Welfare and self-governance

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (3):289 - 309 (2006)
Two ideas have dominated ethical thought since the time of Bentham and Kant. One is utilitarianism, the other is an idea of moral agency as self-governance. Utilitarianism says that morality must somehow subserve welfare, self-governance says that it must be graspable directly by individual moral insight. But these ideas seem to war with one another. Can we eliminate the apparent conflict by a careful review of what is plausible in the two ideas? In seeking an answer to this question I examine (1) the implications of welfarism, (2) the nature of moral obligation (3) the nature of our moral knowledge.
Keywords blame  moral obligation  moral knowledge  self-governance  utilitarianism  welfarism
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