Silent prudence

Philosophical Explorations 12 (3):349-364 (2009)
It is commonly recognized that not all actions are candidates for moral evaluation. For instance, morality is silent on the issue whether to tie one's right shoe before one's left shoe or the other way around. This shoe-tying action is not a candidate for moral appraisal. The matter is amoral, for neither alternative is morally required nor forbidden, and both are permissible. It is not commonly recognized that not all actions are candidates for prudential evaluation. I shall argue, however, that there are cases of individual action over time, as well, that are aprudent in the sense that none of the alternatives under consideration are required or forbidden by prudence, but all of them are permissible. These are cases in which there is no fact of the matter as to what is the best choice for one. There are at least two such cases: first, cases in which the alternative courses of action open to one are incommensurable; and second, cases in which one's values are not yet determined and one is deciding what values to adopt, what sort of person to become, or what ideals to pursue. In these cases, prudence is silent on the question of what one ought to do. Indeed, I go on to argue prudence can even be silent on the question whether to act according to the values one currently holds or to pursue an entirely different course that will result in changes to one's values, which is the third case of aprudent choice
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2011
DOI 10.1080/13869790903067659
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,798
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle - 1999 - Courier Dover Publications.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
A Theory of Justice.John Rawls - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press. pp. 133-135.
The Possibility of Parity.Ruth Chang - 2002 - Ethics 112 (4):659-688.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Against the Tedium of Immortality.Donald W. Bruckner - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):623-644.
Self-Knowledge and Self-Love.Jan Bransen - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (2):309-321.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Reasoning with Moral Conflicts.John F. Horty - 2003 - Noûs 37 (4):557–605.
The Importance of Value Diversity in Corporate Life.Michael Santoro - 2003 - Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (4):433-452.
Knowledge Norms and Acting Well.Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):49-55.
The Trouble with Prudence.Anthony Simon Laden - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (1):19 – 40.
Moral and Political Prudence in Kant.Eric S. Nelson - 2004 - International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (3):305-319.
Can Morality Do Without Prudence?David Kaspar - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (2):311-326.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

26 ( #198,175 of 2,177,979 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #166,489 of 2,177,979 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums