Tragic dilemmas and the priority of the moral

Journal of Ethics 4 (3):191-209 (2000)
Abstract
My purpose in this paper is to argue that we are not vulnerableto inescapable wrongdoing occasioned by tragic dilemmas. I directmy argument to those who are most inclined to accept tragicdilemmas: those of broadly Nietzschean inclination who reject``modern moral philosophy'''' in favor of the ethical ideas of theclassical Greeks. Two important features of their project are todeny the usefulness of the ``moral/nonmoral distinction,'''' and todeny that what are usually classified as moral reasons always oreven characteristically ``trump'''' nonmoral reasons in anadmirable agent''s deliberations.I show critics of modern moral philosophy such as BernardWilliams that their acceptance of tragic dilemmas underminestheir project of denying the moral/nonmoral distinction and thepriority of moral reasons. The possibility of tragic dilemmasrequires an account of practical deliberation in which moralreasons appear as already in-force obligations, with blame andguilt ready to be invoked, while nonmoral reasons appear as merereasons. This makes moral reasons importantly different fromnonmoral reasons in how they achieve their deliberative weight,and also makes them characteristically weightier. Thus,accommodating tragic dilemmas reinforces the moral/nonmoraldistinction and the priority of moral reasons, the very thingsthese critics want to deny. By accepting the possibility oftragic dilemmas, these critics are undermining their own project.The standard normative theories are dead set against tragicdilemmas, and the critics of modern moral philosophy shouldreject tragic dilemmas for the good of their project. Thus we allshould reject tragic dilemmas.
Keywords inescapable wrongdoing  modern moral philosophy  moral dilemmas  moral luck  moral/nonmoral distinction  priority of the moral  practical deliberation  virtue ethics  Bernard Williams
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,760
External links
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

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

19 ( #87,403 of 1,098,965 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #57,966 of 1,098,965 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.