Dream immorality

Philosophy 82 (1):5-22 (2007)
Julia Driver
Washington University in St. Louis
This paper focuses on an underappreciated issue that dreams raise for moral evaluation: is immorality possible in dreams? The evaluatiotial internalist is committed to answering ‘yes.’ This is because the internalist account of moral evaluation holds that the moral quality of a person's actions, what a person does, her agency in any given case is completely determined by factors that are internal to that agency, such as the person's motives and/or intentions. Actual production of either good or bad effects is completely irrelevant to the moral evaluation of that agency. Since agency can be expressed in a dream, the internalist is committed to dream immorality. Some may take this as a reductio of evaluational internalism, but whether or not this is the case the issue reveals what such a theory is committed to. In this paper I explore the significance of dreams to morality, and argue that the absurdity of dream immorality supports an account of moral evaluation with an externalist component, rather than a purely internalist account of moral evaluation.
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819107319013
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