Conflict, Regret, and Modern Moral Philosophy
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics (2011)
I begin this paper by discussing the difference between outweighing and canceling in conflicts of normativity. I then introduce a thought experiment that I call Crash Drive,and I use it to explain the nature of a certain kind of moral conflict as well as the appropriate emotional response – regret – on the part of the primary agent in this case. Having done this, I turn to a line of criticism opened by Bernard Williams and recently expanded by Jonathan Dancy according to which archetypal examples of modern moral philosophies such as Kantianism cannot make sense of conflict and regret. Finally, I examine the general structure of such theories and explain how at least some of them can avoid this line of criticism.
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