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  1. In Dubious Battle: Uncertainty and the Ethics of Killing.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):859-883.
    How should deontologists concerned with the ethics of killing apply their moral theory when we don’t know all the facts relevant to the permissibility of our action? Though the stakes couldn’t be higher, and uncertainty is endemic where killing is concerned, few deontologists have an answer to this question. In this paper I canvass two possibilities: that we should apply a threshold standard, equivalent to the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard applied for criminal punishment; and that we should fit our (...)
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  • Making Ado Without Expectations.Mark Colyvan & Alan Hájek - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):829-857.
    This paper is a response to Paul Bartha’s ‘Making Do Without Expectations’. We provide an assessment of the strengths and limitations of two notable extensions of standard decision theory: relative expectation theory and Paul Bartha’s relative utility theory. These extensions are designed to provide intuitive answers to some well-known problems in decision theory involving gaps in expectations. We argue that both RET and RUT go some way towards providing solutions to the problems in question but neither extension solves all the (...)
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  • Consequentializing and its Consequences.S. Schroeder - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (6):1475-1497.
    Recently, a number of philosophers have argued that we can and should “consequentialize” non-consequentialist moral theories, putting them into a consequentialist framework. I argue that these philosophers, usually treated as a group, in fact offer three separate arguments, two of which are incompatible. I show that none represent significant threats to a committed non-consequentialist, and that the literature has suffered due to a failure to distinguish these arguments. I conclude by showing that the failure of the consequentializers’ arguments has implications (...)
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  • Moral Uncertainty in Bioethical Argumentation: A New Understanding of the Pro-Life View on Early Human Embryos.Tomasz Żuradzki - 2014 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (6):441-457.
    In this article, I present a new interpretation of the pro-life view on the status of early human embryos. In my understanding, this position is based not on presumptions about the ontological status of embryos and their developmental capabilities but on the specific criteria of rational decisions under uncertainty and on a cautious response to the ambiguous status of embryos. This view, which uses the decision theory model of moral reasoning, promises to reconcile the uncertainty about the ontological status of (...)
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  • Belief, Credence, and Norms.Lara Buchak - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):1-27.
    There are currently two robust traditions in philosophy dealing with doxastic attitudes: the tradition that is concerned primarily with all-or-nothing belief, and the tradition that is concerned primarily with degree of belief or credence. This paper concerns the relationship between belief and credence for a rational agent, and is directed at those who may have hoped that the notion of belief can either be reduced to credence or eliminated altogether when characterizing the norms governing ideally rational agents. It presents a (...)
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  • Rationality and Moral Risk: A Moderate Defense of Hedging.Christian Tarsney - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Maryland
    How should an agent decide what to do when she is uncertain not just about morally relevant empirical matters, like the consequences of some course of action, but about the basic principles of morality itself? This question has only recently been taken up in a systematic way by philosophers. Advocates of moral hedging claim that an agent should weigh the reasons put forward by each moral theory in which she has positive credence, considering both the likelihood that that theory is (...)
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  • Moral Uncertainty for Deontologists.Christian Tarsney - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):505-520.
    Defenders of deontological constraints in normative ethics face a challenge: how should an agent decide what to do when she is uncertain whether some course of action would violate a constraint? The most common response to this challenge has been to defend a threshold principle on which it is subjectively permissible to act iff the agent's credence that her action would be constraint-violating is below some threshold t. But the threshold approach seems arbitrary and unmotivated: what would possibly determine where (...)
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  • The Ethics of Climate Engineering: Solar Radiation Management and Non-Ideal Justice.Toby Svoboda - 2017 - Routledge.
    This book analyzes major ethical issues surrounding the use of climate engineering, particularly solar radiation management techniques, which have the potential to reduce some risks of anthropogenic climate change but also carry their own risks of harm and injustice. The book argues that we should approach the ethics of climate engineering via "non-ideal theory," which investigates what justice requires given the fact that many parties have failed to comply with their duty to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, it argues that (...)
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  • Action, Deontology, and Risk: Against the Multiplicative Model.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2017 - Ethics 127 (3):674-707.
    Deontological theories face difficulties in accounting for situations involving risk; the most natural ways of extending deontological principles to such situations have unpalatable consequences. In extending ethical principles to decision under risk, theorists often assume the risk must be incorporated into the theory by means of a function from the product of probability assignments to certain values. Deontologists should reject this assumption; essentially different actions are available to the agent when she cannot know that a certain act is in her (...)
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  • 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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  • Idealisations in Normative Models.Mark Colyvan - 2013 - Synthese 190 (8):1337-1350.
    In this paper I discuss the kinds of idealisations invoked in normative theories—logic, epistemology, and decision theory. I argue that very often the so-called norms of rationality are in fact mere idealisations invoked to make life easier. As such, these idealisations are not too different from various idealisations employed in scientific modelling. Examples of the latter include: fluids are incompressible (in fluid mechanics), growth rates are constant (in population ecology), and the gravitational influence of distant bodies can be ignored (in (...)
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  • Moral Priorities Under Risk.Chad Lee-Stronach - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (6):793-811.
    Many moral theories are committed to the idea that some kinds of moral considerations should be respected, whatever the cost to ‘lesser’ types of considerations. A person's life, for instance, should not be sacrificed for the trivial pleasures of others, no matter how many would benefit. However, according to the decision-theoretic critique of lexical priority theories, accepting lexical priorities inevitably leads us to make unacceptable decisions in risky situations. It seems that to operate in a risky world, we must reject (...)
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  • Axiological Absolutism and Risk.Seth Lazar & Chad Lee‐Stronach - 2019 - Noûs 53 (1):97-113.
    Consider the following claim: given the choice between saving a life and preventing any number of people from temporarily experiencing a mild headache, you should always save the life. Many moral theorists accept this claim. In doing so, they commit themselves to some form of ‘moral absolutism’: the view that there are some moral considerations that cannot be outweighed by any number of lesser moral considerations. In contexts of certainty, it is clear what moral absolutism requires of you. However, what (...)
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  • Geoengineering and Non-Ideal Theory.David R. Morrow & Toby Svoboda - 2016 - Public Affairs Quarterly 30 (1):85-104.
    The strongest arguments for the permissibility of geoengineering (also known as climate engineering) rely implicitly on non-ideal theory—roughly, the theory of justice as applied to situations of partial compliance with principles of ideal justice. In an ideally just world, such arguments acknowledge, humanity should not deploy geoengineering; but in our imperfect world, society may need to complement mitigation and adaptation with geoengineering to reduce injustices associated with anthropogenic climate change. We interpret research proponents’ arguments as an application of a particular (...)
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  • Exiting The Consequentialist Circle: Two Senses of Bringing It About.Paul Edward Hurley - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (2):130-163.
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  • Consequentialism and the Standard Story of Action.Paul Hurley - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (1):25-44.
    I challenge the common picture of the “Standard Story” of Action as a neutral account of action within which debates in normative ethics can take place. I unpack three commitments that are implicit in the Standard Story, and demonstrate that these commitments together entail a teleological conception of reasons, upon which all reasons to act are reasons to bring about states of affairs. Such a conception of reasons, in turn, supports a consequentialist framework for the evaluation of action, upon which (...)
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  • Right Decisions or Happy Decision-Makers?Katie Steele, Helen M. Regan, Mark Colyvan & Mark A. Burgman - 2007 - Social Epistemology 21 (4):349 – 368.
    Group decisions raise a number of substantial philosophical and methodological issues. We focus on the goal of the group decision exercise itself. We ask: What should be counted as a good group decision-making result? The right decision might not be accessible to, or please, any of the group members. Conversely, a popular decision can fail to be the correct decision. In this paper we discuss what it means for a decision to be "right" and what components are required in a (...)
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