Ethics@Noon: Tom Parr

Ethics at Noon

On Private Discrimination

On what basis, if any, may owners of small businesses discriminate against customers or their requests? In particular, should these vendors enjoy a right to refuse to manifest beliefs that they do not hold? And, if so, what are the contours of this right? On the one hand, there are those who deny that private discrimination of this kind is ever permissible; on the other hand, there are those who maintain that it is always permissible. Perhaps predictably, my view occupies a position in between these two extremes: small vendors should enjoy a prerogative to discriminate against customers and their requests, but this prerogative is restricted. My defence of this claim comes in two parts. First, I explain why owners of small businesses should enjoy such a prerogative to discriminate. Second, I set out three ways in which we should restrict the prerogative. ‘On Private Discrimination’: On what basis, if any, may owners of small businesses discriminate against customers or their requests? In particular, should these vendors enjoy a right to refuse to manifest beliefs that they do not hold? And, if so, what are the contours of this right? On the one hand, there are those who deny that private discrimination of this kind is ever permissible; on the other hand, there are those who maintain that it is always permissible. Perhaps predictably, my view occupies a position in between these two extremes: small vendors should enjoy a prerogative to discriminate against customers and their requests, but this prerogative is restricted. My defence of this claim comes in two parts. First, I explain why owners of small businesses should enjoy such a prerogative to discriminate. Second, I set out three ways in which we should restrict the prerogative.

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Tom Parr
University of Essex
Department of Government

Wed, Mar 13, 2019
12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin