Moral dilemmas, collective responsibility, and moral progress

Philosophical Studies 104 (2):203 - 225 (2001)
Abstract
Ruth Marcus has offered an account of moral dilemmas in which the presence of dilemmas acts as a motivating force, pushing us to try to minimize predicaments of moral conflict. In this paper, I defend a Marcus-style account of dilemmas against two objections: first, that if dilemmas are real, we are forced to blame those who have done their best, and second, that in some cases, even a stripped down version of blame seems inappropriate. My account highlights the importance of collective responsibility in understanding dilemmas, and I suggest that it sheds light on understanding moral progress.
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