# Morality versus Fairness

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
fast said:
You have given examples of unfair behavior that is not immoral. Thanks.
You're welcome.

To be clear, though, I only claim that I gave examples of behavior that is not immoral but is unfair under the proposed conception of fairness described above.

As for whether such behavior is unfair in the (or a) usual sense of the word “fair”, I make no claims one way or another.

fast said:
This bothers me, and it goes to show that taking something to an extreme can be problematic, but what bothers me more is the post hoc changing of criteria to argue fairness.

To illustrate, let me change examples. Let's say a business opens up for the purpose of providing fertility treatment to all women. If a woman is denied treatment because of sexual orientation, then that's unfair.

If the business changes it's position and decides to exclude fertility treatment to homosexual women across the board, then it's not unfair to deny fertility treatment to homosexual woman--if it's across the board.

Now, let's say one of the healthcare workers in that latter business starts denying fertility treatment to black women. That would be unfair if any of them were heterosexual, for it's unfair to deny treatment to a heterosexual just because she's black, but it would be fair to deny treatment to a black homosexual but not because she's black but because she's homosexual.

She argues that's she's being fair because she's denying treatment to all heterosexuals and all blacks, but her argument doesn't hold up because she is alone in her endeavors. It only holds up if everyone is on the same page. Everyone else is treating black women, so her isolated sense of fair treatment still makes it so that everyone in the group of heterosexual women aren't being treated the same, so it is unfair to deny treatment on the basis of race alone.
But why would the question of whether her actions are unfair depend on whether someone else picks the same category to distinguish allegedly “like” and “unlike”?

For example, let's say that half the nurses decide to deny treatment to Black and gay women, but the other half decide to deny treatment only to gay women. Would the people in the first half be unfair? Would the people in the second half be unfair? If so, why?
The definition does not seem to entail that.

In case of of the groups is the majority, I'm not sure why that would affect the issue of who's being fair, either under an intuitive conception of fairness, or under the second definition you provided.

Or let's take a look at the matter from the opposite perspective. Let's say that the health clinic decides to provide no fertility treatment to gay women, but one of the nurses decides, on her own, to provide the treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Is she being unfair to anyone?

#### fast

##### Contributor
You're welcome.

To be clear, though, I only claim that I gave examples of behavior that is not immoral but is unfair under the proposed conception of fairness described above.

As for whether such behavior is unfair in the (or a) usual sense of the word “fair”, I make no claims one way or another.

fast said:
This bothers me, and it goes to show that taking something to an extreme can be problematic, but what bothers me more is the post hoc changing of criteria to argue fairness.

To illustrate, let me change examples. Let's say a business opens up for the purpose of providing fertility treatment to all women. If a woman is denied treatment because of sexual orientation, then that's unfair.

If the business changes it's position and decides to exclude fertility treatment to homosexual women across the board, then it's not unfair to deny fertility treatment to homosexual woman--if it's across the board.

Now, let's say one of the healthcare workers in that latter business starts denying fertility treatment to black women. That would be unfair if any of them were heterosexual, for it's unfair to deny treatment to a heterosexual just because. she's black, but it would be fair to deny treatment to a black homosexual but not because she's black but because she's homosexual.

She argues that's she's being fair because she's denying treatment to all heterosexuals and all blacks, but her argument doesn't hold up because she is alone in her endeavors. It only holds up if everyone is on the same page. Everyone else is treating black women, so her isolated sense of fair treatment still makes it so that everyone in the group of heterosexual women aren't being treated the same, so it is unfair to deny treatment on the basis of race alone.
But why would the question of whether her actions are unfair depend on whether someone else picks the same category to distinguish allegedly “like” and “unlike”?

For example, let's say that half the nurses decide to deny treatment to Black and gay women, but the other half decide to deny treatment only to gay women. Would the people in the first half be unfair? Would the people in the second half be unfair? If so, why?
The definition does not seem to entail that.

In case of of the groups is the majority, I'm not sure why that would affect the issue of who's being fair, either under an intuitive conception of fairness, or under the second definition you provided.

Or let's take a look at the matter from the opposite perspective. Let's say that the health clinic decides to provide no fertility treatment to gay women, but one of the nurses decides, on her own, to provide the treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Is she being unfair to anyone?

Yes, she's being unfair because she's the one responsible for providing the exception. Everyone in their respective groups were being treated just like everyone else in their respective group until she came along and took it upon herself to act on her moral impulses and do the right thing.

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
You're welcome.

To be clear, though, I only claim that I gave examples of behavior that is not immoral but is unfair under the proposed conception of fairness described above.

As for whether such behavior is unfair in the (or a) usual sense of the word “fair”, I make no claims one way or another.

fast said:
This bothers me, and it goes to show that taking something to an extreme can be problematic, but what bothers me more is the post hoc changing of criteria to argue fairness.

To illustrate, let me change examples. Let's say a business opens up for the purpose of providing fertility treatment to all women. If a woman is denied treatment because of sexual orientation, then that's unfair.

If the business changes it's position and decides to exclude fertility treatment to homosexual women across the board, then it's not unfair to deny fertility treatment to homosexual woman--if it's across the board.

Now, let's say one of the healthcare workers in that latter business starts denying fertility treatment to black women. That would be unfair if any of them were heterosexual, for it's unfair to deny treatment to a heterosexual just because. she's black, but it would be fair to deny treatment to a black homosexual but not because she's black but because she's homosexual.

She argues that's she's being fair because she's denying treatment to all heterosexuals and all blacks, but her argument doesn't hold up because she is alone in her endeavors. It only holds up if everyone is on the same page. Everyone else is treating black women, so her isolated sense of fair treatment still makes it so that everyone in the group of heterosexual women aren't being treated the same, so it is unfair to deny treatment on the basis of race alone.
But why would the question of whether her actions are unfair depend on whether someone else picks the same category to distinguish allegedly “like” and “unlike”?

For example, let's say that half the nurses decide to deny treatment to Black and gay women, but the other half decide to deny treatment only to gay women. Would the people in the first half be unfair? Would the people in the second half be unfair? If so, why?
The definition does not seem to entail that.

In case of of the groups is the majority, I'm not sure why that would affect the issue of who's being fair, either under an intuitive conception of fairness, or under the second definition you provided.

Or let's take a look at the matter from the opposite perspective. Let's say that the health clinic decides to provide no fertility treatment to gay women, but one of the nurses decides, on her own, to provide the treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Is she being unfair to anyone?

Yes, she's being unfair because she's the one responsible for providing the exception. Everyone in their respective groups were being treated just like everyone else in their respective group until she came along and took it upon herself to act on her moral impulses and do the right thing.
Okay, so a few points:

1. That does not strike me as matching any usage I'm familiar with.

2. The definition you provided does not support that conclusion. It does not say that it depends on whether a group is in the majority or not. So, I don't know what criteria you're using here. It's not intuitive grasp of the words (unless you intuitively grasp them like that?), and it's not any theory about the meaning you've explained, so I'm not sure what it might be.

3. Let's say that it's half and half. Who's being unfair?

4. Let's say it's the other way around: all nurses choose to start providing treatment for gay women, but one of them sticks to her guns and chooses not to change. Would you say that she's being unfair, or all of the others are being unfair?

#### fast

##### Contributor
You're welcome.

To be clear, though, I only claim that I gave examples of behavior that is not immoral but is unfair under the proposed conception of fairness described above.

As for whether such behavior is unfair in the (or a) usual sense of the word “fair”, I make no claims one way or another.

fast said:
This bothers me, and it goes to show that taking something to an extreme can be problematic, but what bothers me more is the post hoc changing of criteria to argue fairness.

To illustrate, let me change examples. Let's say a business opens up for the purpose of providing fertility treatment to all women. If a woman is denied treatment because of sexual orientation, then that's unfair.

If the business changes it's position and decides to exclude fertility treatment to homosexual women across the board, then it's not unfair to deny fertility treatment to homosexual woman--if it's across the board.

Now, let's say one of the healthcare workers in that latter business starts denying fertility treatment to black women. That would be unfair if any of them were heterosexual, for it's unfair to deny treatment to a heterosexual just because. she's black, but it would be fair to deny treatment to a black homosexual but not because she's black but because she's homosexual.

She argues that's she's being fair because she's denying treatment to all heterosexuals and all blacks, but her argument doesn't hold up because she is alone in her endeavors. It only holds up if everyone is on the same page. Everyone else is treating black women, so her isolated sense of fair treatment still makes it so that everyone in the group of heterosexual women aren't being treated the same, so it is unfair to deny treatment on the basis of race alone.
But why would the question of whether her actions are unfair depend on whether someone else picks the same category to distinguish allegedly “like” and “unlike”?

For example, let's say that half the nurses decide to deny treatment to Black and gay women, but the other half decide to deny treatment only to gay women. Would the people in the first half be unfair? Would the people in the second half be unfair? If so, why?
The definition does not seem to entail that.

In case of of the groups is the majority, I'm not sure why that would affect the issue of who's being fair, either under an intuitive conception of fairness, or under the second definition you provided.

Or let's take a look at the matter from the opposite perspective. Let's say that the health clinic decides to provide no fertility treatment to gay women, but one of the nurses decides, on her own, to provide the treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Is she being unfair to anyone?

Yes, she's being unfair because she's the one responsible for providing the exception. Everyone in their respective groups were being treated just like everyone else in their respective group until she came along and took it upon herself to act on her moral impulses and do the right thing.
Okay, so a few points:

1. That does not strike me as matching any usage I'm familiar with.

2. The definition you provided does not support that conclusion. It does not say that it depends on whether a group is in the majority or not. So, I don't know what criteria you're using here. It's not intuitive grasp of the words (unless you intuitively grasp them like that?), and it's not any theory about the meaning you've explained, so I'm not sure what it might be.

3. Let's say that it's half and half. Who's being unfair?

4. Let's say it's the other way around: all nurses choose to start providing treatment for gay women, but one of them sticks to her guns and chooses not to change. Would you say that she's being unfair, or all of the others are being unfair?
You've given me something to think about, especially that last point.

#### fast

##### Contributor
You're welcome.

To be clear, though, I only claim that I gave examples of behavior that is not immoral but is unfair under the proposed conception of fairness described above.

As for whether such behavior is unfair in the (or a) usual sense of the word “fair”, I make no claims one way or another.

fast said:
This bothers me, and it goes to show that taking something to an extreme can be problematic, but what bothers me more is the post hoc changing of criteria to argue fairness.

To illustrate, let me change examples. Let's say a business opens up for the purpose of providing fertility treatment to all women. If a woman is denied treatment because of sexual orientation, then that's unfair.

If the business changes it's position and decides to exclude fertility treatment to homosexual women across the board, then it's not unfair to deny fertility treatment to homosexual woman--if it's across the board.

Now, let's say one of the healthcare workers in that latter business starts denying fertility treatment to black women. That would be unfair if any of them were heterosexual, for it's unfair to deny treatment to a heterosexual just because. she's black, but it would be fair to deny treatment to a black homosexual but not because she's black but because she's homosexual.

She argues that's she's being fair because she's denying treatment to all heterosexuals and all blacks, but her argument doesn't hold up because she is alone in her endeavors. It only holds up if everyone is on the same page. Everyone else is treating black women, so her isolated sense of fair treatment still makes it so that everyone in the group of heterosexual women aren't being treated the same, so it is unfair to deny treatment on the basis of race alone.
But why would the question of whether her actions are unfair depend on whether someone else picks the same category to distinguish allegedly “like” and “unlike”?

For example, let's say that half the nurses decide to deny treatment to Black and gay women, but the other half decide to deny treatment only to gay women. Would the people in the first half be unfair? Would the people in the second half be unfair? If so, why?
The definition does not seem to entail that.

In case of of the groups is the majority, I'm not sure why that would affect the issue of who's being fair, either under an intuitive conception of fairness, or under the second definition you provided.

Or let's take a look at the matter from the opposite perspective. Let's say that the health clinic decides to provide no fertility treatment to gay women, but one of the nurses decides, on her own, to provide the treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Is she being unfair to anyone?

Yes, she's being unfair because she's the one responsible for providing the exception. Everyone in their respective groups were being treated just like everyone else in their respective group until she came along and took it upon herself to act on her moral impulses and do the right thing.
Okay, so a few points:

1. That does not strike me as matching any usage I'm familiar with.

2. The definition you provided does not support that conclusion. It does not say that it depends on whether a group is in the majority or not. So, I don't know what criteria you're using here. It's not intuitive grasp of the words (unless you intuitively grasp them like that?), and it's not any theory about the meaning you've explained, so I'm not sure what it might be.

3. Let's say that it's half and half. Who's being unfair?

4. Let's say it's the other way around: all nurses choose to start providing treatment for gay women, but one of them sticks to her guns and chooses not to change. Would you say that she's being unfair, or all of the others are being unfair?
You've given me something to think about, especially that last point.
Point 1. I would suppose not. I have deliberately tried to free fairness of its link to that which is right and wrong and to rid fairness of the notion that everyone has to be treated equally in order to rightfully say of them that they've been treated fairly, so if someone isn't being treated right and if they are being treated differently than others, it's hard to imagine that such a thing is fair, right?

That doesn't show that fairness isn't about treating like cases alike and unlike cases unlike, but it does seem to suggest that although fairness may have to do with such treatment of cases, it doesn't stand alone as if to say that's all fairness has to deal with...hence my comment before about necessary and sufficient conditions of fairness, my insinuation that the treatment of like cases alike and unlike cases unlike may be necessary but not sufficient conditions in an analysis of fairness.

#### fast

##### Contributor
You're welcome.

To be clear, though, I only claim that I gave examples of behavior that is not immoral but is unfair under the proposed conception of fairness described above.

As for whether such behavior is unfair in the (or a) usual sense of the word “fair”, I make no claims one way or another.

fast said:
This bothers me, and it goes to show that taking something to an extreme can be problematic, but what bothers me more is the post hoc changing of criteria to argue fairness.

To illustrate, let me change examples. Let's say a business opens up for the purpose of providing fertility treatment to all women. If a woman is denied treatment because of sexual orientation, then that's unfair.

If the business changes it's position and decides to exclude fertility treatment to homosexual women across the board, then it's not unfair to deny fertility treatment to homosexual woman--if it's across the board.

Now, let's say one of the healthcare workers in that latter business starts denying fertility treatment to black women. That would be unfair if any of them were heterosexual, for it's unfair to deny treatment to a heterosexual just because. she's black, but it would be fair to deny treatment to a black homosexual but not because she's black but because she's homosexual.

She argues that's she's being fair because she's denying treatment to all heterosexuals and all blacks, but her argument doesn't hold up because she is alone in her endeavors. It only holds up if everyone is on the same page. Everyone else is treating black women, so her isolated sense of fair treatment still makes it so that everyone in the group of heterosexual women aren't being treated the same, so it is unfair to deny treatment on the basis of race alone.
But why would the question of whether her actions are unfair depend on whether someone else picks the same category to distinguish allegedly “like” and “unlike”?

For example, let's say that half the nurses decide to deny treatment to Black and gay women, but the other half decide to deny treatment only to gay women. Would the people in the first half be unfair? Would the people in the second half be unfair? If so, why?
The definition does not seem to entail that.

In case of of the groups is the majority, I'm not sure why that would affect the issue of who's being fair, either under an intuitive conception of fairness, or under the second definition you provided.

Or let's take a look at the matter from the opposite perspective. Let's say that the health clinic decides to provide no fertility treatment to gay women, but one of the nurses decides, on her own, to provide the treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Is she being unfair to anyone?

Yes, she's being unfair because she's the one responsible for providing the exception. Everyone in their respective groups were being treated just like everyone else in their respective group until she came along and took it upon herself to act on her moral impulses and do the right thing.
Okay, so a few points:

1. That does not strike me as matching any usage I'm familiar with.

2. The definition you provided does not support that conclusion. It does not say that it depends on whether a group is in the majority or not. So, I don't know what criteria you're using here. It's not intuitive grasp of the words (unless you intuitively grasp them like that?), and it's not any theory about the meaning you've explained, so I'm not sure what it might be.

3. Let's say that it's half and half. Who's being unfair?

4. Let's say it's the other way around: all nurses choose to start providing treatment for gay women, but one of them sticks to her guns and chooses not to change. Would you say that she's being unfair, or all of the others are being unfair?
Point 4. Nevermind the who, that's not important. The important point is whether each person within each group is being treated the same or not. Again, if everyone in a group is being treated just as everyone else in that group, AND if everyone in the other group is being treated just as everyone else in the other group, then everyone is being treated fairly, and that is not to say if everyone is being treated the same--they're not.

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
fast said:
Point 1. I would suppose not. I have deliberately tried to free fairness of its link to that which is right and wrong and to rid fairness of the notion that everyone has to be treated equally in order to rightfully say of them that they've been treated fairly, so if someone isn't being treated right and if they are being treated differently than others, it's hard to imagine that such a thing is fair, right?

That doesn't show that fairness isn't about treating like cases alike and unlike cases unlike, but it does seem to suggest that although fairness may have to do with such treatment of cases, it doesn't stand alone as if to say that's all fairness has to deal with...hence my comment before about necessary and sufficient conditions of fairness, my insinuation that the treatment of like cases alike and unlike cases unlike may be necessary but not sufficient conditions in an analysis of fairness.
Right. In particular, it might be that the "like" and "unlike" is not any categorization one may come up with, but something more limited.

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
fast said:
Point 4. Nevermind the who, that's not important. The important point is whether each person within each group is being treated the same or not. Again, if everyone in a group is being treated just as everyone else in that group, AND if everyone in the other group is being treated just as everyone else in the other group, then everyone is being treated fairly, and that is not to say if everyone is being treated the same--they're not.
The who is important to my objective because I'm asking in order to try to grasp how you're using the words, and to test the consistency of your usage. In particular, you gave a definition that did not support your earlier assessments, but rather led to conclusions your rejected - which you said bothered you.

So, you're not making the assessments based on that definition, or any other you provided. So, I'm thinking maybe that's your intuitive grasp of the term, but I haven't managed to see the pattern - i.e., I haven't managed to learn the meaning of "fair" in your speech.

Also, you say:
fast said:
The important point is whether each person within each group is being treated the same or not.
But what if they're being treated differently by different people? Why would that imply that someone is being unfair?
If clinic A always offers treatment for gay women, but clinic B never does, is any of them being unfair?
If everyone in clinic C always offers treatment for gay women except for one person who does not, is any of them being unfair?
Why?

fast said:
Again, if everyone in a group is being treated just as everyone else in that group, AND if everyone in the other group is being treated just as everyone else in the other group, then everyone is being treated fairly, and that is not to say if everyone is being treated the same--they're not.
But I have already refuted that, at least going by your usage of "fair", and as long that groups can be chosen in an unqualified manner.

Again, how about the following: Jack charges $X to those in the group “Jack feels like charging them$X”. How would you prevent things like that from implying everyone is always fair?

And if there is some limitation as to how to make the groups, you provided no definition, nor sufficient examples for me to grasp a pattern, so I'm at a loss at trying to figure out how you're using the word "fair".

#### fast

##### Contributor
The who is important to my objective because I'm asking in order to try to grasp how you're using the words, and to test the consistency of your usage. In particular, you gave a definition that did not support your earlier assessments, but rather led to conclusions your rejected - which you said bothered you.

So, you're not making the assessments based on that definition, or any other you provided. So, I'm thinking maybe that's your intuitive grasp of the term, but I haven't managed to see the pattern - i.e., I haven't managed to learn the meaning of "fair" in your speech.

Also, you say:
fast said:
The important point is whether each person within each group is being treated the same or not.
But what if they're being treated differently by different people? Why would that imply that someone is being unfair?
If clinic A always offers treatment for gay women, but clinic B never does, is any of them being unfair?
If everyone in clinic C always offers treatment for gay women except for one person who does not, is any of them being unfair?
Why?

fast said:
Again, if everyone in a group is being treated just as everyone else in that group, AND if everyone in the other group is being treated just as everyone else in the other group, then everyone is being treated fairly, and that is not to say if everyone is being treated the same--they're not.
But I have already refuted that, at least going by your usage of "fair", and as long that groups can be chosen in an unqualified manner.

Again, how about the following: Jack charges $X to those in the group “Jack feels like charging them$X”. How would you prevent things like that from implying everyone is always fair?

And if there is some limitation as to how to make the groups, you provided no definition, nor sufficient examples for me to grasp a pattern, so I'm at a loss at trying to figure out how you're using the word "fair".
It would be clinic specific, for each clinic has it's two groups. If clinic A always provides treatment for gay people and straight people, then there is only an instance of unfairness when there is an exception, for instance, someone decided not to treat a gay person because of sexual orientation or decided not to treat a heterosexual because she's black. If clinic B provides treatment only to heterosexual women and not homosexual women, then not treating a heterosexual woman would be unfair and another instance would be if a homosexual woman was treated.

Is clinic C treating gays only? If so, it would be unfair to treat a heterosexual. If clinic C is treating both gays and not gays, then not treating someone would be unfair.

In the Jack example, I'm having issues. My instinct is to say it's not fair, but then again, that's an extreme example.

#### fast

##### Contributor
Treated differently by different people. Hmmm

It's hard to say. I suppose what's more important is who is being treated, not by who is doing the treatment. If all whites treats all whites one way, and if all blacks treats all blacks one way, and if whites and blacks are being treated differently than whites, then i suppose a case of unfairness would be if a black was treated like a white or a white like a black regardless of who is treating who. For instance, if all whites are charged $5 and all blacks are charged$2, then all of a sudden a white person charged a black person $2 (even though ordinarily only a black treats blacks) then it's still fair despite who was treating who but rather the black was treated like all other blacks. Eta: On second thought, I'm not sure. So, tell me, why is it unfair to deny treatment to homosexual women in a clinic that only treats heterosexual women? Not why it's wrong. Is your answer because all women aren't being treated the same, or is there a different reason--or multiple reasons. Remember, the issue of what's right or wrong is off the table...unless you think it must be on the table to answer. #### Angra Mainyu ##### Veteran Member fast said: It would be clinic specific, for each clinic has it's two groups. If clinic A always provides treatment for gay people and straight people, then there is only an instance of unfairness when there is an exception, for instance, someone decided not to treat a gay person because of sexual orientation or decided not to treat a heterosexual because she's black. If clinic B provides treatment only to heterosexual women and not homosexual women, then not treating a heterosexual woman would be unfair and another instance would be if a homosexual woman was treated. Is clinic C treating gays only? If so, it would be unfair to treat a heterosexual. If clinic C is treating both gays and not gays, then not treating someone would be unfair. But why? How does it matter whether the difference in treatment happen by people working at different clinics, or by people working at the same clinic? Again, I would like to ask whether it's some explicit definition you're trying to use (if so, I would ask which one), or if you're going by your intuitive grasp of the words? fast said: In the Jack example, I'm having issues. My instinct is to say it's not fair, but then again, that's an extreme example. But it follows from the definition (the second one) you provided that he's being fair. So, either the definition does not match your usage, or he's being fair – and your having issues actually supports the conclusion that the definition does not match your usage. #### Angra Mainyu ##### Veteran Member fast said: So, tell me, why is it unfair to deny treatment to homosexual women in a clinic that only treats heterosexual women? Not why it's wrong. Is your answer because all women aren't being treated the same, or is there a different reason--or multiple reasons. Remember, the issue of what's right or wrong is off the table...unless you think it must be on the table to answer. I only claim it's wrong sometimes. Plausibly it's sometimes not immoral to deny fertility treatment if one's job depends on it, and one needs the job to sustain one's family, so one denies fertility treatment for that reason. I don't know why it's unfair. I don't even know that the clinic employees are being unfair. #### fast ##### Contributor But why? How does it matter whether the difference in treatment happen by people working at different clinics, or by people working at the same clinic? Again, I would like to ask whether it's some explicit definition you're trying to use (if so, I would ask which one), or if you're going by your intuitive grasp of the words? fast said: In the Jack example, I'm having issues. My instinct is to say it's not fair, but then again, that's an extreme example. But it follows from the definition (the second one) you provided that he's being fair. So, either the definition does not match your usage, or he's being fair – and your having issues actually supports the conclusion that the definition does not match your usage. I'm not using some global sense of fairness, as that reverts the notion back to the simpler conception of fairness involving everyone. When we're comparing groups to other groups, fairness is a function of treatment pertaining to cases in those groups. Consider a Boy Scout troop where members were rewarded with 30 minutes of swimming time upon completion of a task. Within that troop, the two obvious groups would be a) those that completed the task and b) those that didn't. An instance of unfairness is quite apparent when one who didn't complete the task is rewarded; additionally, another instance of unfairness would be if one wasn't rewarded even though he completed the task. In a completely different troop, let's say the reward is an hour. By not comparing the troops independent of each other, you would be broadening the scope of the groups for comparison and making it that much closer to the simpler conception. Doesn't it make sense that a person in the first troop isn't being treated unfairly by not getting the reward relevant to the second troop? It's clinic specific because the groups compared are group specific; otherwise, you'd be heading down the road to comparing every case leading us to discussing the more simpler conception of fairness. #### Angra Mainyu ##### Veteran Member fast said: I'm not using some global sense of fairness, as that reverts the notion back to the simpler conception of fairness involving everyone. Okay, but I wasn't asking whether you were using some global sense of fairness, as far as I know. I'm not sure what that would mean. If by that you mean you're not using your intuitive grasp of the words, then yes, I asked that, but in that case, I would ask what you're using. Regardless of what you mean by “global sense”, etc., I'm asking: “What method are you using in order to make your assessments as to what is fair, and what is not?” It's not one of the definitions you provided, it seems. So, I'm asking whether it's your intuitive grasp of the term “fair”, or else, what is. fast said: When we're comparing groups to other groups, fairness is a function of treatment pertaining to cases in those groups. Two questions: a. What counts as a group? In particular, is any subset of the human population a group? b. What function, specifically? Do you have a definition, or are you using an intuitive grasp of the function? fast said: Consider a Boy Scout troop where members were rewarded with 30 minutes of swimming time upon completion of a task. Within that troop, the two obvious groups would be a) those that completed the task and b) those that didn't. An instance of unfairness is quite apparent when one who didn't complete the task is rewarded; additionally, another instance of unfairness would be if one wasn't rewarded even though he completed the task. In a completely different troop, let's say the reward is an hour. By not comparing the troops independent of each other, you would be broadening the scope of the groups for comparison and making it that much closer to the simpler conception. Doesn't it make sense that a person in the first troop isn't being treated unfairly by not getting the reward relevant to the second troop? I'm in no position to assess whether it makes sense, because I do not know what you mean by “fair”. But if I were to assess the matter by my intuitive grasp of the terms, then okay. But then again, the nurses who change and choose to treat gay women as well are not being unfair, by that intuitive grasp. On the other hand, if I were to assess the matter by the definition you provided, talk about “obvious groups”, or “broadening the scope of the groups” seems to make no sense, since it seems anything counts as a group: the definition does not say, and you've not said that there is any limitation to the choice of groups. fast said: It's clinic specific because the groups compared are group specific; otherwise, you'd be heading down the road to comparing every case leading us to discussing the more simpler conception of fairness. What does it mean to be “group specific”? If you already picked the clinics as groups, sure that is clinic specific. But why would it not be individual specific? Or group of people within a clinic who are for or against X-specific, for some X? In other words, if you limit that to clinics, why not limit it further. What's so special about clinics, rather than (say) subsets of the people working in clinics? #### fast ##### Contributor Okay, but I wasn't asking whether you were using some global sense of fairness, as far as I know. I'm not sure what that would mean. If by that you mean you're not using your intuitive grasp of the words, then yes, I asked that, but in that case, I would ask what you're using. Regardless of what you mean by “global sense”, etc., I'm asking: “What method are you using in order to make your assessments as to what is fair, and what is not?” It's not one of the definitions you provided, it seems. So, I'm asking whether it's your intuitive grasp of the term “fair”, or else, what is. fast said: When we're comparing groups to other groups, fairness is a function of treatment pertaining to cases in those groups. Two questions: a. What counts as a group? In particular, is any subset of the human population a group? b. What function, specifically? Do you have a definition, or are you using an intuitive grasp of the function? fast said: Consider a Boy Scout troop where members were rewarded with 30 minutes of swimming time upon completion of a task. Within that troop, the two obvious groups would be a) those that completed the task and b) those that didn't. An instance of unfairness is quite apparent when one who didn't complete the task is rewarded; additionally, another instance of unfairness would be if one wasn't rewarded even though he completed the task. In a completely different troop, let's say the reward is an hour. By not comparing the troops independent of each other, you would be broadening the scope of the groups for comparison and making it that much closer to the simpler conception. Doesn't it make sense that a person in the first troop isn't being treated unfairly by not getting the reward relevant to the second troop? I'm in no position to assess whether it makes sense, because I do not know what you mean by “fair”. But if I were to assess the matter by my intuitive grasp of the terms, then okay. But then again, the nurses who change and choose to treat gay women as well are not being unfair, by that intuitive grasp. On the other hand, if I were to assess the matter by the definition you provided, talk about “obvious groups”, or “broadening the scope of the groups” seems to make no sense, since it seems anything counts as a group: the definition does not say, and you've not said that there is any limitation to the choice of groups. fast said: It's clinic specific because the groups compared are group specific; otherwise, you'd be heading down the road to comparing every case leading us to discussing the more simpler conception of fairness. What does it mean to be “group specific”? If you already picked the clinics as groups, sure that is clinic specific. But why would it not be individual specific? Or group of people within a clinic who are for or against X-specific, for some X? In other words, if you limit that to clinics, why not limit it further. What's so special about clinics, rather than (say) subsets of the people working in clinics? Your confusion is perplexing me. I've given so many examples and explanations, I'm not sure what to say. Whatever basis for discrimination one wants to use can be a group. Each group will have at least one more group for comparison purposes, such that the groups are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. I've been using examples that include two groups for simplicities sake. If a restaurant decides to only cater to adults, then the discrimination in question is clear, and we can then easily determine the relevant groups. Group 1) adults; group 2) children. Not clear? Okay, group 1 will consist of adults served at that restaurant and group 2 will be non-adults served at that restaurant. Wait, why are we including only possible customers at that restaurant? Because together, they represent not all customers everywhere but just all (all, i say) customers there. Not a good answer? If we want to know if specific customers at that restaurant is being treated fairly in comparison to other customers at that restaurant, then we need to limit our groupings to that specific restaurant. Now, if you want to know something else, such as whether that restaurant is treating their customers fairly as compared to other restaurants, then the groupings would have to be broadened. How are we to determine whether or not the customers at that restaurant are being treated fairly relative to other customers treatment at that restaurant? Look for like cases and look for unlike cases and see how they are treated respectively. Case 1 (an adult enters and is served). Case 2 (a child enters and is refused service). Case 3 (another adult enters with a child and only the adult is served. Case 4 (an adult is served) case 5 (an adult enters with child but only the adult is served. Is the restaurant treating everyone fairly? Yes. Remember, they're only catering to adults. They are discriminating against children, but the moral implications is not relevant. All adults are being treated just like every other adult that enters the restaurant: they are served. All children are being treated fairly too, for they are treated just like every other child that enters: they are not served. No case presented is a deviation from how adults are treated that go to that restaurant, and no case is an example of an exception being made for children. Is there discrimination? Yes, children are being discriminated against. Is it wrong? Maybe. Is it fair? As far as the two different groups are concerned, all like cases are treated alike. The second group is unlike the first group, yet every member of the second group is treated the same (unlike those in the first group). Case 6) an adult enters with a child and both are served. Holy smack! The fact the adult is served does not present a problem, for all adults have been and continue to be treated just like every other adult that comes to the restaurant, but it can no longer be said that everyone has been treated fairly, for an exception has been made when they served a child. No other child has been served until now, and it's now that unlike cases have not all been treated the same. It's unfair to the other children that that child got served...not unfair simply because she was treated differently...oh no, it's not unfair because of simply that...it's unfair because she was not treated the same as all the other children. We're looking for exceptions to treatment within the single group to which she belongs. #### Angra Mainyu ##### Veteran Member fast said: Your confusion is perplexing me. I've given so many examples and explanations, I'm not sure what to say. Maybe it's time to leave it at that. I've also explained so many times some of the problems, but to no avail. And it is taking an increasing amount of time. fast said: Whatever basis for discrimination one wants to use can be a group. Okay, I will show that that does not match your usage: Do you mean whatever basis for discrimination the person acting chooses, or the person assessing whether the action is fair? a. Let's say it's the former. Nurses in a clinic are not providing fertility treatment to gay women. One woman chooses to do otherwise. She chooses new groups, and then starts to treat gay women. Then, she's being fair, because she is treating people in the same group (which is “all women”) alike, and people in the other group (any entity other than a woman) alike, when it comes to fertility treatment. If it's not one but two nurses who change, or three, or 24, they're still being fair. b. Let's say it's the latter. Then all actions are fair. And all actions are unfair, as long as more than two people are treated differently. Either way, that does not match our previous assessments. fast said: Each group will have at least one more group for comparison purposes, such that the groups are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. By that you mean that for every group (or set of entities), there is a complement? Sure, no problem. fast said: I've been using examples that include two groups for simplicities sake. I'm not sure what you mean by that. But I've been showing that the conditions you keep providing do not match the way you're using the words. fast said: If a restaurant decides to only cater to adults, then the discrimination in question is clear, and we can then easily determine the relevant groups. Group 1) adults; group 2) children. Not clear? Who's the restaurant? The owners? The people working there? In any case, those groups are clear enough for my point. Let's say that one of the employees decides to cater to children too. He's chosen a different group. Since he can choose any group and be fair, then he's being fair, right? But then you say that's not so, unless everyone changes. But why? That seems to contradict your definition that anything goes as a group. Or is it that once a group is picked, it's always unfair to change unless everyone changes? Let's say that everyone but one change. Are they all but one being unfair? There is also the problem of how you pick the groups of actors. Why one restaurant, rather than each employee, or a chain of restaurants, or all restaurants in the country? (that “why” is a “why given your definition”, which your previous reply does not explain). fast said: Okay, group 1 will consist of adults served at that restaurant and group 2 will be non-adults served at that restaurant. Wait, why are we including only possible customers at that restaurant? Because together, they represent not all customers everywhere but just all (all, i say) customers there. Not a good answer? If we want to know if specific customers at that restaurant is being treated fairly in comparison to other customers at that restaurant, then we need to limit our groupings to that specific restaurant. Now, if you want to know something else, such as whether that restaurant is treating their customers fairly as compared to other restaurants, then the groupings would have to be broadened. Okay, so this looks like a new idea. You're apparently relativizing fairness. But I still don't know what your function is. For example, let's say that restaurant A only serves White people. Black people are being treated fairly, by your assessment, since they're all excluded. But let's say that restaurant B serves people of all races. It seems that Black people (not customers, since they're not accepted customers) in A, are being treated fairly in comparison with While people in A, and Black people in B are being treated fairly in comparison with White people in B. But Black people in A are being treated unfairly with respect to Black people in B, and Black people in B (who are served properly) are being treated unfairly with respect to Black people in A (who are rejected)? But then again, let's say one of the waiters in A – say, Bob - starts serving Black people. Then, as long as he serves them, Black people in A served by Bob are treated fairly with respect to While people in A, but unfairly with respect to Black people in A served by other waiters. Is that what you're getting at? If so, then why not leave aside the word “fair” altogether, and talk about whether two or more people are treated in the same way by someone else? It might avoid a lot of confusion. In any case, now you're looking at the issue of who's being treated unfairly, rather than the issue of who treats others unfairly. But when it comes to assessing the morality of treating people unfairly, the idea is to see who treats people unfairly, not who is being treated unfairly. Yet, given the relativization of fairness, it seems everyone is treating people fairly, and everyone is treating people unfairly, just with regard to different groups. fast said: How are we to determine whether or not the customers at that restaurant are being treated fairly relative to other customers treatment at that restaurant? Look for like cases and look for unlike cases and see how they are treated respectively. Case 1 (an adult enters and is served). Case 2 (a child enters and is refused service). Case 3 (another adult enters with a child and only the adult is served. Case 4 (an adult is served) case 5 (an adult enters with child but only the adult is served. But we can change the groups, and that's that. For example, like cases (e. g., all human beings people) are not being treating like. In other words, why would you say that they're fairly catering to adults, rather than unfairly catering to human beings but failing to serve some of them? fast said: Is the restaurant treating everyone fairly? Yes. Remember, they're only catering to adults. Well, if they keep doing that. But if they serve a child, then why are they not being fair? After all, they're treating like cases (people in the group of adults + the child in question) like, and unlike cases (those not in the group) unlike. fast said: They are discriminating against children, but the moral implications is not relevant. All adults are being treated just like every other adult that enters the restaurant: they are served. All children are being treated fairly too, for they are treated just like every other child that enters: they are not served. No case presented is a deviation from how adults are treated that go to that restaurant, and no case is an example of an exception being made for children. But if a child is served, how is that a deviation? Let's just consider another group to distinguish “like” from “unlike”, and there is no deviation. Why would you prefer one group (e. g., children vs. adults) vs some other group, and say they're catering to the former? If they were to serve some children, why would they not be fairly catering to those in the group composed of some adults + a child? fast said: Is there discrimination? Yes, children are being discriminated against. Is it wrong? Maybe. Is it fair? As far as the two different groups are concerned, all like cases are treated alike. The second group is unlike the first group, yet every member of the second group is treated the same (unlike those in the first group). And with respect to some other way of picking the group, some like cases are not treated alike. Who determines which groups to pick, in order to assess whether it's fair? fast said: Case 6) an adult enters with a child and both are served. Holy smack! The fact the adult is served does not present a problem, for all adults have been and continue to be treated just like every other adult that comes to the restaurant, but it can no longer be said that everyone has been treated fairly, for an exception has been made when they served a child. But everyone in the group “adults + Timmy” (who is the child) is being treated alike, so how is that not fair? Why pick the group “adults” instead of “adults + Timmy”? fast said: No other child has been served until now, and it's now that unlike cases have not all been treated the same. You mean, like cases? But like cases have been treated the same. Cases in the category “adults + children who get served” (like cases) are being treated the same. On the other hand, like cases have not been treated the same. For example, like cases (category “all humans beings”) have been treated differently even before the child was served. fast said: It's unfair to the other children that that child got served...not unfair simply because she was treated differently...oh no, it's not unfair because of simply that...it's unfair because she was not treated the same as all the other children. We're looking for exceptions to treatment within the single group to which she belongs. The child belongs to infinitely many different groups. With that procedure, one can always set the groups to get the “fair” or “unfair” verdict. #### fast ##### Contributor Maybe it's time to leave it at that. I've also explained so many times some of the problems, but to no avail. And it is taking an increasing amount of time. fast said: Whatever basis for discrimination one wants to use can be a group. Okay, I will show that that does not match your usage: Do you mean whatever basis for discrimination the person acting chooses, or the person assessing whether the action is fair? a. Let's say it's the former. Nurses in a clinic are not providing fertility treatment to gay women. One woman chooses to do otherwise. She chooses new groups, and then starts to treat gay women. Then, she's being fair, because she is treating people in the same group (which is “all women”) alike, and people in the other group (any entity other than a woman) alike, when it comes to fertility treatment. If it's not one but two nurses who change, or three, or 24, they're still being fair. b. Let's say it's the latter. Then all actions are fair. And all actions are unfair, as long as more than two people are treated differently. Either way, that does not match our previous assessments. fast said: Each group will have at least one more group for comparison purposes, such that the groups are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. By that you mean that for every group (or set of entities), there is a complement? Sure, no problem. fast said: I've been using examples that include two groups for simplicities sake. I'm not sure what you mean by that. But I've been showing that the conditions you keep providing do not match the way you're using the words. fast said: If a restaurant decides to only cater to adults, then the discrimination in question is clear, and we can then easily determine the relevant groups. Group 1) adults; group 2) children. Not clear? Who's the restaurant? The owners? The people working there? In any case, those groups are clear enough for my point. Let's say that one of the employees decides to cater to children too. He's chosen a different group. Since he can choose any group and be fair, then he's being fair, right? But then you say that's not so, unless everyone changes. But why? That seems to contradict your definition that anything goes as a group. Or is it that once a group is picked, it's always unfair to change unless everyone changes? Let's say that everyone but one change. Are they all but one being unfair? There is also the problem of how you pick the groups of actors. Why one restaurant, rather than each employee, or a chain of restaurants, or all restaurants in the country? (that “why” is a “why given your definition”, which your previous reply does not explain). fast said: Okay, group 1 will consist of adults served at that restaurant and group 2 will be non-adults served at that restaurant. Wait, why are we including only possible customers at that restaurant? Because together, they represent not all customers everywhere but just all (all, i say) customers there. Not a good answer? If we want to know if specific customers at that restaurant is being treated fairly in comparison to other customers at that restaurant, then we need to limit our groupings to that specific restaurant. Now, if you want to know something else, such as whether that restaurant is treating their customers fairly as compared to other restaurants, then the groupings would have to be broadened. Okay, so this looks like a new idea. You're apparently relativizing fairness. But I still don't know what your function is. For example, let's say that restaurant A only serves White people. Black people are being treated fairly, by your assessment, since they're all excluded. But let's say that restaurant B serves people of all races. It seems that Black people (not customers, since they're not accepted customers) in A, are being treated fairly in comparison with While people in A, and Black people in B are being treated fairly in comparison with White people in B. But Black people in A are being treated unfairly with respect to Black people in B, and Black people in B (who are served properly) are being treated unfairly with respect to Black people in A (who are rejected)? But then again, let's say one of the waiters in A – say, Bob - starts serving Black people. Then, as long as he serves them, Black people in A served by Bob are treated fairly with respect to While people in A, but unfairly with respect to Black people in A served by other waiters. Is that what you're getting at? If so, then why not leave aside the word “fair” altogether, and talk about whether two or more people are treated in the same way by someone else? It might avoid a lot of confusion. In any case, now you're looking at the issue of who's being treated unfairly, rather than the issue of who treats others unfairly. But when it comes to assessing the morality of treating people unfairly, the idea is to see who treats people unfairly, not who is being treated unfairly. Yet, given the relativization of fairness, it seems everyone is treating people fairly, and everyone is treating people unfairly, just with regard to different groups. fast said: How are we to determine whether or not the customers at that restaurant are being treated fairly relative to other customers treatment at that restaurant? Look for like cases and look for unlike cases and see how they are treated respectively. Case 1 (an adult enters and is served). Case 2 (a child enters and is refused service). Case 3 (another adult enters with a child and only the adult is served. Case 4 (an adult is served) case 5 (an adult enters with child but only the adult is served. But we can change the groups, and that's that. For example, like cases (e. g., all human beings people) are not being treating like. In other words, why would you say that they're fairly catering to adults, rather than unfairly catering to human beings but failing to serve some of them? fast said: Is the restaurant treating everyone fairly? Yes. Remember, they're only catering to adults. Well, if they keep doing that. But if they serve a child, then why are they not being fair? After all, they're treating like cases (people in the group of adults + the child in question) like, and unlike cases (those not in the group) unlike. fast said: They are discriminating against children, but the moral implications is not relevant. All adults are being treated just like every other adult that enters the restaurant: they are served. All children are being treated fairly too, for they are treated just like every other child that enters: they are not served. No case presented is a deviation from how adults are treated that go to that restaurant, and no case is an example of an exception being made for children. But if a child is served, how is that a deviation? Let's just consider another group to distinguish “like” from “unlike”, and there is no deviation. Why would you prefer one group (e. g., children vs. adults) vs some other group, and say they're catering to the former? If they were to serve some children, why would they not be fairly catering to those in the group composed of some adults + a child? fast said: Is there discrimination? Yes, children are being discriminated against. Is it wrong? Maybe. Is it fair? As far as the two different groups are concerned, all like cases are treated alike. The second group is unlike the first group, yet every member of the second group is treated the same (unlike those in the first group). And with respect to some other way of picking the group, some like cases are not treated alike. Who determines which groups to pick, in order to assess whether it's fair? fast said: Case 6) an adult enters with a child and both are served. Holy smack! The fact the adult is served does not present a problem, for all adults have been and continue to be treated just like every other adult that comes to the restaurant, but it can no longer be said that everyone has been treated fairly, for an exception has been made when they served a child. But everyone in the group “adults + Timmy” (who is the child) is being treated alike, so how is that not fair? Why pick the group “adults” instead of “adults + Timmy”? fast said: No other child has been served until now, and it's now that unlike cases have not all been treated the same. You mean, like cases? But like cases have been treated the same. Cases in the category “adults + children who get served” (like cases) are being treated the same. On the other hand, like cases have not been treated the same. For example, like cases (category “all humans beings”) have been treated differently even before the child was served. fast said: It's unfair to the other children that that child got served...not unfair simply because she was treated differently...oh no, it's not unfair because of simply that...it's unfair because she was not treated the same as all the other children. We're looking for exceptions to treatment within the single group to which she belongs. The child belongs to infinitely many different groups. With that procedure, one can always set the groups to get the “fair” or “unfair” verdict. You appear to understand for the most part. We've made progress. People who make claims of unfairness are the ones essentially creating the groups for comparison. Sure, people can stipulate an odd grouping by factoring in certain exceptions, and the next person can complicate it even further, and yes, that could lead to different conclusions of fairness, but it's group comparison specific. I didn't mean to express frustration at the beginning of my last post. My apologies. We can break if you like. And thank you. #### Angra Mainyu ##### Veteran Member fast said: You appear to understand for the most part. We've made progress. Maybe, though I'm not sure about that. But you don't seem to find any problem with your usage and/or your theory about what it means. fast said: People who make claims of unfairness are the ones essentially creating the groups for comparison. Sure, people can stipulate an odd grouping by factoring in certain exceptions, and the next person can complicate it even further, and yes, that could lead to different conclusions of fairness, but it's group comparison specific. But do they know they're picking different groups? Else, they would seem to be talking past each other. fast said: I didn't mean to express frustration at the beginning of my last post. My apologies. We can break if you like. And thank you. You're welcome, and no need to apologize. As for breaking it, that's okay with me, though if you prefer to address my previous post specifically, I will address your reply. #### fast ##### Contributor Maybe you're right, and perhaps I should be looking at who is treating others fairly or not rather than who is being treated fairly or not, but I think it's okay to try and ascertain if it's true that a discriminated group is being treated fairly or not, per this vague notion...can't forget that. If a business discriminates against a certain group, that's not to say there aren't people in the business that might not comply and secretly treat others without discrimination, (and the inverse is true as well), but the determining factors of whether or not a business is engaging in discriminatory practices have similarities yet differences as well with regards to the determining factor for whether or not a person within that business is being discriminatory. Let's take a look at both for comparison purposes. A local shop charges every customer (be they white or black)$10 for an oil change. A recent new hire in that shop charges whites $10 but starts charging blacks$12. Is the local shop treating all whites the same? Seems so. Is the local shop treating all blacks the same? Well, before the new hire came along, every like case (whites being charged $10) were all treated the same, and all unlike cases (blacks being charged$10) were all treated the same. Why is it a race issue? Well, it wasn't an issue of race until the new hire came aboard and was caught charging people of another race a different amount of money. He wasn't accused of discriminating on some other basis.

When confronted about his alleged acts of unfairness, he argues that he hasn't been unfair at all because he's consistent and never charges whites more or less than $10 and never charges blacks more or less than$12; moreover, he argues (and he must of been unfortunate enough to overhear this cockamamie notion of fairness I've put up for review) that since he never treated any black any different than any other black he's serviced that he therefore has been fair.

He could see the look in the owners eyes and knew his oil changing career was about to end, so he charges the next black person that came in \$11 and says, now you can fire me for being unfair, as it's no longer the case that he has treated all his black customers (the new hire's black customers he's served) the same.

Recap, the customers of the business were all being being treated fairly before the new hire came aboard, and the customers of the business were all being treated fairly after the new hire left, and because all customers weren't being treated the same as all customers of that business while the new hire was there, you want to know who was treating customers unfairly since we've already established that the new hire treated all his customers fairly--except the last one before he was fired.

Customers were being unfairly treated as a whole despite his consistent treatment of his specific customers. Yes, the new hire was being fair as he treated each group the same (group m: whites he served and group n: blacks he served), but group a (whites served at that business) and group b (blacks served at that business) were not being treated fairly

But wait, group n is a subset of group b, so how were blacks being treated both fairly and unfairly at the same time? Fairness is a battle of comparison. If you want to know something, you need to be specific about what you want to know. If you want to know if he was fair within the realm of customers he served, then you need to compare groups m and n, but if you want to know if all customers at that business are being treated fairly, then you need to compare group a and b.

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
fast said:
Maybe you're right, and perhaps I should be looking at who is treating others fairly or not rather than who is being treated fairly or not, but I think it's okay to try and ascertain if it's true that a discriminated group is being treated fairly or not, per this vague notion...can't forget that.
But even if it's okay to try to ascertain if a group is being treated fairly or not, your question was whether if an act is unfair, then it's immoral. That looks like a question about the morality of the action of a person treating others unfairly.

By the way, on that note, you said you were wondering whether unfair treatment entailed immoral treatment.

However, if we go by the relativized notion of fairness that you're apparently supporting now, and any treatment of a person is unfair with respect to some group, and the choice of groups is unlimited, it should be obvious that the answer to your question is negative.
In fact, all one needs to do is consider a case (any case) in which a person treats another person in a morally permissible manner, and then point out that the treatment in question is unfair for some choice of groups.

The fact that you were wondering whether unfairness entails immorality indicates that you didn't understand fairness to be group-relative in that fashion.

So, while I don't have a problem discussing any conception of fairness that you want to discuss – though I don't know that the relativized one matches any ordinary uses of the words -, it seems to me that the usage of “fair” in your posts is not consistent across posts, and that makes it very difficult for me to pinpoint what it is you want to discuss.

Also, as I mentioned, on the relativized version, why not just talk about different treatment, without using the word “fair” at all...and maybe tabooing the word “fair” (i. e., stipulating that we will express ourselves without using that word) would help us get to whatever it is you want to talk about, unless you want to talk about the meaning of “fair”, in which case I'm not sure what you'd like to discuss about it, but I think I've already said what I can about it, and I don't have more to offer – other than, perhaps, finding problems in proposed definitions, if you have others, but I'm not sure where we would be going with this.

#### fast

##### Contributor
fast said:
Maybe you're right, and perhaps I should be looking at who is treating others fairly or not rather than who is being treated fairly or not, but I think it's okay to try and ascertain if it's true that a discriminated group is being treated fairly or not, per this vague notion...can't forget that.
But even if it's okay to try to ascertain if a group is being treated fairly or not, your question was whether if an act is unfair, then it's immoral. That looks like a question about the morality of the action of a person treating others unfairly.

By the way, on that note, you said you were wondering whether unfair treatment entailed immoral treatment.

However, if we go by the relativized notion of fairness that you're apparently supporting now, and any treatment of a person is unfair with respect to some group, and the choice of groups is unlimited, it should be obvious that the answer to your question is negative.
In fact, all one needs to do is consider a case (any case) in which a person treats another person in a morally permissible manner, and then point out that the treatment in question is unfair for some choice of groups.

The fact that you were wondering whether unfairness entails immorality indicates that you didn't understand fairness to be group-relative in that fashion.

So, while I don't have a problem discussing any conception of fairness that you want to discuss – though I don't know that the relativized one matches any ordinary uses of the words -, it seems to me that the usage of “fair” in your posts is not consistent across posts, and that makes it very difficult for me to pinpoint what it is you want to discuss.

Also, as I mentioned, on the relativized version, why not just talk about different treatment, without using the word “fair” at all...and maybe tabooing the word “fair” (i. e., stipulating that we will express ourselves without using that word) would help us get to whatever it is you want to talk about, unless you want to talk about the meaning of “fair”, in which case I'm not sure what you'd like to discuss about it, but I think I've already said what I can about it, and I don't have more to offer – other than, perhaps, finding problems in proposed definitions, if you have others, but I'm not sure where we would be going with this.
Supporting? No.

I've been told a couple things. I've been told that fairness has to do with treating like cases alike and unlike cases unlike, and I've been told that an act can be fair yet immoral.

I've been confused about something. I've been confused about how to properly interpret the first thing I said without losing touch with our common yet accurate understanding of fairness.

I've been curious about something. I've been curious if an act can be moral yet unfair.

I don't want to support ... I refuse to support ... this notion I've been entertaining. I just needed to wash or flush some things out.

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
fast said:
Supporting? No.
By “supporting” I mean you defend as a proper analysis of the word, at least in this context.
I got the strong impression that you were doing just that, but sorry if you were not.
In any event, I'm talking about the relativized conception of fairness you've been applying to the different scenarios recently.

fast said:
I've been told a couple things. I've been told that fairness has to do with treating like cases alike and unlike cases unlike, and I've been told that an act can be fair yet immoral.
Okay, fair enough. That may be true in the usual sense of the words, as far as I know.

However, I'm pointing out that if you understand treating “like cases alike and unlike cases unlike” in the relativized understanding that you're using now, it should be obvious that an act can be fair and immoral, unfair and not immoral, fair and not immoral, or unfair and immoral.

fast said:
I've been confused about something. I've been confused about how to properly interpret the first thing I said without losing touch with our common yet accurate understanding of fairness.
Okay, fair enough. As I see it, the relativized version in question (which allows for any choice of groups, no matter what it is) loses touch with it.

fast said:
I've been curious about something. I've been curious if an act can be moral yet unfair.
Okay. I'm afraid I do not know for sure (I'm also not sure whether by “moral” you mean “morally acceptable”, or “morally obligatory”, though it looks like the latter), but I offered a few potential examples, at least based on my intuitive grasp of the term.
However, as I pointed out, I think the term “fair” (and “unfair”), etc., may be somewhat ambiguous and have more than one common usage, so perhaps the answer depends on the usage.

In any case, in the relativized sense in question, the answer is an obvious “yes”, regardless of whether by “moral” you mean “morally permissible”, or “morally obligatory”.
fast said:
I don't want to support ... I refuse to support ... this notion I've been entertaining. I just needed to wash or flush some things out.
Okay, sorry I misunderstood.

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#### arkirk

##### Veteran Member
If your "morality" is based on fairness and demands fairness, then you cannot be "moral" and unfair at the same time. It appears to me that it is a matter of how inclusive one's definitions of parties entitled to fairness is. It also depends on whether or not one endorses a punitive system of justice. When you get into punishment you begin to redefine what you mean by fair. In the process of defining punishable offenses, you begin to establish a concept of just deserts and start defining exceptions to fairness. The exceptions are those parties that are not within some defined set of deserving parties. There really is a problem with punitive systems in this regard.

#### fast

##### Contributor
If your "morality" is based on fairness and demands fairness, then you cannot be "moral" and unfair at the same time. It appears to me that it is a matter of how inclusive one's definitions of parties entitled to fairness is. It also depends on whether or not one endorses a punitive system of justice. When you get into punishment you begin to redefine what you mean by fair. In the process of defining punishable offenses, you begin to establish a concept of just deserts and start defining exceptions to fairness. The exceptions are those parties that are not within some defined set of deserving parties. There really is a problem with punitive systems in this regard.
I believe that whatever fairness is, it it just what it is, despite any ill-conceived notions that I or any other may have regarding it, so when you elude to the notion that it's a matter of one's definitions, I'm hesitant to accept such a view that's suggestive of the idea that fairness is somehow relative to the beliefs and positions of people or groups.

Your first sentence is intriguing, for it highlights the view that fairness may be a necessary condition of moral behavior, or at least an important consideration to different peoples notions of what's right and wrong.

#### Angra Mainyu

##### Veteran Member
me said:
The child belongs to infinitely many different groups.
Correction/clarification (it does not affect the matters at hand)r:
The point above is true with respect to the way in which the groups are defined.
But as to whether there are actually infinitely many different sets of agents (or of people), that may or may not be the case, for all I know (counting the entire universe, which may or may not have infinitely many people). In any case, there are many such groups.

#### arkirk

##### Veteran Member
If your "morality" is based on fairness and demands fairness, then you cannot be "moral" and unfair at the same time. It appears to me that it is a matter of how inclusive one's definitions of parties entitled to fairness is. It also depends on whether or not one endorses a punitive system of justice. When you get into punishment you begin to redefine what you mean by fair. In the process of defining punishable offenses, you begin to establish a concept of just deserts and start defining exceptions to fairness. The exceptions are those parties that are not within some defined set of deserving parties. There really is a problem with punitive systems in this regard.
I believe that whatever fairness is, it it just what it is, despite any ill-conceived notions that I or any other may have regarding it, so when you elude to the notion that it's a matter of one's definitions, I'm hesitant to accept such a view that's suggestive of the idea that fairness is somehow relative to the beliefs and positions of people or groups.

Your first sentence is intriguing, for it highlights the view that fairness may be a necessary condition of moral behavior, or at least an important consideration to different peoples notions of what's right and wrong.

Well then, let us look at a couple of examples to illustrate my point. In the antebellum South, black people imported from Africa were assigned the role and the condition of slavery. What is slavery? Oh. only being defined as a sub human worthy of being worked for a master and kept from exposure to education. At the same time, there can be little doubt that the white people in the area concerned themselves with being fair with one another. The scope of their concept of fairness extended only to white people. Black people were bought and sold like pigs or chickens. There was no thought about what was fair to them...only their masters.

You can be killed for being a Christian or gay or an uppity woman in many middle eastern countries. Fairness is just for the upper class men. Indeed this concept was played out in the U.S. where judges have decided that certain perpetrators of violent crime be excused from harsh sentencing because their affluence had dulled their sense of right and wrong. I believe they call the condition "affluenza." We accept all kinds of unfair bullshit in the name of patriotism, We are supplied with governmental templates to override fairness in most cases where rich people conflict with poor ones. To deny this is like denying the the sun rises each day.

#### fast

##### Contributor
If your "morality" is based on fairness and demands fairness, then you cannot be "moral" and unfair at the same time. It appears to me that it is a matter of how inclusive one's definitions of parties entitled to fairness is. It also depends on whether or not one endorses a punitive system of justice. When you get into punishment you begin to redefine what you mean by fair. In the process of defining punishable offenses, you begin to establish a concept of just deserts and start defining exceptions to fairness. The exceptions are those parties that are not within some defined set of deserving parties. There really is a problem with punitive systems in this regard.
I believe that whatever fairness is, it it just what it is, despite any ill-conceived notions that I or any other may have regarding it, so when you elude to the notion that it's a matter of one's definitions, I'm hesitant to accept such a view that's suggestive of the idea that fairness is somehow relative to the beliefs and positions of people or groups.

Your first sentence is intriguing, for it highlights the view that fairness may be a necessary condition of moral behavior, or at least an important consideration to different peoples notions of what's right and wrong.

Well then, let us look at a couple of examples to illustrate my point. In the antebellum South, black people imported from Africa were assigned the role and the condition of slavery. What is slavery? Oh. only being defined as a sub human worthy of being worked for a master and kept from exposure to education. At the same time, there can be little doubt that the white people in the area concerned themselves with being fair with one another. The scope of their concept of fairness extended only to white people. Black people were bought and sold like pigs or chickens. There was no thought about what was fair to them...only their masters.

You can be killed for being a Christian or gay or an uppity woman in many middle eastern countries. Fairness is just for the upper class men. Indeed this concept was played out in the U.S. where judges have decided that certain perpetrators of violent crime be excused from harsh sentencing because their affluence had dulled their sense of right and wrong. I believe they call the condition "affluenza." We accept all kinds of unfair bullshit in the name of patriotism, We are supplied with governmental templates to override fairness in most cases where rich people conflict with poor ones. To deny this is like denying the the sun rises each day.
Oh, that's what you had in mind! I wouldn't dream of arguing against you in that light. My concern is that I wouldn't want others to think that certain things way back when were fair simply because people way back when lacked the concern to treat others fairly. See, even if they believed in heart of hearts that their conception of fairness was an accurate conception, that wouldn't change the fact they were in fact unfair to others despite their misguided beliefs. In other words, I don't want to take a relative stance such that what is fair (fairness itself, that is) must be a product of the times. Don't get me wrong, things may be fair in instances that might not be fair in other instances, giving the misguided notion that fairness is relative. What I'm saying is that the meaning and conditions of fairness should take on a more objective appearance that should more readily stand the test of time.

#### fromderinside

##### Mazzie Daius
What I'm saying is that the meaning and conditions of fairness should take on a more objective appearance that should more readily stand the test of time.

So what veneer would you suggest?

#### fast

##### Contributor
What I'm saying is that the meaning and conditions of fairness should take on a more objective appearance that should more readily stand the test of time.

So what veneer would you suggest?
a cold one

#### arkirk

##### Veteran Member
What I'm saying is that the meaning and conditions of fairness should take on a more objective appearance that should more readily stand the test of time.

So what veneer would you suggest?
a cold one

I think the best we can do is to deconstruct rationalizations of just deserts that cause suffering. We seem able to recognize suffering when we see it. It is easy to see that the slave is experiencing arbitrary treatment and that treatment is unfair tp him. How and when did society accept that the slave deserved to be a slave? How can that be fair?