There have traditionally been two schools of thought regarding moral ideals and their relationship with moral duty. First, many have held that moral agents at all times have a duty or obligation to realize or attain moral ideals, or at least they have a duty to strive to realize or attain them. A second school of thought has maintained that attaining or pursuing moral ideals is supererogatory or beyond the call of duty. Recently a third school of thought has been (...) articulated by Robert Audi in his essay “Wrongs Within Rights.” In this paper I express agreement with Audi, and it will be my suggestion that the resources of virtue ethics can profitably be employed to illustrate how his view avoids problems which plague the two traditional schools of thought. (shrink)
Recently David Widerker argued that from the widely accepted ought implies can principle one can deduce the controversial and much discussed principle of alternative possibilities (PAP). Actually, he argues that this result is true only of the part of PAP which deals with moral blame. Because there are acts of supererogation, he maintains that it does not apply to the part which deals with moral praise. What Widerker says about supererogation seems true, and I develop and expand upon this idea (...) in the first half of the paper. Then I argue that Widerker's argument regarding moral blame fails. (shrink)
The article presents the issues arising from the memberships of moral agents in collectives that have the burden of moral responsibility. Likewise, it examines the qualifying actions that qualify their membership including deliberate contribution, risk taking and others. It differentiates collective responsibility to shared responsibility.
There are a great many philosophers and theologians who deny that acts of supererogation are possible on the grounds that no act whose performance is praiseworthy can fail to be obligatory to perform. Here I examine a position which affirms that acts of supererogation are possible but which shares with the opponents of supererogation the sentiment that it is frequently morally blameworthy to omit such acts. This view is endorsed by certain professional philosophers, but it also seems that many non-philosophers (...) are favorably inclined to this attitude. Although it is difficult to offer an outright refutation of this view, I offer some recommendations for those attracted to this position in the hopes that their concerns ahout supererogation can be addressed in ways which do not necessitate endorsing either a strong or moderate version of the anti-supererogationist point of view. (shrink)
In 1963 Roderick Chisholm proposed a category of acts called “offences” to capture what he called acts of “permissive ill-doing.” Chisholm’s proposal has proven to be controversial. Here I propose that some progress can be made in validating acts of offence by focusing upon moral dilemmas. Given the problems which have been alleged to beset moral dilemmas, this may initially seem like a puzzling strategy. However, I will call attention to a type of moral dilemma unlike what is standardly discussed (...) in the literature and attempt to show that those who acknowledge that such dilemmas are possible are likewise obliged to acknowledge that acts of offence are possible. My suggestion, then, is that, since the former are plausible to acknowledge, so are the latter. (shrink)
This essay identifies and examines three theses about collective responsibility which are frequently assumed or presupposed in philosophical discussions of collective responsibility. While the first thesis places constraints upon what counts as collective responsibility in a way which is plausible and defensible, It is argued that the constraints placed by theses two and three are unreasonably limiting.
Without question the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, by Benjamin Bloom and associates, is currently the most influential work in the theory of curriculum. Here I summarize Bloom’s taxonomies, survey a variety of criticisms raised by others, and conclude that there are serious philosophical problems remainmg to be addressed concerning both the structure and scope of the taxonomies.
Discussions of risk taking in the modern business organization frequently focus upon the behavior of individual moral agents. Here I attempt to identify some of the complexities of risk taking when it is a group phenomenon and to do so in such a way as to shed some light upon the ethics of group risk taking in business organizations.
There are situations in human life where the failure to perform a certain act can be morally blameworthy and at the same time not constitute the failure of moral duty or obligation. While traditional approaches to ethics have not acknowledged the possibility of these acts, recent contributions to the literature have made a strong and convincing case for their existence. Here I explain the nature of these acts, present some examples of these acts as they might arise in one''s business (...) or professional life, and point out the importance of recognizing and performing these acts for those who wish to practice good ethics in their business or professional lives. (shrink)
The language of quantification theory does not seem to adequately reflect the logic of mass terms in ordinary english. Mass terms are treated as though they are true of objects which can be counted. In this paper, It is argued that by placing certain restrictions upon formulas which contain the identity sign it is possible to arrive at a formalization of mass term sentences which avoids this difficulty. The proposed restrictions are defended against charges that certain mass term sentences seem (...) to be rendered inexpressible. (shrink)
Moral duties are often described in terms of rigid requirements to perform, or refrain from performing, actions of certain specific types. In various theological traditions this point is often expressed in terms of the demands God places upon His creatures. However, there are several important ways, as Kant, Mill, and others have noted, in which the fulfillment of duty admits of options. In this paper an effort is made to offer a precise characterization of these ways. On this basis it (...) is concluded that many duties are not of the form in which duties are commonly characterized. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that educational aims be approached as states of affairs susceptible of analysis in terms of means and ends. An educator’s various aims, in this way, can be classified according to the means-end relationship they bear to one another. This approach, which stands squarely in the tradition of Aristotle and enjoys little support among contemporary educational theorists, is defended from objections by R.S. Peters, a popular and influential proponent of an alternative approach.