Digest of terms

fairness

a deep-felt moral sense that the outcome of what is said or done should not be advantageous/disadvantageous to one person more than to another unless there is a valid reason for the difference (as in e.g. a child's birthday treats, praise or rewards for good behaviour, a football award). In spite of any pursuit of self-interest, which children manifest from earliest years, they also show a capacity to recognise when something is unfair, even when it works against themselves. Indeed it has been claimed that we have an intuition of a presumption of moral equality which needs to be overridden by rationales for unequal treatment such as those traditionally deployed in support of sexism, racism and other forms of social hierarchy, and that this is at the root of the more elaborated concepts of justice and natural law.

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