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  1. Mathieu Doucet (2013). Playing Dice with Morality: Weighted Lotteries and the Number Problem. Utilitas 25 (2):161-181.
    In this article I criticize the non-consequentialist Weighted Lottery (WL) solution to the choice between saving a smaller or a larger group of people. WL aims to avoid what non-consequentialists see as consequentialism's unfair aggregation by giving equal consideration to each individual's claim to be rescued. In so doing, I argue, WL runs into another common objection to consequentialism: it is excessively demanding. WL links the right action with the outcome of a fairly weighted lottery, which means that an agent (...)
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  2. Enoch & David (2008). Deontology, Individualism, and Uncertainty, a Reply to Jackson and Smith. Journal of Philosophy 105 (5).
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  3. Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (1999). In What Way Are Constraints Paradoxical? Utilitas 11 (01):49-.
    It is impermissible to violate a constraint, even if by doing so a greater number of violations of the very same constraint were to be prevented. Most find this puzzling. But what makes the impermissibility of such minimizing violations puzzling? This article discusses some recent answers (by Scheffier, Kamm and Nagel) to this question. The article's first aim is to make clear in what way these answers differ. The second aim is to evaluate the answers, along with Kamm's and Nagel's (...)
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  4. Kasper Lippert-rasmussen (1996). Moral Status and the Impermissibility of Minimizing Violations. Philosophy and Public Affairs 25 (4):333–351.
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  5. Lydia L. Moland (2008). Commitments of a Divided Self: Authenticity, Autonomy and Change in Korsgaard's Ethics. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4 (1):25-44.
    Christine Korsgaard attempts to reinterpret Kantian ethics in a way that might alleviate Bernard Williams’ famous worry that a man cannot save his drowning wife without determining impartially that he may do so. She does this by dividing a reflective self that chooses the commitments that make up an agent’s practical identity from a self defined as a jumble of desires. An agent, she then argues, must act on the commitments chosen by the reflective self on pain of disintegration. Using (...)
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  6. Lydia L. Moland (2003). The Importance of Being Committed. Southwest Philosophy Review 19 (1):215-220.
    A subject’s ethical agency is closely tied up with her particular commitments: her ethnic group, her family, her beliefs, her occupation. The question of how these specific commitments relate to the subject’s actions is therefore pivotal to describing moral agency. Christine Korsgaard has proposed a theory whereby a subject’s commitments are an essential part of her moral agency, namely her practical identity. According to this theory, having commitments is normative, a necessary component of an agent’s respect for her own humanity. (...)
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  7. Alastair Norcross (2008). Off Her Trolley? Frances Kamm and the Metaphysics of Morality. Utilitas 20 (1):65-80.
    Frances Kamm's aptly titled Intricate Ethics is a tour de force of what Peter Unger calls the ‘preservationist’ approach to ethical theory. Here is some of what she says about her methodology: Consider as many case-based judgments of yours as prove necessary. Do not ignore some case-based judgments, assuming they are errors, just because they conflict with simple or intuitively plausible principles that account for some subset of your case-based judgments. Work on the assumption that a different principle can account (...)
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Paradox of Deontological Constraints
  1. Ulrike Heuer (2011). The Paradox of Deontology, Revisited. In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics. Oxford University Press
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  2. Michael Huemer (2010). Lexical Priority and the Problem of Risk. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3):332-351.
    Some theories of practical reasons incorporate a lexical priority structure, according to which some practical reasons have infinitely greater weight than others. This includes absolute deontological theories and axiological theories that take some goods to be categorically superior to others. These theories face problems involving cases in which there is a non-extreme probability that a given reason applies. In view of such cases, lexical-priority theories are in danger of becoming irrelevant to decision-making, becoming absurdly demanding, or generating paradoxical cases in (...)
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  3. Howard Nye, David Plunkett & John Ku (2015). Non-Consequentialism Demystified. Philosophers' Imprint 15 (4).
    Morality seems important, in the sense that there are practical reasons — at least for most of us, most of the time — to be moral. A central theoretical motivation for consequentialism is that it appears clear that there are practical reasons to promote good outcomes, but mysterious why we should care about non-consequentialist moral considerations or how they could be genuine reasons to act. In this paper we argue that this theoretical motivation is mistaken, and that because many arguments (...)
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  4. Michael Otsuka (2011). Are Deontological Constraints Irrational? In Ralf Bader & John Meadowcroft (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Nozick. Cambridge University Press
    Most deontologists find bedrock in the Pauline doctrine that it is morally objectionable to do evil in order that good will come of it. Uncontroversially, this doctrine condemns the killing of an innocent person simply in order to maximize the sum total of happiness. It rules out the conscription of a worker to his or her certain death in order to repair a fault that is interfering with the live broadcast of a World Cup match that a billion spectators have (...)
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  5. Philip Pettit (1997). The Consequentialist Perspective. In M. Baron, P. Pettit & M. Slote (eds.), Three Methods of Ethics. Blackwell
  6. Douglas W. Portmore (1998). Can Consequentialism Be Reconciled with Our Common-Sense Moral Intuitions? Philosophical Studies 91 (1):1-19.
    Consequentialism is usually thought to be unable to accommodate many of our commonsense moral intuitions. In particular, it has seemed incompatible with the intuition that agents should not violate someone's rights even in order to prevent numerous others from committing comparable rights violations. Nevertheless, I argue that a certain form of consequentialism can accommodate this intuition: agent-relative consequentialism--the view according to which agents ought always to bring about what is, from their own individual perspective, the best available outcome. Moreover, I (...)
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  7. 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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  8. Simon Wigley (2012). Justicized Consequentialism: Prioritizing the Right or the Good? [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 46 (4):467-479.
    A standard criticism of act-utilitarianism is that it is only indirectly concerned with the distribution of welfare between individuals and, therefore, does not take adequate account of the separateness between individuals. In response a number of philosophers have argued that act-utilitarianism is only vulnerable to that objection because it adheres to a theory of the good which ignores non-welfarist sources of intrinsic value such as justice. Fred Feldman, for example, argues that intrinsic value is independently generated by the receipt of (...)
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Objections to Deontological Moral Theories, Misc
  1. Vuko Andrić (2010). David Gauthiers kontraktualistische Moralbegründung. Aufklärung Und Kritik 33:80-104.
    Dies ist eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit David Gauthiers kontraktualistischer Moralbegründung.
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  2. Vuko Andrić (2010). Eine Kritik an Norbert Hoersters Theorie der Normenvertretung. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 64 (1):62-83.
    Dieser Aufsatz setzt sich kritisch mit Norbert Hoersters Moralbegründung auseinander. Laut Hoerster ist es für fast jede Person rational, bestimmte Moralnormen zu vertreten. Ich versuche zu zeigen, dass Hoerster für dieses Ergebnis nicht überzeugend argumentiert.
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  3. Joshua D. Greene (2014). Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics. Ethics 124 (4):695-726.
    In this article I explain why cognitive science (including some neuroscience) matters for normative ethics. First, I describe the dual-process theory of moral judgment and briefly summarize the evidence supporting it. Next I describe related experimental research examining influences on intuitive moral judgment. I then describe two ways in which research along these lines can have implications for ethics. I argue that a deeper understanding of moral psychology favors certain forms of consequentialism over other classes of normative moral theory. I (...)
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  4. Michael Huemer (2010). Lexical Priority and the Problem of Risk. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3):332-351.
    Some theories of practical reasons incorporate a lexical priority structure, according to which some practical reasons have infinitely greater weight than others. This includes absolute deontological theories and axiological theories that take some goods to be categorically superior to others. These theories face problems involving cases in which there is a non-extreme probability that a given reason applies. In view of such cases, lexical-priority theories are in danger of becoming irrelevant to decision-making, becoming absurdly demanding, or generating paradoxical cases in (...)
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  5. Adam J. Kolber (2009). The Comparative Nature of Punishment. Boston University Law Review 89 (5):1565-1608.
    In tort and contract law, we calculate the harm a defendant caused a plaintiff by examining the plaintiff’s condition after an injury relative to his baseline condition. When we consider the severity of prison sentences, however, we usually ignore offenders’ baseline conditions. We deem inmates as receiving equal punishments when they are incarcerated for the same period of time under the same conditions, even though incarceration does not change their situations equally (unless they started out in identical circumstances). It is (...)
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  6. Kevin Magill (1998). The Idea of a Justification for Punishment. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1 (1):86-101.
    The argument between retributivists and consequentialists about what morally justifies the punishment of offenders is incoherent. If we were to discover that all of the contending justifications were mistaken, there is no realistic prospect that this would lead us to abandon legal punishment. Justification of words, beliefs and deeds, can only be intelligible on the assumption that if one's justification were found to be invalid and there were no alternative justification, one would be prepared to stop saying, believing or doing (...)
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  7. David McCarthy (2002). Intending Harm, Foreseeing Harm, and Failures of the Will. Noûs 36 (4):622–642.
    Theoretical defenses of the principle of double effect (pde) due to Quinn, Nagel and Foot are claimed to face severe difficulties. But this leaves those of us who see something in the case-based support for the pde without a way of accounting for our judgments. This article proposes a novel principle it calls the mismatch principle, and argues that the mismatch principle does better than the pde at accounting for our judgments about cases and is also theoretically defensible. However, where (...)
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  8. Nikil Mukerji (2014). Consequentialism, Deontology and the Morality of Promising. In Johanna Jauernig & Christoph Lütge (eds.), Business Ethics and Risk Management. Springer 111-126.
    In normative ethics there has been a long-standing debate between consequentialists and deontologists. To settle this dispute moral theorists have often used a selective approach. They have focused on particular aspects of our moral practice and have teased out what consequentialists and deontologists have to say about it. One of the focal points of this debate has been the morality of promising. In this paper I review arguments on both sides and examine whether consequentialists or deontologists offer us a more (...)
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  9. Howard Nye (2014). Chaos and Constraints. In David Boersema (ed.), Dimensions of Moral Agency. Cambridge Scholars Publishing 14-29.
    Agent-centered constraints on harming hold that some harmful upshots of our conduct cannot be justified by its generating equal or somewhat greater benefits. In this paper I argue that all plausible theories of agent-centered constraints on harming are undermined by the likelihood that our actions will have butterfly effects, or cause cascades of changes that make the world dramatically different than it would have been. Theories that impose constraints against only intended harming or proximally caused harm have unacceptable implications for (...)
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  10. Howard Nye (2014). On the Equivalence of Trolleys and Transplants: The Lack of Intrinsic Difference Between 'Collateral Damage' and Intended Harm. Utilitas 26 (4):432-479.
    In this article I attempt to show conclusively that the apparent intrinsic difference between causing collateral damage and directly attacking innocents is an illusion. I show how eleven morally irrelevant alterations can transform an apparently permissible case of harming as a side-effect into an apparently impermissible case of harming as a means. The alterations are as obviously irrelevant as the victims’ skin colour, and consistently treating them as relevant would have unacceptable implications for choices between more and less harmful ways (...)
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  11. Howard Nye (2013). Objective Double Effect and the Avoidance of Narcissism. In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 3. Oxford University Press 260-286.
    The Doctrine of Double Effect [DDE] states roughly that it is harder to justify causing or allowing harm as a means to an end than it is to justify conduct that results in harm as a side effect. This chapter argues that a theory of deontological constraints on harming needs something like the DDE in order to avoid the charge that it reflects a narcissistic obsession with the cleanliness of our own hands. Unfortunately, the DDE is often interpreted as maintaining (...)
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  12. Howard Nye, David Plunkett & John Ku (2015). Non-Consequentialism Demystified. Philosophers' Imprint 15 (4).
    Morality seems important, in the sense that there are practical reasons — at least for most of us, most of the time — to be moral. A central theoretical motivation for consequentialism is that it appears clear that there are practical reasons to promote good outcomes, but mysterious why we should care about non-consequentialist moral considerations or how they could be genuine reasons to act. In this paper we argue that this theoretical motivation is mistaken, and that because many arguments (...)
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  13. Michael Otsuka (2011). Are Deontological Constraints Irrational? In Ralf Bader & John Meadowcroft (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Nozick. Cambridge University Press
    Most deontologists find bedrock in the Pauline doctrine that it is morally objectionable to do evil in order that good will come of it. Uncontroversially, this doctrine condemns the killing of an innocent person simply in order to maximize the sum total of happiness. It rules out the conscription of a worker to his or her certain death in order to repair a fault that is interfering with the live broadcast of a World Cup match that a billion spectators have (...)
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  14. Anthony Skelton (2013). Intuitionism. In James Crimmins (ed.), Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism. Bloomsbury Academic
    An opinionated encyclopedia entry detailing and evaluating the utilitarian engagement with intuitionism.
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  15. Siegfried van Duffel (2009). The Dependence of Libertarianism On. Critical Review 21 (1):117-124.
    G. E. Morton’s attempt to defend libertarianism against my claim that it relies on an implausible secularization of ideas of divine sovereignty fails. It is not true that morality itself entails human sovereignty, as witnessed by the moral theories of theological voluntarists and of consequentialists. Nor is it true that sovereignty can be conceptually transferred from God to equal human individuals, since they would have no legitimate way to legislate over each other short of a unanimous “general will.” Nor, finally, (...)
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  16. Eric Wiland (2010). The Incoherence Objection in Moral Theory. Acta Analytica 25 (3):279-284.
    J.J.C. Smart famously complained that rule utilitarianism is incoherent, and that rule utilitarians are guilty of rule worship . Much has been said about whether Smart’s complaint is justified, but I will assume for the sake of argument that Smart was on to something. Instead, I have three other goals. First, I want to show that Smart’s complaint is a specific instance of a more general objection to a moral theory—what I will call the Incoherence Objection. Second, I want to (...)
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