Hello, all. I just joined this site specifically to respond to this question. The original question was, "Is it fair for Ann to expect this of Fred?
I say, "fair" is a concept that almost never has an objective meaning. "Equal" can be defined as sharply as you're able to measure, but not "fair." "Fair" can only be defined when two or more people are in exactly equal circumstances (including their needs and wants), or when a decision process can be employed that will leave all parties satisfied. The classic "I cut, you choose" is a simple example of this.
Let me establish by example some of the obstacles to defining fairness in general cases.
- You and I share an apartment. We make exactly the same money and pay half the rent each, and we have divided the chores up perfectly. (And we are equally able to do them.) I decide I want cats. Five cats. I bring in five cats. To be fair, I make it clear to you that you're also entitled to bring in five cats.
- You and I co-own a car. Again, we make equal contributions to the upkeep of the car, and we use it as equally as can be. I learn of someone else's car that was vandalized on the south side of town. I declare that you must not drive our car to the south side. To be fair, I am not going to drive it to the south side either.
Is it fair for Fred to declare that his and Ann's common asset will be used in a new way, if he grants Ann the right to use it the same way?
Is it fair for Ann to declare that Fred shall not use it in a certain way, if she agrees to also not use it in that way?
Neither one is intrinsically fair.
Maybe Ann and Fred can come up with a fair *process* to arrive at a decision, but when there's just a single binary choice to be made, it's hard to imagine. Some creativity will be needed.