By Les Brown
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Additional info for Conservation and Practical Morality: Challenges to Education and Reform
There is clearly no place in either the common interest or the common good for idiosyncratic fancies, or even for perhaps well-justified interests of particular sections of the community such as rail-travellers, shop-keepers or pensioners. Third, politicization of the common interest and the common good leaves an impression of a common identity. The not unusual assertion by members of governments that their programmes or policies are both in the common interest and to the public good have the effect of obscuring important conceptual distinctions between them.
Yet in none of these points is there a fundamental moral difference between rights-based theories and Preference Utilitarianism of the kind espoused recently by R. M. Hare. Differences are differences of approach, perspective or emphasis: they do not represent incompatibilities between the theories. There is in each an acknowledgement of common requirements of morality, including equal consideration of others as persons. Preference Utilitarianism is not inconsistent with distributive justice. There is no disagreement in the theories on the prima facie, or defeasible, nature of the principles underlying practical morality.
That observation is of relevance to conservation as one of the outstanding public interest issues of our time, as will become evident in the next chapter. On individual interest, and its relationship with the common interest, the first point to observe is that there is little reason to denigrate self-interest as such. It was not Hobbes so much as his critics who established it in mean and selfish terms. ) But selfinterest, without the overtone of selfishness, is the beginning and the end of all interests when we eliminate from our thinking all figurative projections of superordinate entities in the name of the state, or even comprehensive collectives of individuals.
Conservation and Practical Morality: Challenges to Education and Reform by Les Brown