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  1. Lawrence Alexander (1984). Another Look at Moral Blackmail. Philosophy Research Archives 10:189-196.
    In this paper I describe cases of moral blackmail as cases where A is told by B that if A does not commit an otherwise immoral act, B will commit an immoral act of equal or greater gravity. I describe cases of moral dilemma as cases where A must commit an otherwise immoral act to avert a natural disaster of equal or greater gravity. I then argue that cases of moral blackmail are structurally identical to cases of moral dilemma in (...)
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  2. Carl Baker (2011). Expressivism and Moral Dilemmas: A Response to Marino. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):445-455.
    Simon Blackburn’s expressivist logic of attitudes aims to explain how we can use non-assertoric moral judgements in logically valid arguments. Patricia Marino has recently argued that Blackburn’s logic faces a dilemma: either it cannot account for the place of moral dilemmas in moral reasoning or, if it can, it makes an illicit distinction between two different kinds of moral dilemma. Her target is the logic’s definition of validity as satisfiability, according to which validity requires an avoidance of attitudinal inconsistency. Against (...)
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  3. Adam Cureton (2009). Degrees of Fairness and Proportional Chances. Utilitas 21 (2):217-221.
    Suppose the following: Two groups of people require our aid but we can help only one group; there are more people in the first group than the second group; every person in both groups has an equal claim on our aid; and we have a duty to help and no other special obligations or duties. I argue that there exists at least one fairness function, which is a function that measures the goodness of degrees of fairness, that implies that we (...)
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  4. Tom Dougherty (2013). Aggregation, Beneficence and Chance. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (2):1-19.
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  5. Cécile Fabre (2012). Internecine War Killings. Utilitas 24 (02):214-236.
    In his recent book Killing in War, McMahan develops a powerful argument for the view that soldiers on opposite sides of a conflict are not morally on a par once the war has started: whether they have the right to kill depends on the justness of their war. In line with just war theory in general, McMahan scrutinizes the ethics of killing the enemy. In this article, I accept McMahan's account, but bring it to bear on the entirely neglected, but (...)
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  6. Patricia Greenspan (1995). Practical Guilt: Moral Dilemmas, Emotions, and Social Norms. Oxford University Press.
    In its treatment of the role of emotion in ethics the argument of the book outlines a new way of packing motivational force into moral meaning that allows for a ...
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  7. Matthew Hanser (1999). Killing, Letting Die and Preventing People From Being Saved. Utilitas 11 (03):277-.
    The distinction between killing and letting die is too simple. A third category must also be recognized. Like killing, preventing a person from being saved is a species of doing harm; like killing, it infringes one of the victim's negative rights. Yet preventing a person from being saved is morally on a par with letting die, which infringes one of the victim's positive rights. It follows that we cannot explain the moral inequivalence of killing and letting die by saying, as (...)
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  8. Carol Gibb Harding (ed.) (1985/2010). Moral Dilemmas and Ethical Reasoning. Transaction Publishers.
    This book deals with moral dilemmas and the development of ethical reasoning in two senses.
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  9. D. W. Haslett (2011). Boulders and Trolleys. Utilitas 23 (03):268-287.
    This discussion attempts to show that the elusive solution to the trolley problem lies hidden in the solution to another perennial problem in moral philosophy: the ducking puzzle. The key to solving the ducking puzzle is an important, but overlooked, exception to our obligation not to harm others, an exception for , which, it is argued here, is also the key to solving the trolley problem.
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  10. Bashshar Haydar (2010). The Consequences of Rejecting the Moral Relevance of the Doing–Allowing Distinction. Utilitas 22 (2):222-227.
    The claim that one is never morally permitted to engage in non-optimal harm doing enjoys a great intuitive appeal. If in addition to this claim, we reject the moral relevance of the doingallowing distinction. In this short essay, I propose a different take on the argument in question. Instead of opting to reject its conclusion by defending the moral relevance of the doingallowing distinction, we can no longer rely on the strong intuitive appeal of the claim that one is never (...)
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  11. Daniel Holbrook (1994). Lincoln Allison, Ecology and Utility: The Philosophical Dilemmas of Planetary Management, Leicester University Press, 1991, Pp. 185. Utilitas 6 (01):145-.
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  12. F. M. Kamm (2008). Responses to Commentators on Intricate Ethics. Utilitas 20 (1):111-142.
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  13. F. M. Kamm (1998). Grouping and the Imposition of Loss. Utilitas 10 (3):292-.
    In this article, I critically examine Peter Unger's arguments for the claim that there is a duty to cause physical harm to oneself and others in order to save lives. This includes discussion of his view that when the method of cases involves several rather than merely two options our intuitive judgements support his radical thesis. In conclusion, I consider his attempt to reconcile his claims with common sense moral judgements.
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  14. David Kaspar (2011). Can Morality Do Without Prudence? Philosophia 39 (2):311-326.
    This paper argues that morality depends on prudence, or more specifically, that one cannot be a moral person without being prudent. Ethicists are unaware of this, ignore it, or imply it is wrong. Although this thesis is not obvious from the current perspective of ethics, I believe that its several implications for ethics make it worth examining. In this paper I argue for the prudence dependency thesis by isolating moral practice from all reliance on prudence. The result is that in (...)
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  15. Xiaofei Liu (2012). A Robust Defence of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. Utilitas 24 (01):63-81.
    Philosophers debate over the truth of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the thesis that there is a morally significant difference between doing harm and merely allowing harm to happen. Deontologists tend to accept this doctrine, whereas consequentialists tend to reject it. A robust defence of this doctrine would require a conceptual distinction between doing and allowing that both matches our ordinary use of the concepts in a wide range of cases and enables a justification for the alleged moral difference. (...)
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  16. Domenico Losurdo (2010). Moral Dilemmas and Broken Promises: A Historical-Philosophical Overview of the Nonviolent Movement. Historical Materialism 18 (4):85-134.
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  17. Bryan Lueck (forthcoming). Moral Dilemma and Moral Sense: A Phenomenological Account. Journal of Speculative Philosophy.
    In this paper I argue that a phenomenological account of moral sense-bestowal can provide valuable insight into the possibility of moral dilemmas. I propose an account of moral sense-bestowal that is grounded in the phenomenology of expression that Maurice Merleau-Ponty developed throughout the course of his philosophical work, and most explicitly in the period immediately following the publication of Phenomenology of Perception. Based on this Merleau-Pontian account of moral sense-bestowal, I defend the view that there are genuine moral dilemmas, i.e., (...)
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  18. Terrance McConnell, Moral Dilemmas. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  19. Thaddeus Metz (2001). Review of Heidi Hurd, Moral Combat. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 110 (3):434-436.
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  20. Phillip Montague (2000). Forcing the Choice Between Lives', Journal of Applied Philosophy, Ix (1992). For a Reply© Edinburgh University Press 2000 Utilitas Vol. 12, No. 1, March 2000. [REVIEW] Utilitas 12 (1).
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  21. Sarah Moss (2014). Credal Dilemmas. Noûs 48 (3):n/a-n/a.
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  22. Kuninori Nakamura (2013). A Closer Look at Moral Dilemmas: Latent Dimensions of Morality and the Difference Between Trolley and Footbridge Dilemmas. Thinking and Reasoning 19 (2):178-204.
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  23. Tyler Paytas (2014). Sometimes Psychopaths Get It Right: A Utilitarian Response to 'The Mismeasure of Morals'. Utilitas 26 (2):178-191.
    A well-publicized study entitled (Bartels and Pizarro, 2011) purportedly provides evidence that utilitarian solutions to a particular class of moral dilemmas are endorsed primarily by individuals with psychopathic traits. According to the authors, these findings give researchers reason to refrain from classifying utilitarian judgements as morally optimal. This article is a two-part response to the study. The first part comprises concerns about the methodology used and the adequacy of the data for supporting the authors’ conclusions. The second part seeks to (...)
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  24. Philip L. Quinn (1991). Moral Dilemmas, by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (3):693-697.
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  25. Alex Rajczi (2002). When Can One Requirement Override Another? Philosophical Studies 108 (3):309 - 326.
    I argue that any theory of moral obligation must be able to explain two things: why we cannot be thrust into a moral dilemma through no fault of our own, and why we can get into a moral dilemma through our own negligence. The most intuitive theory of moral obligation cannot do so. However, I offer a theory of moral obligation that satisfies both of these criteria, one that is founded on the principle that if you are required to do (...)
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  26. Luke Robinson (2013). A Dispositional Account of Conflicts of Obligation. Noûs 47 (2):203-228.
    I address a question in moral metaphysics: How are conflicts between moral obligations possible? I begin by explaining why we cannot give a satisfactory answer to this question simply by positing that such conflicts are conflicts between rules, principles, or reasons. I then develop and defend the “Dispositional Account,” which posits that conflicts between moral obligations are conflicts between the manifestations of obligating dispositions (obligating powers, capacities, etc.), just as conflicts between physical forces are conflicts between the manifestations of (certain) (...)
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  27. Julian Savulescu (2007). Future People, Involuntary Medical Treatment in Pregnancy and the Duty of Easy Rescue. Utilitas 19 (1):1-20.
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  28. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1987). Moral Realisms and Moral Dilemmas. Journal of Philosophy 84 (5):263-276.
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  29. Peter Vallentyne (1992). Moral Dilemmas and Comparative Conceptions of Morality. Southern Journal of Philosophy (1):117-124.
    In recent years the problem of moral dilemmas has received the attention of a number of philosophers. Some authors[i] argue that moral dilemmas are not conceptually possible because they are ruled out by certain valid principles of deontic logic. Other authors[ii] insist that moral dilemmas are conceptually possible, and argue that therefore the principles of deontic logic that rule them out must be rejected.
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  30. Peter Vallentyne (1992). Moral Dilemmas and Comparative Conceptions of Morality. Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):117-124.
    Earl Conee is a well known contemporary defender of the impossibility of moral dilemmas. In his 1982 paper "Against Moral Dilemmas" he argued that moral dilemmas are impossible because the existence of such a dilemma would entail that some obligatory action is forbidden, which is absurd. More recently, in "Why Moral Dilemmas are Impossible" he has defended the impossibility of moral dilemmas by claiming that the moral status of an action depends in part on the moral status of its alternatives. (...)
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  31. Peter Vallentyne (1989). Two Types of Moral Dilemmas. Erkenntnis 30 (3):301 - 318.
    In recent years the question of whether moral dilemmas are conceptually possible has received a fair amount of attention. In arguing for or against the conceptual possibility of moral dilemmas authors have been almost exclusively concerned with obligation dilemmas, i.e., situations in which more than one action is obligatory. Almost no one has been concerned with prohibition dilemmas, i.e., situations in which no feasible actions is permissible. I argue that the two types of dilemmas are distinct, and that a much (...)
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  32. Peter Vallentyne (1989). “Two Types of Moral Dilemmas”. Erkenntnis 30 (3):301-318.
    die). In recent years the problem of moral dilemmas has received the attention of a number of philosophers. Some authors1 argue that moral dilemmas are not conceptually possible (i.e., that they are incoherent, given the nature of the concepts involved) because they are ruled out by certain valid principles of deontic logic. Other authors2 insist that moral dilemmas are conceptually possible, and argue that therefore the principles of deontic logic that rule them out must be rejected. In arguing for or (...)
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  33. Alex Voorhoeve (2006). In Search of the Deep Structure of Morality: An Interview with Frances Kamm. Imprints 9 (2):93-117.
    In The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that only a form of philosophising that sprung from a deep commitment to the subject could ever hope for success. ‘All great problems’, he wrote, ‘demand great love’. He continued: It makes the most telling difference whether a thinker has a personal relationship to his problems and finds in them his destiny, his distress and his greatest happiness, or an ‘impersonal’ one, meaning he is only able to touch them with the antennae of (...)
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  34. George W. Watson, Joseph Michlitsch & Thomas Douglas (2007). Patterned Moral Behavior. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 18:87-92.
    We posit that the weight a person assigns a moral principle is not stable between ideal, or un-contextual assessments and the weight the same moral principle is allocated when applied in a contextual dilemma. Second, we postulate that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior or judgment. Results indicate that the importance of moral principles is dynamic and that patterned moral behavior is a significant predictor of moral judgments.
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  35. Reginald Williams (2008). Abortion, Potential, and Value. Utilitas 20 (2):169-186.
    This article challenges an important argument in the abortion debate, according to which at least early abortions are acceptable because they do not terminate the actual existence of something of moral significance (i.e., a ), but rather prevent a potentially significant entity from becoming actual, which happens whenever one uses contraceptives. This article argues that insofar as we see something as morally significant or valuable, we tend to think it wrong to deliberately terminate its actual existence and to deliberately prevent (...)
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  36. Nick Zangwill (1999). Dilemmas and Moral Realism. Utilitas 11 (01):71-.
    I distinguish two different arguments against cognitivism in Bernard Williams’ writings on moral dilemmas. The first turns on there being a truth of the matter about what we ought to do in moral a dilemma. That argument can be met by appealing to our epistemic shortcomings and to pro tanto obligations. However, those responses make no headway with the second argument which concerns the rationality of the moral regret that we feel in dilemma situations. I show how the rationality of (...)
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The Trolley Problem
  1. Michael J. Costa (1986). The Trolley Problem Revisited. Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (4):437-449.
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  2. Ezio Di Nucci (forthcoming). Eight Arguments Against Double Effect. In Proceedings of the XXIII. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Philosophie.
    I offer eight arguments against the Doctrine of Double Effect, a normative principle according to which in pursuing the good it is sometimes morally permissible to bring about some evil as a side-effect or merely foreseen consequence: the same evil would not be morally justified as an intended means or end.
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  3. Ezio Di Nucci (forthcoming). Trolleys and Double Effect in Experimental Ethics. In Christoph Luetge, Hannes Rusch & Matthias Uhl (eds.), Experimental Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan.
    I analyse the relationship between the Doctrine of Double Effect and the Trolley Problem: the former offers a solution for the latter only on the premise that killing the one in Bystander at the Switch is permissible. Here I offer both empirical and theoretical arguments against the permissibility of killing the one: firstly, I present data from my own empirical studies according to which the intuition that killing the one is permissible is neither widespread nor stable; secondly, I defend a (...)
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  4. Ezio Di Nucci (2014). Ethics Without Intention. Bloomsbury.
    Ethics Without Intention tackles the questions raised by difficult moral dilemmas by providing a critical analysis of double effect and its most common ethical and political applications. The book discusses the philosophical distinction between intended harm and foreseen but unintended harm. This distinction, which, according to the doctrine of double effect, makes a difference to the moral justification of actions, is widely applied to some of the most controversial ethical and political questions of our time: collateral damages in wars and (...)
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  5. Ezio Di Nucci (2012). Self-Sacrifice and the Trolley Problem. Philosophical Psychology 26 (5):662-672.
    Judith Jarvis Thomson has recently proposed a new argument for the thesis that killing the one in the Trolley Problem is not permissible. Her argument relies on the introduction of a new scenario, in which the bystander may also sacrifice herself to save the five. Thomson argues that those not willing to sacrifice themselves if they could may not kill the one to save the five. Bryce Huebner and Marc Hauser have recently put Thomson's argument to empirical test by asking (...)
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  6. John M. Fischer & Mark Ravizza (1992). Thomson and the Trolley. Journal of Social Philosophy 23 (3):64-87.
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  7. Philippa Foot (1967). The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect. Oxford Review 5:5-15.
    One of the reasons why most of us feel puzzled about the problem of abortion is that we want, and do not want, to allow to the unborn child the rights that belong to adults and children. When we think of a baby about to be born it seems absurd to think that the next few minutes or even hours could make so radical a difference to its status; yet as we go back in the life of the fetus we (...)
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  8. Michael Gorr (1990). Thomson and the Trolley Problem. Philosophical Studies 59 (1):91 - 100.
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  9. Adam Kolber (2009). The Organ Conscription Trolley Problem. American Journal of Bioethics 9 (8):13-14.
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  10. Alessandro Lanteri, Chiara Chelini & Salvatore Rizzello (2008). An Experimental Investigation of Emotions and Reasoning in the Trolley Problem. Journal of Business Ethics 83 (4):789 - 804.
    Elaborating on the notions that humans possess different modalities of decision-making and that these are often influenced by moral considerations, we conducted an experimental investigation of the Trolley Problem. We presented the participants with two standard scenarios (‹lever’ and ‹stranger’) either in the usual or in reversed order. We observe that responses to the lever scenario, which result from (moral) reasoning, are affected by our manipulation; whereas responses to the stranger scenario, triggered by moral emotions, are unaffected. Furthermore, when asked (...)
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  11. S. Matthew Liao, Alex Wiegmann, Joshua Alexander & Gerard Vong (2012). Putting the Trolley in Order: Experimental Philosophy and the Loop Case. Philosophical Psychology 25 (5):661-671.
    In recent years, a number of philosophers have conducted empirical studies that survey people's intuitions about various subject matters in philosophy. Some have found that intuitions vary accordingly to seemingly irrelevant facts: facts about who is considering the hypothetical case, the presence or absence of certain kinds of content, or the context in which the hypothetical case is being considered. Our research applies this experimental philosophical methodology to Judith Jarvis Thomson's famous Loop Case, which she used to call into question (...)
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  12. Margery Bedford Naylor (1988). The Moral of the Trolley Problem. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 48 (4):711-722.
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  13. Michael Otsuka (2008). Double Effect, Triple Effect and the Trolley Problem: Squaring the Circle in Looping Cases. Utilitas 20 (1):92-110.
    In the Trolley Case (Figure 1), as devised by Philippa Foot and modified by Judith Jarvis Thomson, a runaway trolley (i.e. tram) is headed down a main track and will hit and kill five unless you divert it onto a side track, where it will hit and kill one.
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  14. Guido Pincione (2007). The Trolley Problem as a Problem for Libertarians. Utilitas 19 (4):407-429.
    Many political libertarians argue, or assume, that negative moral duties (duties not to harm others) prevail over positive moral duties (duties to aid others), and that the legal system ought to reflect such pre-eminence. I call into question this strategy for defending a libertarian order. I start by arguing that a successful account of the well-known case of a runaway trolley that is about to kill five innocents unless a passer-by diverts it onto one innocent, killing him, should point to (...)
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