It's the thought that counts

Utilitas 17 (3):265-281 (2005)
Agnes's brakes fail. Should she continue straight into the busy intersection or should she swerve into the field? Add to the story, what Agnes does not and cannot know, that continuing into the intersection will cause no harm, whereas swerving into the apparently empty field will cause a death. I evaluate arguments for the claim that she should enter the intersection, i.e. for objectivism about right and wrong; and arguments for the claim that she should swerve, i.e. for subjectivism about right and wrong, and conclude that subjectivism is more plausible. I also consider the view that ‘ought’ and ‘wrong’ are systematically ambiguous, that she subjectively ought to swerve and that she objectively ought to enter the intersection. I argue that most versions of this suggestion are unworkable, and that even the best version is less plausible than pure subjectivism.
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820805001640
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