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  1. Leslie Allan, The Principle of Double Effect.
    Absolutist systems of ethics have come in for harsh criticism on a number of fronts. The Principle of Double Effect was formulated by Catholic ethicists to overcome such objections. In this essay, Leslie Allan addresses four of the most prominent problems faced by an absolutist ethic and evaluates the extent to which the Principle of Double Effect is successful in avoiding or mitigating these criticisms.
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  2. Vuko Andrić (2010). David Gauthiers kontraktualistische Moralbegründung. Aufklärung Und Kritik 33:80-104.
    This paper offers a critique of David Gauthier’s contractarian moral theory. I point out morally counter-intuitive implications of Gauthier’s theory – for example, with respect to societies with slavery or concerning the protection of animals – as well as theoretically unattractive features, such as the overly optimistic assumption of translucent agents. However, contractarian moral theories can be improved by correcting the theoretically unattractive features. Moreover, though some morally counter-intuitive implications cannot be avoided, whether we should accept these implications ultimately (...)
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  3. Vuko Andrić (2010). Eine Kritik an Norbert Hoersters Theorie der Normenvertretung. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 64 (1):62-83.
    Norbert Hoerster has tried to show on the basis of what I call special and general interests that it is rational to endorse moral judgements. I argue that Hoerster’s attempt to vindicate the rationality of moral judgements fails. By appealing to special interests Hoerster can only establish the rationality of endorsing judgements that – by Hoerster’s own standards – are not moral judgements because they do not pass the test of generalization. While the appeal to general interests, on the other (...)
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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. Douglas W. Portmore, Uncertainty, Indeterminacy, and Agent-Centered Constraints.
    Commonsense morality includes various agent-centered constraints, including ones against killing unnecessarily, breaking a promise, and punishing the innocent. However, it’s not always clear whether, had an agent φ-ed, she would have violated a constraint. And sometimes the reason for this is not that we lack knowledge of the relevant facts, but that there is no fact about whether her φ-ing would have constituted a constraint-violation. What, then, is a constraint-accepting theory (i.e., a theory that accepts that there are such constraints) (...)
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  16. Duncan Purves (2011). Still in Hot Water: Doing, Allowing, and Rachels’ Bathtub Cases. Southwest Philosophy Review 27 (1):129-137.
    The aim of this paper is to explain and defend a type of argument common in the doing/allowing literature called a “contrast argument.” I am concerned with defending a particular type of contrast argument that is intended to demonstrate the moral irrelevance of the doing/allowing distinction. This type of argument, referred to in this paper as an “irrelevance argument,” is exemplified by an argument offered by James Rachels (1975) that employs the Smith and Jones bathtub cases. My main contention in (...)
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  17. 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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  18. Steven Sverdlik (forthcoming). Kantianism, Consequentialism and Deterrence. In Christian Seidel (ed.), Consequentialism: New Directions, New Problems? Oxford University Press
    It is often argued that Kantian and consequentialist approaches to the philosophy of punishment differ on the question of whether using punishment to achieve deterrence is morally acceptable. I show that this is false: both theories judge it to be acceptable. Showing this requires attention to what the Formula of Humanity in Kant requires agents to do. If we use the correct interpretation of this formula we can also see that an anti-consequentialist moral principle used by Victor Tadros to criticize (...)
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  19. 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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  20. Isaac Wiegman (2015). The Evolution of Retribution: Intuitions Undermined. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (1).
    Recent empirical work suggests that emotions are responsible for anti-consequentialist intuitions. For instance, anger places value on actions of revenge and retribution, value not derived from the consequences of these actions. As a result, it contributes to the development of retributive intuitions. I argue that if anger evolved to produce these retributive intuitions because of their biological consequences, then these intuitions are not a good indicator that punishment has value apart from its consequences. This severs the evidential connection between retributive (...)
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  21. 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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