Asymmetries in ethics

Inquiry 10 (1-4):351-372 (1967)
Abstract
Ethical notions such as good and bad, are often treated as though they were ?symmetric? in the sense of having the same moral ?weight?, one in a positive the other in a negative sense. I argue that they are in fact ?asymmetric? and that the negative members of such pairs of notions are more fundamental and definite, logically speaking, and operationally more important than the positive members. Detailed arguments are given to show this for some non?moral notions, such as life and death, health and illness; some semi?moral notions such as pleasure and pain; and finally for the moral notions of happiness, benevolence, right, and good and their negative counterparts. One of the intentions of the article is to show that a systematic view of such asymmetries may have consequences for one's view of the proper or desirable structure of a general theory of ethics: norms stating prohibitions and norms stating permissions will be seen to be, in a sense defined in the text, more fundamental and important than norms stating ('positive') obligations
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA
    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2010-08-10

    Total downloads

    7 ( #149,615 of 1,088,371 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,449 of 1,088,371 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.