Free-Will Imperatives: Failure and Hope for Eden and Beyond

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What does “Equal Opportunity Employer” mean for candidates dependent upon their interviewers’ ethical perspectives concerning fairness? If human beings are indeed capable of choosing freely, are their choices made according to the guiding influence of principles, or overshadowed, even determined, by something more powerful? The consideration of three prominent perspectives, the book of Genesis; Immanuel Kant’s Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals; and John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, discloses the need for an adjustment of our common orientation which, while acknowledging a capacity to choose, sees principles as significantly limited and fairness as an intractable practical problem. For while the free-will imperatives of such highly valued ethical perspectives have been significant philosophically; their applied, everyday effect has been, and remains, so uncertain as to require an artifice to moderate the trust they place in human beings to choose well. What sort of artifice could this be? If not an act of the will, what sort of action using what sort of instrument could help us achieve fairness? In order to choose fairly among candidates for a job position in the world in which we actually live, rather than interviewers trying to exclude arbitrary human characteristics by an act of will – an exceptional feat in as much as we are unable to uproot our personal histories – a virtual mediation for the candidate is proposed: Candidates, as viewed virtually by consenting interviewers in real time, are seen to include all possible arbitrary characteristics in streaming passage, effectively obliterating their negative effect and rendering harmless the privacy of interviewers’ hidden bias, personal grudges, and weakness of commitment to principle.


Keywords: Equal Opportunity Employer, Fairness, Principles, Choosing Freely, An Artifice to Moderate Trust, Arbitrary Human Characteristics, An Act of Will, Virtual Mediation, Consenting Interviewers
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Free-will Imperatives


Ian D. MacKinnon

Senior Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, The University of Akron
Akron, Ohio, USA

Teaching philosophy since 1987, before which working in warehouses, factories, and on the railroad. Interested in the relations between the seen, thought, and the real; working to share experience of these relations in the classroom and with the general public.

Ref: D08P0400