ability to make ethical judgements
Moral agency is the capacity to make moral judgments.
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- Anger has been excluded from the dominant group's profile of subordinates. When one gets angry, according to Spelman, one regards the person whose conduct one assesses as one's equal. So, we can understand why anger has been excluded from the personality profile of the subordinate. In excluding anger from their personality profile, dominant groups exclude subordinates from the category of moral agents, since to be angry is to make oneself a judge and to express a standard against which one assesses the person's conduct, both of which are marks of a moral agent. In becoming angry, subordinates signal that they take themselves seriously; they believe they have the capacity as well as the right to be judges of those around them.
- Maria Lugones, Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes: Theorizing Coalition Against Multiple Oppressions (2003), p. 109
- What is it to understand oneself as a moral agent? ... First, I have to understand myself as and to present myself to others as someone with an identity other than the identities of role and office that I assume in each of the roles that I occupy. ... There must therefore be a place in any social order in which the exercise of the powers of moral agency is to be a real possibility. ... These too must be milieus of everyday practice in which the established standards are, when it is appropriate, put to the question, and not just in an abstract and general way. The necessary presupposition of such questioning is some more or less shared conception of what it is to be a good human being that focuses upon qualities which individuals possess or fail to possess qua individuals, independently of their roles, and which are exemplified in part by their capacity or their lack of capacity to stand back from and reconsider their engagement with the established role-structures.
- Alasdair MacIntyre, "Social Structures and their Threats to Moral Agency," Philosophy, vol. 4, no. 289 (July 1999), p. 315.