A number of Christian theologians and philosophers have been critical of overly moralizing approaches to the doctrine of sin, but nearly all Christian thinkers maintain that moral fault is necessary or sufficient for sin to obtain. Call this the “Moral Consensus.” I begin by clarifying the relevance of impurities to the biblical cataloguing of sins. I then present four extensional problems for the Moral Consensus on sin, based on the biblical catalogue of sins: (1) moral over-demandingness, (2) agential unfairness, (3) (...) moral repugnance, and (4) moral atrocity. Next, I survey several partial solutions to these problems, suggested by the recent philosophical literature. Then I evaluate two largely unexplored solutions: (a) genuine sin dilemmas and (b) defeasible sinfulness. I argue that (a) creates more problems than it solves and that, while (b) is well-motivated and solves or eases each of the above problems, (b) leaves many biblical ordinances about sin morally misleading, creating (5) a pedagogical problem of evil. I conclude by arguing that (5) places hefty explanatory burdens on those who would appeal to (b) to resolve the four extensional problems discussed in this paper. So Christian thinkers may need to consider a more radical separation of sin and moral fault. (shrink)
ABSTRACT What, if anything, should we do when someone says they don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change? Or that they worry that a COVID-19 vaccine might be dangerous? We argue that in general, we face an epistemic duty to object to such assertions, qua instances of science denial and science sceptical discourse, respectively. Our argument builds on recent discussions in social epistemology, specifically surrounding the idea that we ought to speak up against (epistemically) problematic assertions so as to fulfil an (...) important epistemic obligation – namely, preventing epistemic harms in others. We show that both science denial (SD) and vaccine hesitant (VH) discourses are harmful in a distinctively epistemic sense, and as such generate an especially strong duty to voice our disagreement. As we also argue, this obligation is nonetheless defeasible: depending on the situational features of those involved, voicing an objection to VH discourse may actually end up doing more harm than good. We conclude by tracing what seems like a promising path towards restoring well-placed public trust in scientific testifiers. Doing so is key in order to guarantee equitable access to warranted beliefs about important subject matters, such as the safety of vaccines, to all segments of society. (shrink)
Where does the impetus towards ethical theory come from? What drives humans to make values explicit, consistent, and discursively justifiable? This paper situates the demand for ethical theory in human life by identifying the practical needs that give rise to it. Such a practical derivation puts the demand in its place: while finding a home for it in the public decision-making of modern societies, it also imposes limitations on the demand by presenting it as scalable and context-sensitive. This differentiates strong (...) forms of the demand calling for theory from weaker forms calling for less, and contexts where it has a place from contexts where it is out of place. In light of this, subjecting personal deliberation to the demand turns out to involve a trade-off. (shrink)
Conflicts between legal norms are common in reality. In many legislations, legal conflicts between norms are resolved by applying ordered principles. This work presents a formalization of the conflict resolution mechanism and introduces action legal logic (ALL) to reason about the normative consequences of possibly conflicting legal systems. The semantics of ALL is explicitly based on legal systems consisting of norms and ordered principles. Legal systems specify the legal status of transitions in transition systems and the language of ALL describes (...) the legal status of paths in transition systems. The formalization is used to study abstract revisions of legal systems. The expressivity of ALL is studied and its completeness is proved. (shrink)
In this book chapter I argue that, contrary to what is said by Paul Guyer in his book Kant (Routledge, 2006), Kant's moral philosophy prohibits the bystander from throwing the switch to divert the runaway trolley to a side track with an innocent person on it, in order to save more people who are in the path of the trolley, in the "Trolley Problem" case made famous by Judith Jarvis Thomson (1976; 1985). Furthermore, Thomson herself (2008) came to agree that (...) it would be wrong to throw the switch, just as it is wrong to push the person off the bridge to stop the trolley (1976; 1985). In changing her mind about this case, Thomson came to agree with Kant, as well as with Philippa Foot (1967), who argued in original paper that a negative duty not to harm one healthy patient outweighed a positive duty to give aid to five other patients by transplanting the healthy person's organs. (shrink)
This paper shows that our popular account of weakness of will is inconsistent with dilemmas. In dilemmas, agents judge that they ought to do one thing, that they ought to do something else, and that they cannot do both. They must act against either of their two judgments. But such action is commonly understood as weakness of will. An agent is weak-willed in doing something if she judges that she ought to and could do something else instead. Thus, it seems (...) that, in a dilemma, the agent is weak-willed by definition. But this is puzzling: clearly, the two are different phenomena. The puzzle may support scepticism about weakness of will or dilemmas. Here, I argue that the two are consistent on a revised understanding of weakness of will. To do so, I further distinguish the mental states of an agent in a dilemma from those of a weak-willed person. (shrink)
Principlism, the bioethical theory championed by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, is centered on the four moral principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, and justice. Two key processes related to these principles are specification—adding specific content to general principles—and balancing—determining the relative weight of conflicting principles. I argue that both of these processes necessarily involve an appeal to human goods and evils, and therefore require a theory of the good. A significant problem with principlism is that it lacks a (...) theory of the good and consequently does not have an adequate solution to the problems of specification and balancing. My conclusion is that principlism must adopt some account of human well-being in order to be a satisfactory bioethical framework. (shrink)
The aim of the consequentializing project is to show that, for every plausible ethical theory, there is a version of consequentialism that is extensionally equivalent to it. One challenge this project faces is that there are common-sense ethical theories that posit moral dilemmas. There has been some speculation about how the consequentializers should react to these theories, but so far there has not been a systematic treatment of the topic. In this article, I show that there are at least five (...) ways in which we can construct versions of consequentialism that are extensionally equivalent to the ethical theories that contain moral dilemmas. I argue that all these consequentializing strategies face a dilemma: either they must posit moral dilemmas in unintuitive cases or they must rely on unsupported assumptions about value, permissions, requirements, or options. I also consider this result's consequences for the consequentializing project. (shrink)
Moving from simple to increasingly sophisticated candidate cases, I argue against the idea that there can be cases in which, due to no fault of the agent or to any ambiguity regarding how things will go depending on which option is selected, all the options available to an agent are rationally impermissible. Whether there are cases that fit this bill—qualifying as what I will label no-fault-or-ambiguity rational dilemmas—depends on the characteristics of conclusive reasons. My reasoning leads me to the view (...) that a key feature of conclusive reasons is that they capture or ground overall assessments that are relationally significant. I then argue that, while this view does not itself conflict with the most sophisticated candidate cases of purported dilemmas of the relevant sort, following the spirit of the view does lead to a conclusion that blocks counting even these cases as ones in which there is a conclusive reason against every available option. My conclusion is that there is no solid basis for the view that there are cases of no-fault-or-ambiguity rational dilemmas. (shrink)
Kantian Deontological Ethics concerns itself with the will as grounded in universalisable maxims. Such maxims are in turn based on rationally conceived laws that, in a professional setting, find expression in the autonomously made agreements constituting professional protocols and regulations. When applied to a case-study wherein public safety has been possibly jeopardised by company products, we can argue for priority in the agreed-to responsibility towards the good of professional autonomy, expressed as a rational mandate of nondisclosure of confidential product information, (...) over that of the good of public safety. This priority persists regardless of whether the good of truth, such as the disclosure of confidential product information, has its value grounded in itself or the good of safety. Nevertheless, company and individual professional responsibility may prioritise safety over autonomy, but how this prioritisation is made must be sensitive to the autonomously willed choice of the employed professional. (shrink)
This case study takes place in the context of a large corporate technology services firm. It explores the question of what constitutes sexual harassment as well as how best to draft a no-tolerance policy. The scenario examines behaviors that may or may not be considered illegal, the responsibility of all employees to foster a harassment-free environment, and what an effective no-tolerance policy might look like that minimizes possible conflicts of interest. Students are given an opportunity to reflect on several issues, (...) including how the agents should act situationally, and how the policy might best be (re)designed and implemented going forward. (shrink)
It is often argued that the requirement that moral obligations be ‘action guiding’ motivates the claim that one can be obligated to ϕ only if one can ϕ. I argue that even on its most plausible interpretation, this argument fails, since the reasoning behind it leads to the absurd conclusion that one is permitted to ϕ if one cannot ϕ.
This paper presents a case for the claim that the infamous miners paradox is not a paradox. This contention is based on some important observations about the nature of ignorance with respect to both disjunctions and conditional obligations and their modal features. The gist of the argument is that given the uncertainty about the location of the miners in the story and the nature of obligations, the apparent obligation to block either mine shaft is cancelled.
The traditional debate about moral dilemmas concerns whether there are circumstances in which an agent is subject to two obligations that cannot both be fulfilled. Realists maintain there are. Irrealists deny this. Here I defend an alternative, methodologically-oriented position wherein the denial of genuine moral dilemmas functions as a regulative ideal for moral deliberation and practice. That is, moral inquiry and deliberation operate on the implicit assumption that there are no genuine moral dilemmas. This view is superior to both realism (...) and irrealism in accounting for moral residue and other crucial phenomenological dimensions of our experience of moral dilemmas. (shrink)
I summarize a conception of morality as containing a set of rules which hold ceteris paribus and which impose pro-tanto obligations. I explain two ways in which moral rules are ceteris-paribus, according to whether an exception is duty-voiding or duty-overriding. I defend the claim that moral rules are ceteris-paribus against two qualms suggested by Luke Robinson’s discussion of moral rules and against the worry that such rules are uninformative. I show that Robinson’s argument that moral rules cannot ground pro-tanto obligations (...) is unsound, because it confuses an absolute reason for an obligation with a reason for an absolute obligation, and because it overlooks the possibility that priority rules may be rules for ordering pro-tanto obligations rather than rules for eliminating contenders for the status of absolute obligation. (shrink)
According to T. M. Scanlon’s anti-aggregation principle, it is wrong to save a larger number of people from minor harms rather than a smaller number from much more serious harms. This principle is a central part of many influential and anti-utilitarian ethical theories. According to the sequential-dominance principle, one does something wrong if one knowingly performs a sequence of acts whose outcome would be worse for everyone than the outcome of an alternative sequence of acts. The intuitive appeal of the (...) sequential-dominance principle should be obvious; everyone is knowingly made worse off if it is violated. In this paper, I present a number of cases where one is forced to violate either the anti-aggregation principle or the sequential-dominance principle. I show that these principles conflict regardless of whether one accepts a counterfactual or a temporal, worsening view of harm. Moreover, I show that this result holds regardless of how much worse a harm has to be in order to count as a much more serious harm. (shrink)
Since the Supreme Court upheld the partial birth abortion ban in 2007, more U.S. abortion providers have begun performing intraamniotic digoxin injections prior to uterine dilation and evacuations. These injections can cause medical harm to abortion patients. Our objective is to perform an in-depth bioethical analysis of this procedure, which is performed mainly for the provider’s legal benefit despite potential medical consequences for the patient.
Since at least the 1960s, deontic logicians and ethicists have worried about whether there can be normative systems that allow conflicting obligations. Surprisingly, however, little direct attention has been paid to questions about how we may reason with conflicting obligations. In this paper, I present a problem for making sense of reasoning with conflicting obligations and argue that no deontic logic can solve this problem. I then develop an account of reasoning based on the popular idea in ethics that reasons (...) explain obligations and show that it solves this problem. (shrink)
I shall argue, however, that there can be genuine ambivalence between a judgment that A is v and a judgment that A is not v. Such ambivalence may, moreover, be precisely of the kind that appears to be either impossible or destructive for ethics. Objectivist ambivalence, as we shall call it, is neither an accidental nor peripheral feature of our value discourse. At the same time it is not destructive to ethics or to value judgments in general, but only to (...) certain received philosophical conceptions of ethics and value. Once the phenomenon of objectivist ambivalence of value judgment is identified, it can be analyzed, and in conducting that analysis I shall set out three aspects that are involved in it. The analysis of the mental attitude of ambivalence will have consequences for the logic of values. We shall see that this logic allows and invites tensions in a non-mysterious way. (shrink)
This study aims to explore the effects of organizational conflict, on role stressors namely role conflict and role ambiguity, among the employees of J&K public corporations. Based on the survey of 242 corporate employees of J&K State Forest Corporation, J&K State Road Transport Corporation, J&K Cement Limited and J&K State Industrial Development Corporation, the effective response received was 72.31%. The data was analyzed using exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis using the structural equation model to measure the relationship among (...) the constructs. The empirical results revalidate that role conflict and role ambiguity has positive association with employees stress. The mediating effects of organizational conflict positively impact employees stress. Implications, limitations, and future lines of research are also discussed in this paper. Keywords:. (shrink)
this paper advances a novel account of part of what justifies killing in war, grounded in the duties we owe to our loved ones to protect them from the severe harms with which war threatens them. It discusses the foundations of associative duties, then identifies the sorts of relationships, and the specific duties that they ground, which can be relevant to the ethics of war. It explains how those associa- tive duties can justify killing in theory—in particular how they can (...) justify overrid- ing the rights to life of some of those who must be killed to win a war. It then shows how these duties can be operationalised in practice: first, showing how soldiers who fight on behalf of their community can act on reasons that apply to the members of that community; second, showing that the argument from associative duties does not prove too much—in particular, that it does not license the intentional killing of noncombatants in war. (shrink)
To be a doxastic deontologist is to claim that there is such a thing as an ethics of belief (or of our doxastic attitudes in general). In other words, that we are subject to certain duties with respect to our doxastic attitudes, the non-compliance with which makes us blameworthy and that we should understand doxastic justification in terms of these duties. In this paper, I argue that these duties are our all things considered duties, and not our epistemic or moral (...) duties, for example. I show how this has the surprising result that, if deontologism is a thesis about doxastic justification, it entails that there is no such thing as epistemic or moral justification for a belief that p. I then suggest why this result, though controversial, may have some salutary consequences: primarily that it helps us make some sense of an otherwise puzzling situation regarding doxastic dilemmas. -/- . (shrink)
This paper argues that Henry Sidgwick’s account of the relationship between the right and the good, as well as his theory of the good are still undervalued in many respects. An applied section illustrates the practical significance of this finding. In cases in which shooting down a passenger plane can save a greater number of people on the ground, and no other relevant considerations apply, the passengers should desire their own destruction—not only to promote the general good, but also in (...) order to reach the only good they can still secure for themselves: giving their inevitable deaths a positive meaning. This utilitarian position regarding some one-versus-the-many cases has been overlooked in the German Supreme Court ruling on the destruction of 9/11 airplanes in 2006. (shrink)
In this review of Brooke Harrington's edited collection of essays on deception, written by people from different disciplines and giving us a good "status report" on what various disciplines have to say about deception and lying, I reject social psychologist Mark Frank's taxonomy of passive deception, active consensual deception, and active non-consensual deception (active consensual deception is not deception), as well as his definition of deception as "anything that misleads another for some gain" ("for gain" is a reason for engaging (...) in deception, not part of its definition). I also take issue with management professor Guido Mollering's claim that all deception involves a violation of trust. (shrink)
I address a question in moral metaphysics: How are conflicts between moral obligations possible? I begin by explaining why we cannot give a satisfactory answer to this question simply by positing that such conflicts are conflicts between rules, principles, or reasons. I then develop and defend the “Dispositional Account,” which posits that conflicts between moral obligations are conflicts between the manifestations of obligating dispositions (obligating powers, capacities, etc.), just as conflicts between physical forces are conflicts between the manifestations of (certain) (...) causal dispositions (causal powers, capacities, etc.). This account combines the so-called “moral forces” interpretation of prima facie obligations with a dispositional moral metaphysic according to which the metaphysical grounds of moral obligations are not rules or laws, but rather real, irreducibly dispositional properties (or powers) of moral agents and patients. My principal aims are to offer a theoretically attractive and suitably metaphysical account of conflicts of obligation, and to show that the dispositional moral metaphysic that grounds the Dispositional Account can explain and accommodate plausible normative views that rule- and law-based alternatives cannot, as well as to answer objections that have been pressed against other accounts of moral conflict (especially Ross’s) that appeal to moral dispositions or forces. (shrink)
I argue that, because of scarcity, the right to life cannot imply an obligation on others to save the life of the right-holder, and that collectivising resources for health care not only ensures that resources are used inefficiently and inappropriately but also removes from people the authority to make decisions for themselves about matters of health, life and death.
Cranston argued that scarcity makes universal welfare rights impossible. After showing that this argument cannot be avoided by denying scarcity, I consider four challenges to the argument which accept the possibility of conflicts between the duties implied by rights. The first denies the agglomeration principle; the second embraces conflicts of duties; the third affirms the violability of all rights-based duties; and the fourth denies that duties to compensate are overriding. I argue that all four challenges to the scarcity argument are (...) unsuccessful. I then discuss Eddy’s recent challenge, which makes welfare rights context dependent, but I argue that this also fails because it makes rights unknowable. I conclude that the scarcity argument, restated in the light of the discussion, shows that universal welfare rights, as ordinarily understood, are impossible and I explain the philosophical and practical significance of this conclusion. (shrink)
It is the purpose of this article to make the positive case for an under-appreciated conception of rights: specified rights. In contrast to rights conceived generally, a specified right can stand against different behaviour in different circumstances, so that what conflicts with a right in one context may not conflict with it in another. The specified conception of rights thus combines into a single inquiry the two questions that must be answered in invoking the general conception of rights, identifying the (...) content of a right in light of what is justifiable to do under the circumstances. I present the case for specificationism in four sections, focusing on property rights. First, I argue that rights are based upon more fundamental reasons, and that this instrumentalism is compatible only with specificationism—a fact necessity cases illuminate. Next, I explain how specificationism embodies a fully moralized understanding of rights, and point to a dilemma that one faces in denying this. Third, I argue that the gap in property rights exposed in necessity cases entails that there is no right-based duty to compensate in such cases. Finally, I offer an error theory to explain the (false) attraction of the general conception of property rights. (shrink)
Sidgwick’s dualism of the practical reason is the idea that since egoism and utilitarianism aim both to have rational supremacy in our practical decisions, whenever they conflict there is no stronger reason to follow the dictates of either view. The dualism leaves us with a practical problem: in conflict cases, we cannot be guided by practical reason to decide what all things considered we ought to do. There is an epistemic problem as well: the conflict of egoism and utilitarianism shows (...) that they cannot be both self-evident principles. Only the existence of a just God could, for Sidgwick, prevent the conflict and thus solve the dualism. The paper first explores in detail and rejects some reconstructions of the dualism: a purely logical account, and accounts whereby egoism and utilitarianism are principles of pro tanto reasons or of sufficient reasons. Then it proposes a better account, in which egoism and utilitarianism are logically compatible and yet conflicting principles of all things considered reason. The account is shown to fit with Sidgwick’s view of the dualism and of its practical and epistemic pitfalls. Finally, some views are discussed as to the wider positive significance of the dualism, regarded as a challenge to the rational authority of morality, or as indicating the structural opposition of agentrelative and agent-neutral reasons, or again as the imperfect yet amendable attempt at a comprehensive pluralist theory of practical reasons. (shrink)
Do we violate human rights when we cooperate with and impose a global institutional order that engenders extreme poverty? Thomas Pogge argues that by shaping and enforcing the social conditions that foreseeably and avoidably cause global poverty we are violating the negative duty not to cooperate in the imposition of a coercive institutional order that avoidably leaves human rights unfulfilled. This article argues that Pogge's argument fails to distinguish between harms caused by the global institutions themselves and harms caused by (...) the domestic policies of particular states and collective action problems for which collective responsibility cannot be assigned. The article also argues that his position relies on questionable factual and theoretical claims about the impact of global institutions on poverty, and about the benefits and harms of certain features of these institutions. Participation in, and benefit from, global institutions is unlikely to constitute a violation of our negative duties towards the poor. Key Words: justice international regimes institutions human rights trade. (shrink)
Liberal nationalism is a boundary‐making project, and a feature of this boundary‐making enterprise is the belief that the compatriots have a certain priority over strangers. For this reason it is often thought that liberal nationalism cannot be compatible with the demands of global egalitarianism. In this essay, I examine the sense in which liberal nationalism privileges compatriots, and I argue that, properly understood, the idea of partiality for compatriots in the context of liberal nationalism is not at odds with global (...) equal concern for all persons. In particular, I argue that the three central goals and aspirations of liberal nationalism—promoting individual autonomy and cultural identity, the realization of deliberative democracy, and the aspiration for social justice within the state—do not entail or require a form of compatriot partiality that is inconsistent with the demands of global egalitarian justice. (shrink)
Practical conflicts pervade human life. Agents have many different desires, goals, and commitments, all of which can come into conflict with each other. How can practical reasoning help to resolve these practical conflicts? In this collection of essays a distinguished roster of philosophers analyse the diverse forms of practical conflict. Their aim is to establish an understanding of the sources of these conflicts, to investigate the challenge they pose to an adequate conception of practical reasoning, and to assess the degree (...) to which that challenge can be met. These essays will serve as a major resource for students of philosophy but will also interest students and professionals in related fields of the social sciences such as psychology, political science, sociology and economics. (shrink)
I argue that any theory of moral obligation must be able to explain two things: why we cannot be thrust into a moral dilemma through no fault of our own, and why we can get into a moral dilemma through our own negligence. The most intuitive theory of moral obligation cannot do so. However, I offer a theory of moral obligation that satisfies both of these criteria, one that is founded on the principle that if you are required to do (...) something, then you would be blameworthy for failing to do it. I conclude by relating these results to the current literature on moral dilemmas. (shrink)
According to the idea of "dirty hands in politics" politicians sometimes have to do what is morally wrong. I discuss the two main versions of this thesis: the "difference-thesis" and the "dilemma-thesis". I argue that there are no convincing arguments for neither of them. Politics, too, lies inside the scope of morality.
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. (shrink)
It appears that it would almost always be wrong to punish a person for having performed a morally justified action. The axiom of “weak retributivism” maintains that the state must not routinely punish those who have not broken a just law. However, it seems that respect for the rule of law and for majority rule requires government officials to punish individuals for breaking laws that may be somewhat unjust. An impartial and democratic state could not function if individuals flouted institutional (...) rules any time the rules are a bit unjust. A principled concern for “systemic values” therefore entails that a state must routinely punish persons who have broken a law that may not be just. (shrink)
According to a widely accepted philosophical model, agent-regret is practically significant and appropriate when the agent committed a mistake, or she faced a conflict of obligations. I argue that this account misunderstands moral phenomenology because it does not adequately characterize the object of agent-regret. I suggest that the object of agent-regret should be defined in terms of valuable unchosen alternatives supported by reasons. This model captures the phenomenological varieties of regret and explains its practical significance for the agent. My contention (...) is that agent-regret is a mode of valuing: a way in which the agent expresses and confers value. (shrink)