What if We Contain Multiple Morally Relevant Subjects?

Utilitas 34 (3):317-334 (2022)
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First, I introduce the concept of a “non-agential subject,” where a non-agential subject exists within an organism and has phenomenally conscious experiences in a morally significant way, but is not morally responsible for the organism's voluntary actions. Second, I argue that it's a live possibility that typical adult humans contain non-agential subjects. Finally, I argue that, if there are non-agential subjects, this has important and surprising implications for a variety of ethical issues. Accordingly, ethicists should pay more attention to whether there are non-agential subjects and what their implications for ethics would be.



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Dustin Crummett
University of Notre Dame

Citations of this work

The Many-Subjects Argument against Physicalism.Brian Cutter - forthcoming - In Geoffrey Lee & Adam Pautz (eds.), The Importance of Being Conscious. Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Animal Liberation.Bill Puka & Peter Singer - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (4):557.
A Materialist Metaphysics of the Human Person.Hud Hudson - 2001 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
The Problem of the Many.Peter Unger - 1980 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1):411-468.
The Expressive Function of Punishment.Joel Feinberg - 1965 - The Monist 49 (3):397-423.

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