Gewirth’s absolutism Notes for March 6

Main points

Gewirth’s absolutism rests on the Principle of the Intervening Action. We mainly discussed this principle.

Philosophical Method

My challenges rested on a basic maneuver. See if the crucial assumption, principle, premise, inference, etc. is true in cases other than the one under discussion.

If it’s not true in a different case, we can’t assume it’s true in the one under discussion.

Thus, I asked whether the Principal of the Intervening Action would get the right result if Abrams refused a different, significantly less important, demand. And I asked whether it would get the right result if Abrams did torture his mother.

Having come to negative conclusions in both cases, I claim to have raised doubt about whether the principle can be used to defend Gewirth’s absolutism.

This page was written by Michael Green for Topics in Social and Political Philosophy: Human Rights, Philosophy 185s, Spring 2007.
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