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  1. Epistemic Modesty in Ethics.Nicholas Laskowski - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1577-1596.
    Many prominent ethicists, including Shelly Kagan, John Rawls, and Thomas Scanlon, accept a kind of epistemic modesty thesis concerning our capacity to carry out the project of ethical theorizing. But it is a thesis that has received surprisingly little explicit and focused attention, despite its widespread acceptance. After explaining why the thesis is true, I argue that it has several implications in metaethics, including, especially, implications that should lead us to rethink our understanding of Reductive Realism. In particular, the thesis (...)
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  • Sweatshops and Free Action: The Stakes of the Actualism/Possibilism Debate for Business Ethics.Travis Timmerman & Abe Zakhem - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics.
    Whether an action is morally right depends upon the alternative acts available to the agent. Actualists hold that what an agent would actually do determines her moral obligations. Possibilists hold that what an agent could possibly do determines her moral obligations. Both views face compelling criticisms. Despite the fact that actualist and possibilist assumptions are at the heart of seminal arguments in business ethics, there has been no explicit discussion of actualism and possibilism in the business ethics literature. This paper (...)
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  • Deliberators Must Be Imperfect.Derek Baker - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):321-347.
    This paper argues that, with certain provisos, predicting one's future actions is incompatible with rationally deliberating about whether to perform those actions. It follows that fully rational omniscient agents are impossible, since an omniscient being could never rationally deliberate about what to do. Consequently, theories that explain practical reasons in terms of the choices of a perfectly rational omniscient agent must fail. The paper considers several ways of defending the possibility of an omniscient agent, and concludes that while some of (...)
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  • How to Be an Actualist and Blame People.Travis Timmerman & Philip Swenson - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility 6.
    The actualism/possibilism debate in ethics concerns the relationship between an agent’s free actions and her moral obligations. The actualist affirms, while the possibilist denies, that facts about what agents would freely do in certain circumstances partly determines that agent’s moral obligations. This paper assesses the plausibility of actualism and possibilism in light of desiderata about accounts of blameworthiness. This paper first argues that actualism cannot straightforwardly accommodate certain very plausible desiderata before offering a few independent solutions on behalf of the (...)
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  • How should we accommodate our future misbehavior? The answer turns on how bad it will be.Daniel Immerman - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3903-3922.
    Professor Procrastinate receives an invitation to review a book. Best would be to accept it and then write the review. But if he accepts it, he will never get around to writing. And this would be worse than declining. Should he accept? Possibilists say yes, Actualists say no, and I say we need more information. In particular, we lack some information about the level of goodness of the various options. For example, we lack information regarding how much better it would (...)
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  • Thinking Through Utilitarianism: A Guide to Contemporary Arguments.Andrew T. Forcehimes & Luke Semrau - 2019 - Hackett Publishing Company.
    _Thinking Through Utilitarianism: A Guide to Contemporary Arguments_ offers something new among texts elucidating the ethical theory known as Utilitarianism. Intended primarily for students ready to dig deeper into moral philosophy, it examines, in a dialectical and reader-friendly manner, a set of normative principles and a set of evaluative principles leading to what is perhaps the most defensible version of Utilitarianism. With the aim of laying its weaknesses bare, each principle is serially introduced, challenged, and then defended. The result is (...)
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  • Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The book concerns what I take to be the least controversial normative principle concerning action: you ought to perform your best option—best, that is, in terms of whatever ultimately matters. The book sets aside the question of what ultimately matters so as to focus on more basic issues, such as: What are our options? Do I have the option of typing out the cure for cancer if that’s what I would in fact do if I had the right intentions at (...)
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  • Actualism Has Control Issues.Yishai Cohen & Travis Timmerman - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (3):1-18.
    According to actualism, an agent ought to φ just in case what would happen if she were to φ is better than what would happen if she were to ~φ. We argue that actualism makes a morally irrelevant distinction between certain counterfactuals, given that an agent sometimes has the same kind of control over their truth-value. We then offer a substantive revision to actualism that avoids this morally irrelevant distinction by focusing on a certain kind of control that is available (...)
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  • Deliberators Must Be Imperfect.Derek Clayton Baker - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):321-347.
    This paper argues that, with certain provisos, predicting one's future actions is incompatible with rationally deliberating about whether to perform those actions. It follows that fully rational omniscient agents are impossible, since an omniscient being could never rationally deliberate about what to do . Consequently, theories that explain practical reasons in terms of the choices of a perfectly rational omniscient agent must fail. The paper considers several ways of defending the possibility of an omniscient agent, and concludes that while some (...)
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  • Moral Obligations: Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist?Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):672-686.
    Do facts about what an agent would freely do in certain circumstances at least partly determine any of her moral obligations? Actualists answer ‘yes’, while possibilists answer ‘no’. We defend two novel hybrid accounts that are alternatives to actualism and possibilism: Dual Obligations Hybridism and Single Obligation Hybridism. By positing two moral ‘oughts’, each account retains the benefits of actualism and possibilism, yet is immune from the prima facie problems that face actualism and possibilism. We conclude by highlighting one substantive (...)
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  • Does Ought Imply Ought Ought?Daniel Immerman - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):702-716.
    Knows-knows principles in epistemology say that if you know some proposition, then you are in a position to know that you know it. This paper examines the viability of analogous principles in ethics, which I call ought-ought principles. Several epistemologists have recently offered new defences of KK principles and of other related principles, and there has recently been an increased interest in examining analogies between ethics and epistemology, and so it seems natural to examine whether defences of KK and related (...)
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  • Actualism and Possibilism in Ethics.Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.