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By Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich (1890-1986) Molotov

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Philosophers at least as far back as Mill have argued that when serious errors are likely to result from autonomous moral judgment, or when there is some reason to fear bias, weakness of will, or abuse of power, we need strong rules to limit the power of potential decision makers. Other contexts calling for rules might include those in which there is a special need for consistency or predictability in some set of decisions, or in which there is no time or resources for discovering all information that might be relevant to a fully autonomous decision.

But this will have to be argued, and many philosophers have thought prima facie rules to be the best candidates for moral rules having widespread use. The only use for such rules, however, would be to identify morally relevant properties, a use I have attributed to rules of thumb. That prima facie rules are supposed to pick out properties that are always relevant in the same way, that are never nullified or reversed, and that leave a moral remainder when overridden is not relevant to reasoning about what to do once these properties have been identified.

I have trouble convincing my university administration that giving all faculty the same percentage raise favors the highest paid (and the unproductive), just as taxing persons at the same rate would hurt the poor and taxing all at the same amount would hurt them more. When- 33 ever strong rules prevent treating cases differently by blocking recognition of factors that differentiate among cases like those under consideration, moral consistency may be sacrificed. If moral consistency is not increased by rules that ignore relevant factors, efficiency and predictability nevertheless do increase with the application of strong rules.

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