David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Utilitas 24 (02):151-171 (2012)
Act-utilitarianism and other theories in normative ethics confront the implementability problem: normal human agents, with normal human epistemic abilities, lack the information needed to use those theories directly for the selection of actions. Two Level Theories have been offered in reply. The theoretical level component states alleged necessary and sufficient conditions for moral rightness. That component is supposed to be true, but is not intended for practical use. It gives an account of objective obligation. The practical level component is offered as an implementable system for the choice of actions by agents lacking some relevant information. It gives an account of subjective obligation. Several different ways of developing Two Levelism are explained and criticized. Five conditions that must be satisfied if the practical level principle is to be a good match for a given theoretical level principle are stated. A better form of Two Levelism is presented.
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References found in this work BETA
W. D. Ross (2002). The Right and the Good. Clarendon Press.
R. M. Hare (1981). Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method, and Point. Oxford University Press.
Frank Jackson (1991). Decision-Theoretic Consequentialism and the Nearest and Dearest Objection. Ethics 101 (3):461-482.
Holly M. Smith (2010). Subjective Rightness. Social Philosophy and Policy 27 (2):64-110.
R. Eugene Bales (1971). Act-Utilitarianism: Account of Right-Making Characteristics or Decision-Making Procedure? American Philosophical Quarterly 8 (3):257 - 265.
Citations of this work BETA
Michael Moehler (2014). The Scope of Instrumental Morality. Philosophical Studies 167 (2):431-451.
Joachim Wündisch (2014). Green Votes Not Green Virtues: Effective Utilitarian Responses to Climate Change. Utilitas 26 (2):192-205.
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Richard Yetter Chappell
University of York
For anyone interested, I've a two-part response up at philosophyetc.net:
(1) Assessing Decision Procedures: Background
(2) Action Guidance and Rational Decision Procedures