Abstract: This paper explores a key domain of ordinary morality, which we tend to regard as merely a matter of etiquette. This is the domain of interactional ethics. Interactional ethics concerns both our first-order conduct within individual ordinary interactions and our second-order, overall management of our interactional lives. At both levels, we can display interactional virtues and vices, and can do great good, harm, justice, and injustice. Interactional ethics takes seriously the fact that – at the first-order level – we make a moral decision 1) when we acknowledge or ignore someone’s bid for our attention, 2) when we privilege either the norms of honesty or the norms of politeness, and 3) when we outsource to others or execute ourselves the emotional labour of specific interactions. Interactional ethics also takes seriously – at the second-order level – that we make moral decisions 4) when we allow or avoid repeat interactions with non-associates since repeat interactions lay a foundation for associative ties, 5) when we impose, accept, or avoid the micro social burdens that arise in ordinary interactions, and 6) when we impose, accept, or avoid the interactional duties that our existing associations generate. This paper surveys the realm of ordinary interactions to show that this realm is a crucial domain of ethics for two reasons: 1) our ordinary interactions are the primary medium through which we show respect and disrespect for each other, and 2) our ordinary interactions either grease the wheels of human sociability, which is vital for our individual and collective survival and wellbeing, or they put a spoke in the wheels of human sociability. This paper also homes in on a first-order pair and a second-order pair of interactional vices and virtues: 1) interactional outsourcing versus responsibility-taking and 2) interactional exclusivity versus inclusivity. The ultimate aims of this paper are exploratory: to uncover a rich crop of important moral attitudes, decisions, and behaviours that are ripe for philosophical investigation.