David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Inquiry 10 (1-4):351-372 (1967)
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)|
No categories specified
(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
Karl R. Popper (1966). The Open Society and its Enemies. London, Routledge & K. Paul.
Citations of this work BETA
Gregory Mellema (1993). Quasi-Obligation and the Failure to Be Virtuous. Journal of Social Philosophy 24 (2):176-185.
Similar books and articles
Robert J. Richards (1992). Arguments in a Sartorial Mode, or the Asymmetries of History and Philosophy of Science. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:482 - 489.
Lara Denis (2006). Kant's Conception of Virtue. In Paul Guyer (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Kant and Modern Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Corinna Mieth (2008). World Poverty as a Problem of Justice? A Critical Comparison of Three Approaches. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (1):15 - 36.
Alastair Norcross (2005). Contextualism for Consequentialists. Acta Analytica 20 (2):80-90.
Mark Jago & Stephen Barker (2012). Being Positive About Negative Facts. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):117-138.
Alessandro Lanteri (2009). Judgements of Intentionality and Moral Worth: Experimental Challenges to Hindriks. Philosophical Quarterly 59 (237):713-720.
Maureen Kelley (2005). Limits on Patient Responsibility. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (2):189 – 206.
Philip Blosser (2005). The “Cape Horn” of Scheler's Ethics. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1):121-143.
John Martin Fischer (2004). Free Will and Moral Responsibility. In D. Copps (ed.), Handbook on Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press.
Thomas Hurka (2010). Asymmetries In Value. Noûs 44 (2):199-223.
Added to index2010-08-10
Total downloads11 ( #143,992 of 1,101,888 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #306,556 of 1,101,888 )
How can I increase my downloads?