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Normative Ethics

Edited by Jussi Suikkanen (University of Birmingham)
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  1. added 2014-07-29
    Holly Lawford-Smith, Difference-Making and Individuals' Climate-Related Obligations (Extended Version).
    Climate change is a global-scale fisheries problem: it looks like nothing any individual does on a single occasion to lower her personal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions―such as to choose a vegan rather than a carnivorous meal, or to ride a bike to work rather than drive a car, or to take a reusable bag to the supermarket rather than send a plastic bag to landfill―will make a difference to whether the (best predictions of the) avoidable effects of climate change will (...)
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  2. added 2014-07-28
    Friderik Klampfer (2009). Should We Consult Kant When Assessing Agent's Moral Responsibility for Harm. Balkan Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):131-156.
    The paper focuses on the conditions under which an agent can be justifiably held responsible or liable for the harmful consequences of his or her actions. Kant has famously argued that as long as the agent fulfills his or her moral duty, he or she cannot be blamed for any potential harm that might result from his or her action, no matter how foreseeable these may (have) be(en). I call this the Duty-Absolves-Thesis or DA. I begin by stating the thesis (...)
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  3. added 2014-07-23
    Tyler Doggett, What Would Taurek Do?
    A very short, exegetical paper about Taurek's "Should the Numbers Count?," arguing against the view that Taurek requires giving chances.
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  4. added 2014-07-23
    Susann Wagenknecht (2014). Collaboration in Scientific Practice—-A Social Epistemology of Research Groups. Dissertation, Aarhus University
    This monograph investigates the collaborative creation of scientific knowledge in research groups. To do so, I combine philosophical analysis with a first-hand comparative case study of two research groups in experimental science. Qualitative data are gained through observation and interviews, and I combine empirical insights with existing approaches to knowledge creation in philosophy of science and social epistemology. -/- On the basis of my empirically-grounded analysis I make several conceptual contributions. I study scientific collaboration as the interaction of scientists within (...)
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  5. added 2014-07-23
    Susann Wagenknecht (2014). Four Asymmetries Between Moral and Epistemic Trustworthiness. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3 (6):82-86.
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  6. added 2014-07-23
    Adam Morton (2010). Imagining Evil. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 5 (1):26-33.
    It is in a way easier to imagine evil actions than we often suppose, but what it is thus relatively easy to do is not what we want to understand about evil. To argue for this conclusion I distinguish between imagining why someone did something and imagining how they could have done it, and I try to grasp partial understanding, in part by distinguishing different imaginative perspectives we can have on an act. When we do this we see an often (...)
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  7. added 2014-07-23
    Christine Tappolet (2010). Introduction: Les vertus de l’imagination. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 5 (1):23-25.
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  8. added 2014-07-21
    Michael Bergmann & Patrick Kain (eds.) (2014). Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution. Oxford University Press.
    Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief contains fourteen original essays by philosophers, theologians, and social scientists on challenges to moral and religious belief from disagreement and evolution. Three main questions are addressed: Can one reasonably maintain one's moral and religious beliefs in the face of interpersonal disagreement with intellectual peers? Does disagreement about morality between a religious belief source, such as a sacred text, and a non-religious belief source, such as a society's moral intuitions, make it irrational to continue trusting (...)
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  9. added 2014-07-21
    Katia Vavova (2014). Debunking Evolutionary Debunking. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9:76-101.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments start with a premise about the influence of evolutionary forces on our evaluative beliefs, and conclude that we are not justified in those beliefs. The value realist holds that there are attitude-independent evaluative truths. But the debunker argues that we have no reason to think that the evolutionary forces that shaped human evaluative attitudes would track those truths. Worse yet, we seem to have a good reason to think that they wouldn’t: evolution selects for characteristics that increase (...)
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  10. added 2014-07-21
    Jonathan Goodman (2014). Altruism and the Golden Rule. Zygon 49 (2):381-395.
    This essay addresses recent claims about the compatibility of the sociobiological theory of reciprocal altruism with standard Western formulations of the Golden Rule. Derek Parfit claims that the theory of reciprocal altruism teaches us to be “reciprocal altruists,” who benefit only those people from whom we can reasonably expect benefits in the future. The Golden Rule, on the other hand, teaches us to benefit anyone regardless of their intention or ability to return the favor, or as Parfit puts it, the (...)
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  11. added 2014-07-21
    Michael Bergmann & Patrick Kain (2014). Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Overview and Future Directions. In Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution.
  12. added 2014-07-21
    Katinka Quintelier, Is It Time for a Relativist Turn in Ethics II.
    Recent developments in moral psychology and in evolutionary theories of moral behavior focus on individual and group differences in morality. Moral intuitions may differ depending on sex, age, ecology and evolutionary strategy of the individual. Within the individual, different and mutually incompatible moral intuitions are triggered depending on specific aspects of the situation (see, e.g., Haidt, 2007; Greene et al., 2004). Thus there exist interindividual and intraindividual differences in moral intuitions. This diversity of our moral intuitions has led naturalistic and (...)
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  13. added 2014-07-20
    Matthew Rendall (forthcoming). Carbon Leakage and the Argument From No Difference. Environmental Values.
    Critics of carbon mitigation often appeal to what Jonathan Glover has called ‘the argument from no difference’: that is, ‘If I don’t do it, someone else will’. Yet even if this justifies continued high emissions by the industrialised countries, it cannot excuse business as usual. The North’s emissions might not harm the victims of climate change in the sense of making them worse off than they would otherwise be. Nevertheless, it receives benefits produced at the latter’s expense, with the result (...)
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  14. added 2014-07-18
    Danny Frederick, Ethical Intuitionism: A Structural Critique.
    I present a structural critique of ethical intuitionism. Ethical intuitionists regard moral knowledge as deriving from moral intuition, moral observation, moral emotion and inference. However, moral intuitions, observations and emotions are cultural artefacts which often differ starkly between cultures. Intuitionists attribute uncongenial moral intuitions, observations or emotions to bias or to intellectual or moral failings; but that leads to sectarian mutual recrimination. Intuitionists try to avoid this by restricting epistemically genuine intuitions, observations or emotions to those which are widely agreed. (...)
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  15. added 2014-07-18
    George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas & Joshua Knobe (2014). Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment. Cognitive Science 38 (5):n/a-n/a.
    Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about (a) what a person values, (b) whether a person is happy, (c) whether a person has shown weakness of will, and (d) whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true (...)
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  16. added 2014-07-15
    Catharine Saint Croix & Richmond Thomason (2014). Chisholm's Paradox and Conditional Oughts. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8554:192-207.
    Since it was presented in 1963, Chisholm’s paradox has attracted constant attention in the deontic logic literature, but without the emergence of any definitive solution. We claim this is due to its having no single solution. The paradox actually presents many challenges to the formalization of deontic statements, including (1) context sensitivity of unconditional oughts, (2) formalizing conditional oughts, and (3) distinguishing generic from nongeneric oughts. Using the practical interpretation of ‘ought’ as a guideline, we propose a linguistically motivated logical (...)
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  17. added 2014-07-15
    Luc Faucher (2012). Tirer la responsabilité au clair : le cas des attitudes implicites et le révisionnisme. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 7 (1):179-212.
    Dans cet article, je considère l’influence possible des recherches récentes sur les attitudes en psychologie sociale, principalement dans le paradigme des théories des processus duaux [dual process theories], sur notre compréhension de la responsabilité. La thèse que je soutiens est que certaines révisions à notre façon de comprendre la responsabilité et nos pratiques d’attribution de la responsabilité pourraient être justifiées par ces travaux. Avant de présenter les révisions que j’introduis, je décris les grandes lignes du paradigme que j’utiliserai, soit celui (...)
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  18. added 2014-07-14
    Kai Spiekermann (forthcoming). Small Impacts and Imperceptible Effects: Causing Harm With Others. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 28.
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  19. added 2014-07-14
    Mauro Rossi (2012). Normativity and Normative Psychology: Introduction. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 7 (1):141-145.
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  20. added 2014-07-14
    Gary Watson (2012). La responsabilité et les limites du mal. Variations sur un thème de Strawson. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 7 (1):146-178.
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  21. added 2014-07-14
    Gary Watson (2012). La responsabilité et les limites du mal. Variations sur un thème de Strawson. Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 7 (1):146-178.
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  22. added 2014-07-10
    Inmaculada de Melo-Martin & Arleen Salles (forthcoming). Moral Bioenhancement: Much Ado About Nothing? Bioethics.
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  23. added 2014-07-10
    Inmaculada de Melo-Martin (2014). The Ethics of Anonymous Gamete Donation: Is There a Right to Know One's Genetic Origins? Hastings Center Report 44 (2).
    A growing number of jurisdictions hold that gamete donors must be identifiable to the children born with their eggs or sperm, on grounds that being able to know about one's genetic origins is a fundamental moral right. But the argument for that belief has not yet been adequately made.
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  24. added 2014-07-09
    Douglas W. Portmore (forthcoming). Review of Martin Peterson's The Dimensions of Consequentialism. [REVIEW] Journal of Moral Philosophy.
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  25. added 2014-07-09
    Brandon Warmke (forthcoming). The Economic Model of Forgiveness. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    It is sometimes claimed that forgiveness involves the cancellation of a moral debt. This way of speaking about forgiveness exploits an analogy between moral forgiveness and economic debt-cancellation. Call the view that moral forgiveness is like economic debt-cancellation the Economic Model of Forgiveness. In this paper I articulate and motivate the model, defend it against some recent objections, and pose a new puzzle for this way of thinking about forgiveness.
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  26. added 2014-07-09
    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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  27. added 2014-07-07
    Michael Slote (forthcoming). Reply To: Roberts. Philosophia:1-3.
    In his critique of my views on supererogation, Rodney Roberts (Philosophia, 2014) claims that I treat care ethics as having a more general moral validity than other care ethicists do. He also claims that the kind of sentimentalism I espouse doesn’t sufficiently emphasize sentiment and then goes on to question what I say about supererogation. But in fact other care ethicists also think care ethics can cover the whole of morality, and my sentimentalism emphasizes sentiment just as much and as (...)
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  28. added 2014-07-04
    Sven Nyholm (forthcoming). Ingmar Persson, From Morality to the End of Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) Pp. 336. [REVIEW] Utilitas 2014.
    Persson argues that common sense morality involves various “asymmetries” that don’t stand up to rational scrutiny. (One example is that intentionally harming others is commonly thought to be worse than merely allowing harm to happen, even if the harm involved is equal in both cases.) A wholly rational morality would, Persson argues, be wholly symmetrical. He also argues, however, that when we get down to our most basic attitudes and dispositions, we reach the “end of reason,” at which point we (...)
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  29. added 2014-07-03
    Benjamin Bagley (forthcoming). Loving Someone in Particular. Ethics.
    People loved for their beauty and cheerfulness are not loved as irreplaceable, yet people loved for “what their souls are made of” are. Or so literary romance implies; leading philosophical accounts, however, deny the distinction, holding that reasons for love either do not exist or do not include the beloved’s distinguishing features. In this, I argue, they deny an essential species of love. To account for it while preserving the beloved’s irreplaceability, I defend a model of agency on which people (...)
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  30. added 2014-07-03
    Karen Frost‐Arnold (2014). Imposters, Tricksters, and Trustworthiness as an Epistemic Virtue. Hypatia 29 (3).
    This paper argues that trustworthiness is an epistemic virtue that promotes objectivity. I show that untrustworthy imposture can be an arrogant act of privilege that silences marginalized voices. But, as epistemologists of ignorance have shown, sometimes trickery and the betrayal of epistemic norms are important resistance strategies. This raises the question: when is betrayal of trust epistemically virtuous? After establishing that trust is central to objectivity, I argue for the following answer: a betrayal is epistemically vicious when it strengthens or (...)
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  31. added 2014-07-02
    Alex Voorhoeve (forthcoming). Why Sore Throats Don't Aggregate, but Arms Do. Journal of Medical Ethics.
    When do claims to be saved of a small or moderate harm aggregate against a competing claim to be saved from an early death? In this short response to Kamm's Bioethical Prescriptions, I argue for the following answer: aggregation of weaker claims against a life is permitted just in case, in a one-to-one contest, a person with a weaker claim would have a personal prerogative to prioritize her claim over a stranger’s competing claim to life.
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  32. added 2014-07-02
    Joshua May (forthcoming). Moral Judgment and Deontology: Empirical Developments. Philosophy Compass.
    A traditional idea has it that moral judgment involves more than calculating the consequences of actions; it also requires an assessment of the agent’s intentions, the act’s nature, and whether the agent uses another person as a means to her ends. I survey experimental developments suggesting that ordinary people often tacitly reason in terms of such deontological rules. It’s now unclear whether we should posit a traditional form of the Doctrine of Double Effect. However, further research suggests that a range (...)
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  33. added 2014-06-29
    David Forman (forthcoming). Kant’s Moderate Cynicism and the Harmony Between Virtue and Worldly Happiness. Journal of the History of Philosophy.
    For Kant, any authentic moral demands are wholly distinct from the demands of prudence. This has led critics to complain that Kantian moral demands are incompatible with our human nature as happiness-seekers. Kant’s defenders have pointed out, correctly, that Kant can and does assert that it is permissible, at least in principle, to pursue our own happiness. But this response does not eliminate the worry that a life organized around the pursuit of virtue might turn out to be one from (...)
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  34. added 2014-06-28
    B. Goss & R. Vitz (forthcoming). Natural Law Among Moral Strangers. Christian Bioethics.
    Our goal in this paper is two-fold. First, we aim to clarify two ways in which contemporary Christian bioethicists have erred, on Engelhardt’s account, in their attempts to do bioethics within a distinctively non- Christian idiom, namely, either (1) by rejecting a principal metaethical thesis or (2) by misrepresenting a principal moral-epistemological thesis of natural-law ethics, properly construed. Second, we intend to show not only that Engelhardt can and should endorse the Christian bioethicists’ use of non-Christian moral idioms in the (...)
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  35. added 2014-06-27
    Simon Fitzpatrick (forthcoming). Distinguishing Between Three Versions of the Doctrine of Double Effect Hypothesis in Moral Psychology. Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-21.
    Based on the results of empirical studies of folk moral judgment, several researchers have claimed that something like the famous Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) may be a fundamental, albeit unconscious, component of human moral psychology. Proponents of this psychological DDE hypothesis have, however, said surprisingly little about how the distinction at the heart of standard formulations of the principle—the distinction between intended and merely foreseen consequences—might be cognised when we make moral judgments about people’s actions. I first highlight the (...)
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  36. added 2014-06-26
    Danny Frederick, Why It is Ethical to Eat Meat.
    One-page summary of the case for why it is not wrong to eat meat.
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  37. added 2014-06-26
    Christian Barry & Gerhard Øverland (forthcoming). The Implications of Failing to Assist. Social Theory and Practice 40 (4).
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  38. added 2014-06-25
    Anne Schwenkenbecher (forthcoming). Joint Moral Duties. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38.
    There are countless circumstances under which random individuals could act together to prevent something morally bad from happening or to remedy a morally bad situation. But when ought individuals to act together in order to bring about a morally important outcome? This paper seeks to answer that question. Building on Philip Pettit’s and David Schweikard’s account of joint action, I will put forward the notion of joint duties: duties to perform an action together that individuals in so-called random or unstructured (...)
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  39. added 2014-06-25
    Jussi Suikkanen (2014). Contractualism and Climate Change. In Marcello Di Paola & Gianfranco Pellegrino (eds.), Canned Heat: Ethics and Politics of Climate Change. Routledge. 115-128.
    Climate change is ‘a complex problem raising issues across and between a large number of disciplines, including physical and life sciences, political science, economics, and psychology, to name just a few’ (Gardiner 2006: 397). It is also a moral problem. Therefore, in this chapter, I will consider what kind of a contribution an ethical theory called ‘contractualism’ can make to the climate change debates. This chapter first introduces contractualism. It then describes a simple climate change scenario. The third section explains (...)
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  40. added 2014-06-23
    Louis Vervoort, Environmental Human Rights : Urgency for a Concrete Formulation.
    In the present article, I will evaluate the utility of environmental human rights in the light of the global climate conditions prevailing in the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. Human rights and their tools have proven useful on many occasions. Here I will promote the idea that the ecological situation we are facing now is so urgent that we should exploit their potential to the fullest. To that end, I will argue, there is a clear need (...)
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  41. added 2014-06-23
    Amir Saemi (forthcoming). The Guise of the Good and the Problem of Over-Intellectualism. Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (2):1-13.
    Abstract – I will argue that Raz’s defense of the doctrine of the guise of the good rests on a over-intellectualized account of action. Raz holds that attributing evaluative beliefs to agents is justified on explanatory grounds. I argue that this account fails to do justice to the first-personal character of action explanation. Moreover, I will argue that Raz’s account of action has its root in his restrictive and over-intellectualized understanding of normative explanation. I will suggest that we can have (...)
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  42. added 2014-06-23
    Robert Shaver (forthcoming). Ross on Self and Others. Utilitas:1-18.
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  43. added 2014-06-23
    Jussi Suikkanen (forthcoming). Consequentialist Options. Utilitas.
    According to traditional forms of act-consequentialism, an action is right if and only if no other action in the given circumstances would have better consequences. It has been argued that this view does not leave us enough freedom to choose between actions which we intuitively think are morally permissible but not required options. In the first half of this article, I will explain why the previous consequentialist responses to this objection are less than satisfactory. I will then attempt to show (...)
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  44. added 2014-06-23
    Jussi Suikkanen (2014). This is Ethics: An Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell.
    What makes you happy? Should you always do what is best for you, or what is best for everyone? What is the meaning of life – and how are we supposed to think about it? Should sacrifices be made to help future generations? This Is Ethics presents an accessible and engaging introduction to a variety of issues relating to contemporary moral philosophy. It reveals the intimate connection between timeless philosophical problems about right and wrong and offers timely and thought-provoking insights (...)
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  45. added 2014-06-23
    Thomas Hurka (2014). Sidgwick on Consequentialism and Deontology: A Critique. Utilitas 26 (2):129-152.
    In The Methods of Ethics Henry Sidgwick argued against deontology and for consequentialism. More specifically, he stated four conditions for self-evident moral truth and argued that, whereas no deontological principles satisfy all four conditions, the principles that generate consequentialism do. This article argues that both his critique of deontology and his defence of consequentialism fail, largely for the same reason: that he did not clearly grasp the concept W. D. Ross later introduced of a prima facie duty or duty other (...)
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  46. added 2014-06-23
    Hortense Geninet (2014). David Phillips, Sidgwickian Ethics (Oxford: University Press, 2011), Pp. Xii + 163. Utilitas 26 (2):226-229.
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  47. added 2014-06-23
    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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  48. added 2014-06-23
    Joshua Gert (2014). Perform a Justified Option. Utilitas 26 (2):206-217.
    In a number of recent publications, Douglas Portmore has defended consequentialism, largely on the basis of a maximizing view of practical rationality. I have criticized such maximizing views, arguing that we need to distinguish two independent dimensions of normative strength: justifying strength and requiring strength. I have also argued that this distinction helps to explain why we typically have so many rational options. Engaging with these arguments, Portmore has (a) developed his own novel maximization-friendly method of explaining the ubiquity of (...)
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  49. added 2014-06-23
    Richard Yetter Chappell (2014). The Limits of Kindness. By Caspar Hare. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201403.
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  50. added 2014-06-18
    Hanno Sauer (forthcoming). It's the Knobe Effect, Stupid! Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-19.
    People asymmetrically attribute various agential features such as intentionality, knowledge, or causal impact to other agents when something of normative significance is at stake. I will argue that three questions are of primary interest in the debate about this effect. A methodological question about how to explain it at all; a substantive question about how to explain it correctly: and a normative question about whether to explain it in terms of an error or a legitimate judgmental pattern. The problem, I (...)
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