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Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options

New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press (2019)

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  1. Consequentializing Constraints: A Kantsequentialist Approach.Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    There is, on a given moral view, a constraint against performing acts of a certain type if that view prohibits agents from performing an instance of that act-type even to prevent two or more others from each performing a morally comparable instance of that act-type. The fact that commonsense morality includes many such constraints has been seen by several philosophers as a decisive objection against consequentialism. Despite this, I argue that constraints are more plausibly accommodated within a consequentialist framework than (...)
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  • Supererogation and Conditional Obligation.Daniel Muñoz & Theron Pummer - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 2021:1-15.
    There are plenty of classic paradoxes about conditional obligations, like the duty to be gentle if one is to murder, and about “supererogatory” deeds beyond the call of duty. But little has been said about the intersection of these topics. We develop the first general account of conditional supererogation, with the power to solve familiar puzzles as well as several that we introduce. Our account, moreover, flows from two familiar ideas: that conditionals restrict quantification and that supererogation emerges from a (...)
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  • Morality and Practical Reasons.Douglas W. Portmore - 2021 - Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
    As Socrates famously noted, there is no more important question than how we ought to live. The answer to this question depends on how the reasons that we have for living in various different ways combine and compete. To illustrate, suppose that I've just received a substantial raise. What should I do with the extra money? I have most moral reason to donate it to effective charities but most self-interested reason to spend it on luxuries for myself. So, whether I (...)
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  • Infinite options, intransitive value, and supererogation.Daniel Muñoz - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):2063-2075.
    Supererogatory acts are those that lie “beyond the call of duty.” There are two standard ways to define this idea more precisely. Although the definitions are often seen as equivalent, I argue that they can diverge when options are infinite, or when there are cycles of better options; moreover, each definition is acceptable in only one case. I consider two ways out of this dilemma.
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  • Consequentialism.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - In Christian Miller (ed.), Bloomsbury Handbook of Ethics. Bloomsbury.
  • Attitudinal strength as distance to withholding.Andrew T. Forcehimes - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):963-981.
    How should we understand the relationship between binary belief and degree of belief? To answer this question, we should look to desire. Whatever relationship we think holds between desire and degree of desire should be used as our model for the relationship we think holds between belief and degree of belief. This parity pushes us towards an account that treats the binary attitudes as primary. But if we take binary beliefs as primary, we seem to face a serious problem. Binary (...)
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  • Actualism, Possibilism, and the Nature of Consequentialism.Yishai Cohen & Travis Timmerman - 2020 - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The actualism/possibilism debate in ethics is about whether counterfactuals of freedom concerning what an agent would freely do if they were in certain circumstances even partly determines that agent’s obligations. This debate arose from an argument against the coherence of utilitarianism in the deontic logic literature. In this chapter, we first trace the historical origins of this debate and then examine actualism, possibilism, and securitism through the lens of consequentialism. After examining their respective benefits and drawbacks, we argue that, contrary (...)
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  • Consequences of Comparability.Cian Dorr, Jake Nebel & Jake Zuehl - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    We defend three claims about preference, credence, and choice. First, all agents (not just rational ones) have complete preferences. Second, all agents (again, not just rational ones) have real-valued credences in every proposition in which they are confident to any degree. Third, there is almost always some unique thing we ought to do, want, or believe.
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  • Practical Moore Sentences.Matthew Mandelkern - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):39-61.
    I discuss what I call practical Moore sentences: sentences like ‘You must close your door, but I don’t know whether you will’, which combine an order together with an avowal of agnosticism about whether the order will be obeyed. I show that practical Moore sentences are generally infelicitous. But this infelicity is surprising: it seems like there should be nothing wrong with giving someone an order while acknowledging that you do not know whether it will obeyed. I suggest that this (...)
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  • Aesthetic Obligations.Robbie Kubala - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (12):1-13.
    Are there aesthetic obligations, and what would account for their binding force if so? I first develop a general, domain‐neutral notion of obligation, then critically discuss six arguments offered for and against the existence of aesthetic obligations. The most serious challenge is that all aesthetic obligations are ultimately grounded in moral norms, and I survey the prospects for this challenge alongside three non‐moral views about the source of aesthetic obligations: individual practical identity, social practices, and aesthetic value primitivism. I conclude (...)
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  • Actualism and Possibilism in Ethics.Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Dynamic Choice.Chrisoula Andreou - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Sometimes a series of choices do not serve one's concerns well even though each choice in the series seems perfectly well suited to serving one's concerns. In such cases, one has a dynamic choice problem. Otherwise put, one has a problem related to the fact that one's choices are spread out over time. This survey reviews some of the challenging choice situations and problematic preference structures that can prompt dynamic choice problems. It also reviews some proposed solutions, and explains how (...)
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