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  1. Are Humans More Equal Than Other Animals? An Evolutionary Argument Against Exclusively Human Dignity.Rainer Ebert - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-17.
    Secular arguments for equal and exclusively human worth generally tend to follow one of two strategies. One, which has recently gained renewed attention because of a novel argument by S. Matthew Liao, aims to directly ground worth in an intrinsic property that all humans have in common, whereas the other concedes that there is no morally relevant intrinsic difference between all humans and all other animals, and instead appeals to the membership of all humans in a special kind. In this (...)
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  2. The Paradox of Duties to Oneself.Daniel Muñoz - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-12.
    Philosophers have long argued that duties to oneself are paradoxical, as they seem to entail an incoherent power to release oneself from obligations. I argue that self-release is possible, both as a matter of deontic logic and of metaethics.
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  3. Experimental Ethics, Intuitions, and Morally Irrelevant Factors.Peter Königs - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    SEE BELOW ("EXTERNAL LINKS") FOR A FREELY AVAILABLE PDF OF THIS ARTICLE /// ABSTRACT: Studies suggest that people's moral intuitions are sensitive to morally irrelevant factors, such as personal force, spatial distance, ethnicity or nationality. Findings of this sort have been used to construct debunking arguments. The most prominent champion of this approach is Joshua Greene, who has attempted to undermine deontology by showing that deontological intuitions are triggered by morally irrelevant factors. This article offers a critical analysis of such (...)
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  4. How Should One Live? An Introduction to Ethics and Moral Reasoning.Bradley Thames - 2018 - San Diego, CA, USA: Bridgepoint Education.
    This book provides an entry-level introduction to philosophical ethics, theories of moral reasoning, and selected issues in applied ethics. Chapter 1 describes the importance of philosophical approaches to ethical issues, the general dialectical form of moral reasoning, and the broad landscape of moral philosophy. Chapter 2 presents egoism and relativism as challenges to the presumed objectivity and unconditionality of morality. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 discuss utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, respectively. Each chapter begins with a general overview of the (...)
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  5. The Importance of Being Committed: Thoughts on Korsgaard’s Sources of Normativity.Lydia L. Moland - 2003 - Southwest Philosophy Review 19 (1):215-220.
    A subject’s ethical agency is closely tied up with her particular commitments: her ethnic group, her family, her beliefs, her occupation. The question of how these specific commitments relate to the subject’s actions is therefore pivotal to describing moral agency. Christine Korsgaard has proposed a theory whereby a subject’s commitments are an essential part of her moral agency, namely her practical identity. According to this theory, having commitments is normative, a necessary component of an agent’s respect for her own humanity. (...)
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  6. Moral Status and the Impermissibility of Minimizing Violations.Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen - 1996 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 25 (4):333-351.
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  7. Commitments of a Divided Self: Authenticity, Autonomy and Change in Korsgaard's Ethics.Lydia L. Moland - 2008 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4 (1):25-44.
    Christine Korsgaard attempts to reinterpret Kantian ethics in a way that might alleviate Bernard Williams’ famous worry that a man cannot save his drowning wife without determining impartially that he may do so. She does this by dividing a reflective self that chooses the commitments that make up an agent’s practical identity from a self defined as a jumble of desires. An agent, she then argues, must act on the commitments chosen by the reflective self on pain of disintegration. Using (...)
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  8. Deontology, Individualism, and Uncertainty, a Reply to Jackson and Smith. Enoch & David - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (5).
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  9. In What Way Are Constraints Paradoxical?Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen - 1999 - Utilitas 11 (1):49.
    It is impermissible to violate a constraint, even if by doing so a greater number of violations of the very same constraint were to be prevented. Most find this puzzling. But what makes the impermissibility of such minimizing violations puzzling? This article discusses some recent answers to this question. The article's first aim is to make clear in what way these answers differ. The second aim is to evaluate the answers, along with Kamm's and Nagel's proposed solutions of what they (...)
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  10. Doctrine of Double Effect.Alison McIntyre - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  11. Off Her Trolley? Frances Kamm and the Metaphysics of Morality.Alastair Norcross - 2008 - Utilitas 20 (1):65-80.
    Frances Kamm's aptly titled Intricate Ethics is a tour de force of what Peter Unger calls the ‘preservationist’ approach to ethical theory. Here is some of what she says about her methodology: Consider as many case-based judgments of yours as prove necessary. Do not ignore some case-based judgments, assuming they are errors, just because they conflict with simple or intuitively plausible principles that account for some subset of your case-based judgments. Work on the assumption that a different principle can account (...)
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Paradox of Deontological Constraints
  1. Morality, Uncertainty.Chad Lee-Stronach - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    Non-Consequentialist moral theories posit the existence of moral constraints: prohibitions on performing particular kinds of wrongful acts, regardless of the good those acts could produce. Many believe that such theories cannot give satisfactory verdicts about what we morally ought to do when there is some probability that we will violate a moral constraint. In this article, I defend Non-Consequentialist theories from this critique. Using a general choice-theoretic framework, I identify various types of Non-Consequentialism that have otherwise been conflated in the (...)
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  2. The Intrapersonal Paradox of Deontology.Christa M. Johnson - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (3):279-301.
    In response to the so-called “paradox of deontology,” many have argued that the agent-relativity of deontological constraints accounts for why an agent may not kill one in order to prevent five others from being killed. Constraints provide reasons for particular agents not to kill, not reasons to minimize overall killings. In this paper, I tease out the significance of an underappreciated aspect of this agent-relative position, i.e. it provides no guidance as to what an agent ought to do when faced (...)
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  3. Doing, Allowing, and the Moral Relevance of the Past.Jason Hanna - 2015 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 12 (6):677-698.
    Most deontologists claim that it is more objectionable to do harm than it is to allow harm of comparable magnitude. I argue that this view faces a largely neglected puzzle regarding the moral relevance of an agent's past behavior. Consider an agent who chooses to save five people rather than one, where the one person's life is in jeopardy because of something the agent did earlier. How are the agent's obligations affected by the fact that his now letting the one (...)
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  4. Civic Trust.Ryan Preston-Roedder - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    It is a commonplace that there are limits to the ways we can permissibly treat people, even in the service of good ends. For example, we may not steal someone’s wallet, even if we plan to donate the contents to famine relief, or break a promise to help a colleague move, even if we encounter someone else on the way whose need is somewhat more urgent. In other words, we should observe certain constraints against mistreating people, where a constraint is (...)
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  5. 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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  6. Deontology, Incommensurability and the Arbitrary.Anthony Ellis - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):855-875.
    The article tries to show that what is often called 'Moderate Deontology' is incoherent.
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  7. Should We Prevent Deontological Wrongdoing?Re’em Segev - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2049-2068.
    Is there a reason to prevent deontological wrongdoing—an action that is wrong due to the violation of a decisive deontological constraint? This question is perplexing. On the one hand, the intuitive response seems to be positive, both when the question is considered in the abstract and when it is considered with regard to paradigmatic cases of deontological wrongdoing such as Bridge and Transplant. On the other hand, common theoretical accounts of deontological wrongdoing do not entail this answer, since not preventing (...)
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  8. Enabling Harm, Doing Harm, and Undoing One’s Own Behavior.Jason Hanna - 2015 - Ethics 126 (1):68-90.
    Philosophers disagree about the moral status of harm-enabling, or behavior by which an agent removes an obstacle to the completion of a threatening sequence. I argue that enabling harm is equivalent to doing harm, at least when an agent withdraws a resource to which neither she nor the victim has any prior moral claim. This conclusion reinforces the common objection that deontological appeals to the doing/allowing distinction cannot easily handle cases involving the withdrawal of aid. I argue that the existing (...)
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  9. Non-Consequentialism Demystified.Howard Nye, David Plunkett & John Ku - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    Morality seems important, in the sense that there are practical reasons — at least for most of us, most of the time — to be moral. A central theoretical motivation for consequentialism is that it appears clear that there are practical reasons to promote good outcomes, but mysterious why we should care about non-consequentialist moral considerations or how they could be genuine reasons to act. In this paper we argue that this theoretical motivation is mistaken, and that because many arguments (...)
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  10. Doing, Allowing, and the Moral Relevance of the Past.Jason Hanna - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (4):677-698.
    Most deontologists claim that it is more objectionable to do harm than it is to allow harm of comparable magnitude. I argue that this view faces a largely neglected puzzle regarding the moral relevance of an agent's past behavior. Consider an agent who chooses to save five people rather than one, where the one person's life is in jeopardy because of something the agent did earlier. How are the agent's obligations affected by the fact that his now letting the one (...)
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  11. Chisholm's Paradox and Conditional Oughts.Catharine Saint Croix & Richmond Thomason - 2014 - Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8554:192-207.
    Since it was presented in 1963, Chisholm’s paradox has attracted constant attention in the deontic logic literature, but without the emergence of any definitive solution. We claim this is due to its having no single solution. The paradox actually presents many challenges to the formalization of deontic statements, including (1) context sensitivity of unconditional oughts, (2) formalizing conditional oughts, and (3) distinguishing generic from nongeneric oughts. Using the practical interpretation of ‘ought’ as a guideline, we propose a linguistically motivated logical (...)
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  12. Are Deontological Constraints Irrational?Michael Otsuka - 2011 - In Ralf Bader & John Meadowcroft (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Nozick. Cambridge University Press.
    Most deontologists find bedrock in the Pauline doctrine that it is morally objectionable to do evil in order that good will come of it. Uncontroversially, this doctrine condemns the killing of an innocent person simply in order to maximize the sum total of happiness. It rules out the conscription of a worker to his or her certain death in order to repair a fault that is interfering with the live broadcast of a World Cup match that a billion spectators have (...)
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  13. The Consequentialist Perspective.Philip Pettit - 1997 - In M. Baron, P. Pettit & M. Slote (eds.), Three Methods of Ethics. Blackwell.
  14. Justicized Consequentialism: Prioritizing the Right or the Good?Simon Wigley - 2012 - Journal of Value Inquiry 46 (4):467-479.
    A standard criticism of act-utilitarianism is that it is only indirectly concerned with the distribution of welfare between individuals and, therefore, does not take adequate account of the separateness between individuals. In response a number of philosophers have argued that act-utilitarianism is only vulnerable to that objection because it adheres to a theory of the good which ignores non-welfarist sources of intrinsic value such as justice. Fred Feldman, for example, argues that intrinsic value is independently generated by the receipt of (...)
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  15. The Paradox of Deontology, Revisited.Ulrike Heuer - 2011 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics. Oxford University Press.
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  16. Lexical Priority and the Problem of Risk.Michael Huemer - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3):332-351.
    Some theories of practical reasons incorporate a lexical priority structure, according to which some practical reasons have infinitely greater weight than others. This includes absolute deontological theories and axiological theories that take some goods to be categorically superior to others. These theories face problems involving cases in which there is a non-extreme probability that a given reason applies. In view of such cases, lexical-priority theories are in danger of becoming irrelevant to decision-making, becoming absurdly demanding, or generating paradoxical cases in (...)
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  17. In Search of the Deep Structure of Morality: An Interview with Frances Kamm.Alex Voorhoeve & Frances Kamm - unknown
    An extended discussion with Frances Kamm about deontology and the methodology of ethical theorizing. (An extended and revised version appears in Alex Voorhoeve, Conversations on Ethics, OUP 2009).).
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  18. Can Consequentialism Be Reconciled with Our Common-Sense Moral Intuitions?Douglas W. Portmore - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 91 (1):1-19.
    Consequentialism is usually thought to be unable to accommodate many of our commonsense moral intuitions. In particular, it has seemed incompatible with the intuition that agents should not violate someone's rights even in order to prevent numerous others from committing comparable rights violations. Nevertheless, I argue that a certain form of consequentialism can accommodate this intuition: agent-relative consequentialism--the view according to which agents ought always to bring about what is, from their own individual perspective, the best available outcome. Moreover, I (...)
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Objections to Deontological Moral Theories, Misc
  1. Morality, Uncertainty.Chad Lee-Stronach - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    Non-Consequentialist moral theories posit the existence of moral constraints: prohibitions on performing particular kinds of wrongful acts, regardless of the good those acts could produce. Many believe that such theories cannot give satisfactory verdicts about what we morally ought to do when there is some probability that we will violate a moral constraint. In this article, I defend Non-Consequentialist theories from this critique. Using a general choice-theoretic framework, I identify various types of Non-Consequentialism that have otherwise been conflated in the (...)
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  2. Deontic Constraints Are Maximizing Rules.Matthew Hammerton - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-18.
    Deontic constraints prohibit an agent performing acts of a certain type even when doing so will prevent more instances of that act being performed by others. In this article I show how deontic constraints can be interpreted as either maximizing or non-maximizing rules. I then argue that they should be interpreted as maximizing rules because interpreting them as non-maximizing rules results in a problem with moral advice. Given this conclusion, a strong case can be made that consequentialism provides the best (...)
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  3. The Problem of Ignorance.Chad Lee-Stronach - 2019 - Ethics 130 (2):211-227.
    Holly Smith (2014) contends that subjective deontological theories – those that hold that our moral duties are sensitive to our beliefs about our situation – cannot correctly determine whether one ought to gather more information before acting. Against this contention, I argue that deontological theories can use a decision-theoretic approach to evaluating the moral importance of information. I then argue that this approach compares favourably with an alternative approach proposed by Philip Swenson (2016).
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  4. Morality Under Risk.Chad Lee-Stronach - 2019 - Dissertation,
    Many argue that absolutist moral theories -- those that prohibit particular kinds of actions or trade-offs under all circumstances -- cannot adequately account for the permissibility of risky actions. In this dissertation, I defend various versions of absolutism against this critique, using overlooked resources from formal decision theory. Against the prevailing view, I argue that almost all absolutist moral theories can give systematic and plausible verdicts about what to do in risky cases. In doing so, I show that critics have (...)
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  5. A New Defence of Probability Discounting.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2017 - In Adrian Walsh, Säde Hormio & Duncan Purves (eds.), The Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics. Oxford: Routledge. pp. 87-102.
    When probability discounting (or probability weighting), one multiplies the value of an outcome by one's subjective probability that the outcome will obtain in decision-making. The broader import of defending probability discounting is to help justify cost-benefit analyses in contexts such as climate change. This chapter defends probability discounting under risk both negatively, from arguments by Simon Caney (2008, 2009), and with a new positive argument. First, in responding to Caney, I argue that small costs and benefits need to be evaluated, (...)
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  6. Subjective Deontology and the Duty to Gather Information.Philip Swenson - 2016 - Ethics 127 (1):257-271.
    Holly Smith has recently argued that Subjective Deontological Moral Theories (SDM theories) cannot adequately account for agents’ duties to gather information. I defend SDM theories against this charge and argue that they can account for agents’ duties to inform themselves. Along the way, I develop some principles governing how SDM theories, and deontological moral theories in general, should assign ‘deontic value’ or ‘deontic weight’ to particular actions.
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  7. 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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  8. Moral Implications From Cognitive (Neuro)Science? No Clear Route.Micah Lott - 2016 - Ethics 127 (1):241-256.
    Joshua Greene argues that cognitive (neuro)science matters for ethics in two ways, the “direct route” and the “indirect route.” Greene illustrates the direct route with a debunking explanation of the inclination to condemn all incest. The indirect route is an updated version of Greene’s argument that dual-process moral psychology gives support for consequentialism over deontology. I consider each of Greene’s arguments, and I argue that neither succeeds. If there is a route from cognitive (neuro)science to ethics, Greene has not found (...)
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  9. The Argument From Self-Defeating Beliefs Against Deontology.Emilian Mihailov - 2015 - Ethical Perspectives 22 (4):573-600.
    There is a tendency to use data from neuroscience, cognitive science and experimental psychology to rail against philosophical ethics. Recently, Joshua Greene has argued that deontological judgments tend to be supported by emotional responses to irrelevant features, whereas consequentialist judgments are more reliable because they tend to be supported by cognitive processes. In this article, I will analyse the evidence used by Greene to suggest a different kind of argument against deontology, which I will call the argument from self-defeating beliefs. (...)
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  10. Prudence and Morality: Socrates Versus Moral Philosophers.Scott Berman - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (4):381-394.
  11. The Principle of Double Effect.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Absolutist systems of ethics have come in for harsh criticism on a number of fronts. The Principle of Double Effect was formulated by Catholic ethicists to overcome such objections. In this essay, Leslie Allan addresses four of the most prominent problems faced by an absolutist ethic and evaluates the extent to which the Principle of Double Effect is successful in avoiding or mitigating these criticisms.
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  12. The Evolution of Retribution: Intuitions Undermined.Isaac Wiegman - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2):490-510.
    Recent empirical work suggests that emotions are responsible for anti-consequentialist intuitions. For instance, anger places value on actions of revenge and retribution, value not derived from the consequences of these actions. As a result, it contributes to the development of retributive intuitions. I argue that if anger evolved to produce these retributive intuitions because of their biological consequences, then these intuitions are not a good indicator that punishment has value apart from its consequences. This severs the evidential connection between retributive (...)
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  13. Kantianism, Consequentialism and Deterrence.Steven Sverdlik - 2019 - In Christian Seidel (ed.), Consequentialism: New Directions, New Problems? Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 237-57.
    It is often argued that Kantian and consequentialist approaches to the philosophy of punishment differ on the question of whether using punishment to achieve deterrence is morally acceptable. I show that this is false: both theories judge it to be acceptable. Showing this requires attention to what the Formula of Humanity in Kant requires agents to do. If we use the correct interpretation of this formula we can also see that an anti-consequentialist moral principle used by Victor Tadros to criticize (...)
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  14. Chaos and Constraints.Howard Nye - 2014 - In David Boersema (ed.), Dimensions of Moral Agency. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 14-29.
    Agent-centered constraints on harming hold that some harmful upshots of our conduct cannot be justified by its generating equal or somewhat greater benefits. In this paper I argue that all plausible theories of agent-centered constraints on harming are undermined by the likelihood that our actions will have butterfly effects, or cause cascades of changes that make the world dramatically different than it would have been. Theories that impose constraints against only intended harming or proximally caused harm have unacceptable implications for (...)
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  15. Objective Double Effect and the Avoidance of Narcissism.Howard Nye - 2013 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 260-286.
    The Doctrine of Double Effect [DDE] states roughly that it is harder to justify causing or allowing harm as a means to an end than it is to justify conduct that results in harm as a side effect. This chapter argues that a theory of deontological constraints on harming needs something like the DDE in order to avoid the charge that it reflects a narcissistic obsession with the cleanliness of our own hands. Unfortunately, the DDE is often interpreted as maintaining (...)
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  16. Non-Consequentialism Demystified.Howard Nye, David Plunkett & John Ku - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    Morality seems important, in the sense that there are practical reasons — at least for most of us, most of the time — to be moral. A central theoretical motivation for consequentialism is that it appears clear that there are practical reasons to promote good outcomes, but mysterious why we should care about non-consequentialist moral considerations or how they could be genuine reasons to act. In this paper we argue that this theoretical motivation is mistaken, and that because many arguments (...)
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  17. Still in Hot Water: Doing, Allowing, and Rachels’ Bathtub Cases.Duncan Purves - 2011 - Southwest Philosophy Review 27 (1):129-137.
    The aim of this paper is to explain and defend a type of argument common in the doing/allowing literature called a “contrast argument.” I am concerned with defending a particular type of contrast argument that is intended to demonstrate the moral irrelevance of the doing/allowing distinction. This type of argument, referred to in this paper as an “irrelevance argument,” is exemplified by an argument offered by James Rachels (1975) that employs the Smith and Jones bathtub cases. My main contention in (...)
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  18. On the Equivalence of Trolleys and Transplants: The Lack of Intrinsic Difference Between ‘Collateral Damage’ and Intended Harm.Howard Nye - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (4):432-479.
    In this article I attempt to show conclusively that the apparent intrinsic difference between causing collateral damage and directly attacking innocents is an illusion. I show how eleven morally irrelevant alterations can transform an apparently permissible case of harming as a side-effect into an apparently impermissible case of harming as a means. The alterations are as obviously irrelevant as the victims’ skin colour, and consistently treating them as relevant would have unacceptable implications for choices between more and less harmful ways (...)
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  19. Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics.Joshua D. Greene - 2014 - Ethics 124 (4):695-726.
    In this article I explain why cognitive science (including some neuroscience) matters for normative ethics. First, I describe the dual-process theory of moral judgment and briefly summarize the evidence supporting it. Next I describe related experimental research examining influences on intuitive moral judgment. I then describe two ways in which research along these lines can have implications for ethics. I argue that a deeper understanding of moral psychology favors certain forms of consequentialism over other classes of normative moral theory. I (...)
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  20. Consequentialism, Deontology and the Morality of Promising.Nikil Mukerji - 2014 - In Johanna Jauernig & Christoph Lütge (eds.), Business Ethics and Risk Management. Springer. pp. 111-126.
    In normative ethics there has been a long-standing debate between consequentialists and deontologists. To settle this dispute moral theorists have often used a selective approach. They have focused on particular aspects of our moral practice and have teased out what consequentialists and deontologists have to say about it. One of the focal points of this debate has been the morality of promising. In this paper I review arguments on both sides and examine whether consequentialists or deontologists offer us a more (...)
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  21. Are Deontological Constraints Irrational?Michael Otsuka - 2011 - In Ralf Bader & John Meadowcroft (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Nozick. Cambridge University Press.
    Most deontologists find bedrock in the Pauline doctrine that it is morally objectionable to do evil in order that good will come of it. Uncontroversially, this doctrine condemns the killing of an innocent person simply in order to maximize the sum total of happiness. It rules out the conscription of a worker to his or her certain death in order to repair a fault that is interfering with the live broadcast of a World Cup match that a billion spectators have (...)
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