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  1. Uncertainty in Moral Theory: An Epistemic Defense of Rule-Utilitarian Liberties.Stephen W. Ball - 1990 - Theory and Decision 29 (2):133-160.
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  2. Uncertainty and Probability Within Utilitarian Theory.Jonathan Baron - 2017 - Diametros 53:6-25.
    Probability is a central concept in utilitarian moral theory, almost impossible to do without. I attempt to clarify the role of probability, so that we can be clear about what we are aiming for when we apply utilitarian theory to real cases. I point out the close relationship between utilitarianism and expected-utility theory, a normative standard for individual decision-making. I then argue that the distinction between “ambiguity” and risk is a matter of perception. We do not need this distinction in (...)
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  3. Moral Uncertainty and Permissibility: Evaluating Option Sets.Christian Barry & Patrick Tomlin - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (6):1-26.
    In this essay, we explore an issue of moral uncertainty: what we are permitted to do when we are unsure about which moral principles are correct. We develop a novel approach to this issue that incorporates important insights from previous work on moral uncertainty, while avoiding some of the difficulties that beset existing alternative approaches. Our approach is based on evaluating and choosing between option sets rather than particular conduct options. We show how our approach is particularly well-suited to address (...)
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  4. Moral Disagreement and Epistemic Advantages: A Challenge to McGrath.Sherman Benjamin - 2014 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (3):1-18.
    Sarah McGrath (2008; 2011) argues that, when it comes to our controversial moral views, we have no reason to think we are less likely to be in error than those who disagree with us. I refer to this position as the Moral Peer View (MPV). Under pressure from Nathan King (2011a; 2011b), McGrath admits that the Moral Peer View need not always have been true, though she maintains it is true now. Although King seems to think there should be current (...)
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  5. Should We Treat Vegetative and Minimally Conscious Patients as Persons?Matthew Braddock - 2017 - Neuroethics 10 (2):267-280.
    How should we treat patients diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) or minimally conscious state (MCS)? More specifically, should we treat them as having the full moral status of persons? Yes, or so we argue. First, we introduce the medical conditions of PVS, MCS, and the related conditions of Locked-in Syndrome and covert awareness. Second, we characterize the main argument for thinking diagnosed PVS patients are not persons. Third, we contend that this argument is defeated by mounting (...)
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  6. The Uncertainty of Consciousness and Why It Is Important.Matthew Braddock - 2017 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 8 (3):155-157.
  7. Retributivism, Consequentialism, and the Risk of Punishing the Innocent: The Troublesome Case of Proxy Crimes.Piotr Bystranowski - 2017 - Diametros 53:26-49.
    This paper discusses differences between two major schools in philosophy of criminal law, retributivism and consequentialism, with regard to the risk of punishing the innocent. As it is argued, the main point of departure between these two camps in this respect lies in their attitude towards the high evidentiary threshold in a criminal trial: while retributivism seems to strongly support setting this standard high, consequentialists may find it desirable to relax it in some cases. This discussion is set in the (...)
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  8. A Response to Commentators on "Human Embryo Research and the Language of Moral Uncertainty".William P. Cheshire - 2004 - American Journal of Bioethics 4 (1):31-32.
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  9. Human Embryo Research and the Language of Moral Uncertainty.William P. Cheshire - 2004 - American Journal of Bioethics 4 (1):1 – 5.
    In bioethics as in the sciences, enormous discussions often concern the very small. Central to public debate over emerging reproductive and regenerative biotechnologies is the question of the moral status of the human embryo. Because news media have played a prominent role in framing the vocabulary of the debate, this study surveyed the use of language reporting on human embryo research in news articles spanning a two-year period. Terminology that devalued moral status - for example, the descriptors things, property, tissue, (...)
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  10. In Defence of the Epistemological Objection to Divine Command Theory.John Danaher - forthcoming - Sophia:1-20.
    Divine Command Theories (DCTs) comes in several different forms but at their core all of these theories claims that certain moral statuses (most typically the status of being obligatory) exist in virtue of the fact that God has commanded them to exist. Several authors argue that this core version of the DCT is vulnerable to an epistemological objection. According to this objection, DCT is deficient because certain groups of moral agents lack epistemic access to God’s commands. But there is confusion (...)
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  11. Does Religion Deserve a Place in Secular Medicine?Brian D. Earp - 2015 - Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (11):865-866.
  12. Moral Deference.David Enoch - manuscript
    Everyone agrees, I think, that there is something fishy about moral deference and expertise, but that's where consensus ends. This paper has two aims – the first is to mount a defense of moral deference, and the second is to offer a (non-debunking) diagnosis of its fishiness. I defend moral deference by connecting the discussion of moral deference to the recent discussion of the appropriate response to uncertainty. It is, I argue, morally obligatory to minimize the risk of one's wrongdoing (...)
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  13. Non-Cognitivism and the Classification Account of Moral Uncertainty.John Eriksson & Ragnar Francén Olinder - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):719-735.
    ABSTRACTIt has been objected to moral non-cognitivism that it cannot account for fundamental moral uncertainty. A person is derivatively uncertain about whether an act is, say, morally wrong, when her certainty is at bottom due to uncertainty about whether the act has certain non-moral, descriptive, properties, which she takes to be wrong-making. She is fundamentally morally uncertain when her uncertainty directly concerns whether the properties of the act are wrong-making. In this paper we advance a new reply to the objection (...)
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  14. On the Noncomparability of Judgments Made by Different Ethical Theories.Edward J. Gracely - 1996 - Metaphilosophy 27 (3):327-332.
    A major focus of ethical argumentation is determining the relative merits of proposed ethical systems. Nevertheless, even the demonstration that a given ethical system was the one most likely to be correct would not establish that an agent should act in accord with that system. Consider, for example, a situation in which the ethical system most likely to be valid is modestly supportive of a certain action, whereas a less plausible system strongly condemns the same action. Should the agent perform (...)
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  15. Human Embryo Research: From Moral Uncertainty to Death.Frederick Grinnell - 2004 - American Journal of Bioethics 4 (1):12 – 13.
    Conventional approaches to pluralistic thinking in bioethics usually attempt in one fashion or another to isolate and choose between the different perspectives. I would argue, however, that the essentialist and existentialist perspectives on the embryo each are internally self-consistent and ethically correct within their own framework and at the same time mutually exclusive. Therefore, we will Žnd no ethical high ground on which to base a choice. Rather, human embryo research will continue to be characterized by a multiplicity of views (...)
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  16. Don’T Know, Don’T Kill: Moral Ignorance, Culpability, and Caution.Alexander A. Guerrero - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (1):59-97.
    This paper takes on several distinct but related tasks. First, I present and discuss what I will call the "Ignorance Thesis," which states that whenever an agent acts from ignorance, whether factual or moral, she is culpable for the act only if she is culpable for the ignorance from which she acts. Second, I offer a counterexample to the Ignorance Thesis, an example that applies most directly to the part I call the "Moral Ignorance Thesis." Third, I argue for a (...)
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  17. In Defence of My Favourite Theory.Johan E. Gustafsson & Olle Torpman - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (2):159-174.
    One of the principles on how to act under moral uncertainty, My Favourite Theory, says roughly that a morally conscientious agent chooses an option that is permitted by the most credible moral theory. In defence of this principle, we argue that it prescribes consistent choices over time, without relying on intertheoretic comparisons of value, while its main rivals are either plagued by moral analogues of money pumps or in need of a method for making non-arbitrary intertheoretic comparisons. We rebut the (...)
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  18. Moral Knowledge and Moral Uncertainty.Oswald Hanfling - 2008 - Philosophical Investigations 31 (2):105–123.
    Applying a broadly Wittgensteinian view of knowledge and its relation to the conditions in which the word “know” is ordinarily used, the paper defends the claim that there can be knowledge in moral matters and rejects the idea that a cross‐culturally homogeneous moral language is a necessary condition for this. However, the fact that moral knowledge is available sometimes does not imply that it is available always. Taking issue in particular with Ronald Dworkin, the paper also argues that where moral (...)
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  19. Uncertainty and Control.Sven Ove Hansson - 2017 - Diametros 53:50-59.
    In a decision making context, an agent’s uncertainty can be either epistemic, i.e. due to her lack of knowledge, or agentive, i.e. due to her not having made use of her decision-making power. In cases when it is unclear whether or not a decision maker presently has control over her own future actions, it is difficult to determine whether her uncertainty is epistemic or agentive. Such situations are often difficult for the agent to deal with, but from an outsider’s perspective, (...)
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  20. Moral Uncertainty and Value Comparison.Amelia Hicks - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 13. Oxford, UK: pp. 161-183.
    Several philosophers have recently argued that decision-theoretic frameworks for rational choice under risk fail to provide prescriptions for choice in cases of moral uncertainty. They conclude that there are no rational norms that are “sensitive” to a decision-maker's moral uncertainty. But in this paper, I argue that one sometimes has a rational obligation to take one's moral uncertainty into account in the course of moral deliberation. I first provide positive motivation for the view that one's moral beliefs can affect what (...)
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  21. Subjectivization in Ethics.James L. Hudson - 1989 - American Philosophical Quarterly 26 (3):221 - 229.
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  22. When Do Risky Choices Justify Inequality?Keith Hyams - 2017 - Diametros 53:60-74.
    Luck egalitarianism is the view that inequalities are justified when and only when a particular condition is met. Recent years have seen considerable debate about the exact nature of the risky choices thought by luck egalitarians to justify inequality. All positions in the debate emphasise the importance of choice, but they differ in the precise details of how choice features in the inequality-justifying condition. The present paper argues for a novel view about the conditions under which risky choices should justify (...)
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  23. Absolutist Moral Theories and Uncertainty.Frank Jackson & Michael Smith - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (6):267-283.
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  24. The Effects of Risk on Initial Trust Formation.Svein Tvedt Johansen, Marcus Selart & Kjell Grønhaug - 2013 - Journal of Applied Social Psychology 43:1185-1199.
    This paper seeks to expand our understanding of initial trust by looking at how variation in risk influences the nature of trust and the process of initial trust formation. Four hypotheses were tested in two experiments involving participants with and without work experience. A first hypothesis suggested a positive relationship between a general propensity to trust and initial trust; a second hypothesis, a negative relationship between risk and initial trust; whereas a third hypothesis posited that risk would increase the importance (...)
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  25. You Ought to Φ Only If You May Believe That You Ought to Φ.Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):760-82.
    In this paper I present an argument for the claim that you ought to do something only if you may believe that you ought to do it. More exactly, I defend the following principle about normative reasons: An agent A has decisive reason to φ only if she also has sufficient reason to believe that she has decisive reason to φ. I argue that this principle follows from the plausible assumption that it must be possible for an agent to respond (...)
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  26. Authority, Oaths, Contracts, and Uncertainty in War.Seth Lazar - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):52-58.
    Soldiers sign contracts to obey lawful orders; they also swear oaths to this end. The enlistment contract for the Armed Forces of the United States combines both elements: -/- '9a. My enlistment is more than an employment agreement. As a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, I will be: (1) Required to obey all lawful orders and perform all assigned duties … (4) Required upon order to serve in combat or other hazardous situations.' -/- We standardly think (...)
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  27. The Puzzle of Pure Moral Motivation.Adam Lerner - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    People engage in pure moral inquiry whenever they inquire into the moral features of some act, agent, or state of affairs without inquiring into the non-moral features of that act, agent, or state of affairs. This chapter argues that ordinary people act rationally when they engage in pure moral inquiry, and so any adequate view in metaethics ought to be able to explain this fact. The Puzzle of Pure Moral Motivation is to provide such an explanation. This chapter argues that (...)
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  28. The Unity of Reason.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Clayton Littlejohn John Turri (ed.), Epistemic Norms: New Essays on Action, Belief, and Assertion.
    Cases of reasonable, mistaken belief figure prominently in discussions of the knowledge norm of assertion and practical reason as putative counterexamples to these norms. These cases are supposed to show that the knowledge norm is too demanding and that some weaker norm ought to put in its place. These cases don't show what they're intended to. When you assert something false or treat some falsehood as if it's a reason for action, you might deserve an excuse. You often don't deserve (...)
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  29. Moral Uncertainty and its Consequences.Ted Lockhart - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
    We are often uncertain how to behave morally in complex situations. In this controversial study, Ted Lockhart contends that moral philosophy has failed to address how we make such moral decisions. Adapting decision theory to the task of decision-making under moral uncertainly, he proposes that we should not always act how we feel we ought to act, and that sometimes we should act against what we feel to be morally right. Lockhart also discusses abortion extensively and proposes new ways to (...)
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  30. Professions, Confidentiality, and Moral Uncertainty.Ted Lockhart - 1992 - Professional Ethics 1 (3/4):33-52.
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  31. Global Duties in the Face of Uncertainty.Sylvie Loriaux - 2017 - Diametros 53:75-95.
    This paper aims to highlight the role played by uncertainties in global justice theories. It will start by identifying four kinds of uncertainties that could potentially have an impact on the nature, content and very existence of global duties: first, uncertainties regarding the causes of global injustices; second, uncertainties regarding the consequences of global justice initiatives; third, uncertainties pertaining to the 'imperfect' character of certain global duties; and fourth, uncertainties regarding the conduct of others. It will discuss each of these (...)
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  32. Normative Uncertainty as a Voting Problem.William MacAskill - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):967-1004.
    Some philosophers have recently argued that decision-makers ought to take normative uncertainty into account in their decisionmaking. These philosophers argue that, just as it is plausible that we should maximize expected value under empirical uncertainty, it is plausible that we should maximize expected choice-worthiness under normative uncertainty. However, such an approach faces two serious problems: how to deal with merely ordinal theories, which do not give sense to the idea of magnitudes of choice-worthiness; and how, even when theories do give (...)
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  33. Smokers, Psychos, and Decision-Theoretic Uncertainty.William MacAskill - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (9):425-445.
    In this paper I propose an approach to decision theory that I call metanormativism, where the key idea is that decision theory should take into account decision-theoretic uncertainty. I don’t attempt to argue in favor of this view, though I briefly offer some motivation for it. Instead, I argue that if the view is correct, it has important implications for the causal versus evidential decision-theory debate. First, it allows us to make rational sense of our seemingly divergent intuitions across the (...)
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  34. Normative Uncertainty.William MacAskill - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    We are often unsure about what we ought to do. This can be because we lack empirical knowledge, such as the extent to which future generations will be harmed by climate change. It can also be because we lack normative knowledge, such as the relative moral importance of the interests of present people and the interests of future people. However, though the question of how one ought to act under empirical uncertainty has been addressed extensively by both economists and philosophers---with (...)
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  35. The Infectiousness of Nihilism.William MacAskill - 2013 - Ethics 123 (3):508-520.
    In “Rejecting Ethical Deflationism,” Jacob Ross argues that a rational decision maker is permitted, for the purposes of practical reasoning, to assume that nihilism is false. I argue that Ross’s argument fails because the principle he relies on conflicts with more plausible principles of rationality and leads to preference cycles. I then show how the infectiousness of nihilism, and of incomparability more generally, poses a serious problem for the larger project of attempting to incorporate moral uncertainty into expected value maximization (...)
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  36. Abortion and Moral Risk.D. Moller - 2011 - Philosophy 86 (3):425-443.
    It is natural for those with permissive attitudes toward abortion to suppose that, if they have examined all of the arguments they know against abortion and have concluded that they fail, their moral deliberations are at an end. Surprisingly, this is not the case, as I argue. This is because the mere risk that one of those arguments succeeds can generate a moral reason that counts against the act. If this is so, then liberals may be mistaken about the morality (...)
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  37. Moral Risk.Dan Moller - unknown
    It is natural for those with permissive attitudes toward abortion to suppose that, if they have examined all of the arguments they know against abortion and have concluded that they fail, their moral deliberations are at an end. Surprisingly, this is not the case, as I argue. This is because the mere risk that one of those arguments succeeds can generate a moral reason that counts against the act. If this is so, then liberals may be mistaken about the morality (...)
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  38. Book Reviews:Living with Uncertainty: The Moral Significance of Ignorance. [REVIEW]Dan Moller - 2009 - Ethics 119 (3):606-611.
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  39. Reasoning with Comparative Moral Judgements: An Argument for Moral Bayesianism.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2017 - In Rafal Urbaniak & Gillman Payette (eds.), Applications of Formal Philosophy - The Road Less Travelled. Cham: Springer. pp. 113-136.
    The paper discusses the notion of reasoning with comparative moral judgements (i.e judgements of the form “act a is morally superior to act b”) from the point of view of several meta-ethical positions. Using a simple formal result, it is argued that only a version of moral cognitivism that is committed to the claim that moral beliefs come in degrees can give a normatively plausible account of such reasoning. Some implications of accepting such a version of moral cognitivism are discussed.
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  40. Against Moral Hedging.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2015 - Economics and Philosophy (3):1-21.
    It has been argued by several philosophers that a morally motivated rational agent who has to make decisions under conditions of moral uncertainty ought to maximize expected moral value in his choices, where the expectation is calculated relative to the agent's moral uncertainty. I present a counter-example to this thesis and to a larger family of decision rules for choice under conditions of moral uncertainty. Based on this counter-example, I argue against the thesis and suggest a reason for its failure (...)
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  41. A Triviality Result for the “Desire by Necessity” Thesis.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2015 - Synthese 192 (8):2535-2556.
    A triviality result for what Lewis called “the Desire by Necessity Thesis” and Broome : 265–267, 1991) called “the Desire as Expectation Thesis” is presented. The result shows that this thesis and three other reasonable conditions can be jointly satisfied only in trivial cases. Some meta-ethical implications of the result are discussed. The discussion also highlights several issues regarding Lewis ’ original triviality result for “the Desire as Belief Thesis” that have not been properly understood in the literature.
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  42. Doing the Best One Can: A New Justification for the Use of Lotteries.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2012 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 5 (1):45-72.
    : In some cases in which rational and moral agents experience moral uncertainty, they are unable to assign exact degrees of moral value—in a non-arbitrary way—to some of the different acts available to them, and so are unable to choose with certainty the best act. This article presents a new justification for the use of lotteries in this kind of situation. It is argued that sometimes the only rational thing for a morally motivated agent to do here is to use (...)
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  43. Can an Irrational Agent Reason Himself to Rationality?Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2010 - Working Papers- The Choice Group.
    When an agent that accepts transitivity of preferences as a principle of rationality finds himself expressing intransitive preferences, he has to change some of his expressed preferences so that transitivity will be restored. When such an agent also believes in the existence of some independent betterness relation among the alternatives over which he forms his preferences, it is reasonable to demand that the way he changes his intransitive expressed preferences will be sensitive to his beliefs regarding this betterness relation. It (...)
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  44. Metanormative Contextualism and Normative Uncertainty.John Pittard & Alex Worsnip - 2017 - Mind 126 (501):155-193.
    We offer a new argument in favour of metanormative contextualism, the thesis that the semantic value of a normative ‘ought’ claim of the form ‘ S ought to Φ’ depends on the value of one or more parameters whose values vary in a way that is determined by the context of utterance. The debate over this contextualist thesis has centred on cases that involve ‘ought’ claims made in the face of uncertainty regarding certain descriptive facts. Contextualists, relativists, and invariantists all (...)
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  45. Uncertainty, Indeterminacy, and Agent-Centred Constraints.Douglas W. Portmore - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):284-298.
    Common-sense morality includes various agent-centred constraints, including ones against killing unnecessarily and breaking a promise. However, it's not always clear whether, had an agent ϕ-ed, she would have violated a constraint. And sometimes the reason for this is not that we lack knowledge of the relevant facts, but that there is no fact about whether her ϕ-ing would have constituted a constraint-violation. What, then, is a constraint-accepting theory to say about whether it would have been permissible for her to have (...)
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  46. Zimmerman, Michael J.. Ignorance and Moral Obligation.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. Ix+149. $55.00.Douglas W. Portmore - 2015 - Ethics 125 (4):1236-1241.
    Review of Michael J. Zimmerman's Ignorance and Moral Obligation.
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  47. Living with Uncertainty: The Moral Significance of Ignorance * By MICHAEL J. ZIMMERMAN. [REVIEW]Linda Radzik - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):785-787.
    Michael J. Zimmerman offers a conceptual analysis of the moral ‘ought’ that focuses on moral decision-making under uncertainty. His central case, originally presented by Frank Jackson, concerns a doctor who must choose among three treatments for a minor ailment. Her evidence suggests that drug B will partially cure her patient, that one of either drug A or C would cure him completely, but that the other drug would kill him. Accepting the intuition that the doctor ought to choose drug B, (...)
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  48. Coping with Moral Uncertainty. [REVIEW]Peter Railton - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):794-801.
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  49. Ambivalence, Emotional Perceptions, and the Concern with Objectivity.Hili Razinsky - 2017 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 4 (2):211-228.
    Hili Razinsky, free downlad at link. ABSTRACT: Emotional perceptions are objectivist (objectivity-directed or cognitive) and conscious, both attributes suggesting they cannot be ambivalent. Yet perceptions, including emotional perceptions of value, allow for strictly objectivist ambivalence in which a person unitarily perceives the object in mutually undermining ways. Emotional perceptions became an explicandum of emotion for philosophers who are sensitive to the unique conscious character of emotion, impressed by the objectivist character of perceptions, and believe that the perceptual account solves a (...)
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  50. Rejecting Ethical Deflationism.Jacob Ross - 2006 - Ethics 116 (4):742-768.
    One of the perennial challenges of ethical theory has been to provide an answer to a number of views that appear to undermine the importance of ethical questions. We may refer to such views collectively as “deflationary ethical theories.” These include theories, such as nihilism, according to which no action is better than any other, as well as relativistic theories according to which no ethical theory is better than any other. In this article I present a new response to such (...)
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