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Does harm or disrespect make discrimination wrong? An experimental approach

New publication by Andreas Albertsen, Bjørn G. Hallsson, Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen & Viki Lyngby Møller Pedersen in Philosophical Psychology


E-published ahead of print.


While standard forms of discrimination are widely considered morally wrong, philosophers disagree about what makes them so. Two accounts have risen to prominence in this debate: One stressing how wrongful discrimination disrespects the discriminatee, the other how the harms involved make discrimination wrong. While these accounts are based on carefully constructed thought experiments, proponents of both sides see their positions as in line with and, in part, supported by the folk theory of the moral wrongness of discrimination. This article presents a vignette-based experiment to test empirically what, in the eyes of “folks”, makes discrimination wrong. Interestingly, we find that, according to folks, both disrespect and harm make discrimination wrong. Our findings offer some support for a pluralistic account of the wrongness of discrimination over both monist respect-based and monist harm-based accounts (behind payment wall).