Should Life Be Fair?


You have to treat people fairly.

Q1 Analysis

This is not a Q1 violation so long as "fair" is carefully defined.

Q2 Analysis

This is not a Q2 violation if you would want others to treat you fairly and your definition of "fair" is acceptable to others.


We’ve all heard phrases relating to fairness — "life is not fair," "play fair," "fair trade," "all’s fair in love and war," etc. — and many of us had parents who encouraged us to believe that we must try to be fair in our dealings with others. But before you can decide to treat people fairly, you must decide what it means to be fair.

In this context, "fair" might mean that:

You may prefer one of these definitions, you may prefer another definition, or you may hold that different definitions of "fair" apply in different circumstances.

But if something is unfair, is it also immoral? Certainly things which are out of human control can be unfair without being immoral. In a sense, it’s unfair if it rains on your birthday but not on your sisters’, but nobody is to blame.

Consider the following. Which of these situations (if any) are fair? Are any of them fair but immoral? Or unfair but moral?

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on May 14, 2010 at 10:10 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

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