Wouldn’t It Be Nice If P, Therefore, P

Utilitas 21 (2):222-224 (2009)
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Abstract

Suppose that a world in which we have an utterly non-consequentialist moral status is a better world than one in which we don’t have such a status. Does this give any reason to believe that we have such moral status? Suppose that a world without moral luck is worse than a world with moral luck. Does this give any reason to believe that there is moral luck? The problem is that positive answers to these questions1 seem to commit us to instances of the inference ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if p, therefore, p’. Perhaps it would be nice if we had utterly nonconsequentialist dignity. How is this any reason to believe that we have such status? Perhaps it would be nice if there were moral luck. How is this any reason to believe that there is moral luck? Thus stated, such inferences look ridiculous, paradigmatic cases of wishful thinking.2 And yet they do not sound so obviously ridiculous, at least not as ridiculous as non-moral instances of the same argument schema3 (it would be nice if there were world peace, therefore, there is world peace). Can something be said in defence of such arguments, at least in morality?

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David Enoch
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Citations of this work

A Better World.Ryan Preston-Roedder - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (3):629-644.
Moral luck and the law.David Enoch - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (1):42-54.
How to Have Your Quasi-Cake and Quasi-Eat It Too.Sebastian Köhler - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (3):204-220.
On realist legitimacy.Fabian Wendt - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 32 (2):227-245.

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References found in this work

Personal Rights and Public Space.Thomas Nagel - 1995 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (2):83-107.

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