David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
B. Blackwell (1988)
A strong tradition in philosophy denies the possibility of moral dilemmas. Recently, several philosophers reversed this tradition. In this dissertation, I clarify some fundamental issues in this debate, argue for the possibility of moral dilemmas, and determine some implications of this possibility. ;In chapter I, I define moral dilemmas roughly as situations where an agent morally ought to adopt each of two alternatives but cannot adopt both. Moral dilemmas are resolvable if and only if one of the moral oughts overrides the other. ;In chapter II, I criticize several opponents of moral dilemmas, including utilitarians, Kant, Aquinas, and Ross. My main criticism is that no opponent of moral dilemmas can adequately justify moral residue . ;Chapters III and IV concern the two main arguments against the possibility of moral dilemmas. First, the argument for 'ought' implies 'can' runs as follows. If the agent cannot adopt both, then it is not the case that the agent ought to adopt both. But the agent ought to adopt both, since the agent ought to adopt each . Thus, the defining judgements of a moral dilemma seem to imply a contradiction. In response, I argue that the relation between 'ought' and 'can' is not a logical implication but a conversational implicature. ;Chapter IV concerns the argument from 'ought' implies 'permitted': If the agent ought to adopt one alternative, then the agent is permitted to adopt that alternative, which means that it is not the case that the agent ought not to adopt that alternative. But the agent ought not to adopt that alternative, since the agent ought to adopt the other alternative and cannot adopt both. I respond that 'ought' does not logically imply but conversationally implicates 'permitted'. ;In chapter V, I argue that, despite recent claims, both moral realism and anti-realism are compatible with the possibility of moral dilemmas. Thus, there are several reasons to accept and no reasons to deny the possibility of moral dilemmas
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Buy the book||$22.71 used (49% off) $2000.00 new Amazon page|
|Call number||BJ1031.S55 1988|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Krister Bykvist & Anandi Hattiangadi (2007). Does Thought Imply Ought? Analysis 67 (296):277–285.
Peter B. M. Vranas (2007). I Ought, Therefore I Can. Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167 - 216.
John Martin Fischer (2003). ‘Ought-Implies-Can’, Causal Determinism and Moral Responsibility. Analysis 63 (279):244–250.
Lou Goble (2009). Normative Conflicts and the Logic of 'Ought'. Noûs 43 (3):450-489.
Igor Primoratz (2011). Civilian Immunity, Supreme Emergency, and Moral Disaster. Journal of Ethics 15 (4):371-386.
Similar books and articles
John R. Welch (2001). Two Types of Moral Dilemma. In Matti Häyry & Tuija Takala (eds.), The Future of Value Inquiry. Rodopi.
Gillian R. Wark & Dennis L. Krebs (2000). The Construction of Moral Dilemmas in Everyday Life. Journal of Moral Education 29 (1):5-21.
Christopher W. Gowans (ed.) (1987). Moral Dilemmas. Oxford Uiversity Press.
Michael L. Gross (2010). Moral Dilemmas of Modern War: Torture, Assassination, and Blackmail in an Age of Asymmetric Conflict. Cambridge University Press.
Peter Vallentyne (1992). Moral Dilemmas and Comparative Conceptions of Morality. Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):117-124.
Harun Tepe (2007). Epistemological Dilemmas of Contemporary Ethics. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:25-30.
Carl Baker (2011). Expressivism and Moral Dilemmas: A Response to Marino. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):445-455.
H. E. Mason (ed.) (1996). Moral Dilemmas and Moral Theory. Oxford University Press.
Philippa Foot (2002). Moral Dilemmas and Other Topics in Moral Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
Gregory Mellema (2005). Moral Dilemmas and Offence. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (3):291 - 298.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads22 ( #92,044 of 1,692,468 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #20,491 of 1,692,468 )
How can I increase my downloads?