Action Individuation and Deontic Cycling

Ethics 123 (1):129-136 (2012)
Tim Willenken argues that ‘commonsense morality’ is committed to intransitive deontic cycles; that consequentialism cannot countenance such cycles; and that, therefore, the project of compatibilism—making consequentialism and commonsense morality deliver the same moral verdicts, by way of an axiology—cannot succeed. I argue that the appearance of intransitive cycles is made possible only by an idiosyncratic method of action-individuation; when traditional methods are used, the appearance of intransitivity goes away. These results may reopen the door for the compatibilist project.
Keywords consequentialism  compatibilism  axiology
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DOI 10.1086/667839
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