David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (5):585-593 (2010)
In the last half century, decision theory has had a deep influence on moral theory. Its impact has largely been beneficial. However, it has also given rise to some problems, two of which are discussed here. First, issues such as risk-taking and risk imposition have been left out of ethics since they are believed to belong to decision theory, and consequently the ethical aspects of these issues have not been treated in either discipline. Secondly, ethics has adopted the decision-theoretical idea that action-guidance has to be based on cause–effect or means–ends relationships between an individual action and its possible outcomes. This is problematic since the morally relevant connections between an action and future events are not fully covered by such relationships. In response to the first problem it is proposed that moral theory should deal directly and extensively with issues such as risk-taking and risk imposition, thereby intruding unabashedly into the traditional territory of decision theory. As a partial response to the second problem it is proposed that moral theorizing should release itself from the decision-theoretical requirement that the moral status of an action has to be derivable from the consequences (or other properties) that are assignable to that action alone. In particular, the effects that an action can have in combination with other actions by the same or other agents are valid arguments in an action-guiding moral discourse, even if its contribution to these combined consequences cannot be isolated and evaluated separately
|Keywords||Decision theory Ethics Moral philosophy Means–ends relationship Causality Cause–effect relationship Instrumental reasoning Risk Ethics of risk Expected utility Multi-agent problems|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Ruth Berger (1998). Understanding Science: Why Causes Are Not Enough. Philosophy of Science 65 (2):306-332.
Eric B. Dent (2003). The Interactional Model: An Alternative to the Direct Cause and Effect Construct for Mutually Causal Organizational Phenomena. [REVIEW] Foundations of Science 8 (3):295-314.
Philippa Foot (1967). The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect. Oxford Review 5:5-15.
Robert Guay (2005). A Refutation of Consequentialism. Metaphilosophy 36 (3):348-362.
Jean Hampton (1995). Does Hume Have an Instrumental Conception of Practical Reason? Hume Studies 21 (1):57-74.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
N. Athanassoulis & A. Ross (2010). A Virtue Ethical Account of Making Decisions About Risk. Journal of Risk Research 13 (2):217.
Mark Colyvan & Katie Steele, Environmental Ethics and Decision Theory: Fellow Travellers or Bitter Enemies?
Sven Ove Hansson (2003). Ethical Criteria of Risk Acceptance. Erkenntnis 59 (3):291 - 309.
Erich H. Loewy (1987). The Uncertainty of Certainty in Clinical Ethics. Journal of Medical Humanities and Bioethics 8 (1):26-33.
Andy Egan (2007). Some Counterexamples to Causal Decision Theory. Philosophical Review 116 (1):93-114.
Vidya N. Awasthi (2008). Managerial Decision-Making on Moral Issues and the Effects of Teaching Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 78 (1-2):207 - 223.
Mark Colyvan, Damian Cox & Katie Steele (2010). Modelling the Moral Dimension of Decisions. Noûs 44 (3):503-529.
Sven Ove Hansson (2007). Hypothetical Retrospection. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (2):145 - 157.
Added to index2010-06-30
Total downloads58 ( #30,324 of 1,166,392 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #24,390 of 1,166,392 )
How can I increase my downloads?