Open Duties

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (5):503-516 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper concerns a feature of the deontic landscape that, although pervasive, has hitherto escaped notice. None of the current categorizations of duties adequately capture a common and important form of duty, the “open duty.” The difference between open and closed duties, whether perfect or imperfect, rests not on the side of the end or action enjoined by the duty, but on that of the agents who are enjoined to act. An open duty belongs to more than one person, not all of whose performance of the action is required to fulfill the duty. An example would be the situation faced by American doctors following Hurricane Katrina, when it was imperative that some of them provide aid, but when it was just as necessary that many remain where they were to treat local patients. In this paper, I examine these duties’ nature and structure, and explain several of their more unusual features.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,227

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

A bundle of software rights and duties.David M. Douglas - 2011 - Ethics and Information Technology 13 (3):185-197.
On the Duties of Shared Parenting.Philip Cook - 2012 - Ethics and Social Welfare 6 (2):168-181.
Basic Positive Duties of Justice and Narveson's Libertarian Challenge.Pablo Gilabert - 2006 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):193-216.
Kant's ethics and duties to oneself.Lara Denis - 1997 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (4):321–348.
Collectives' Duties and Collectivisation Duties.Stephanie Collins - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):231-248.
A Liberal Defence of (Some) Duties to Compatriots.Seth Lazar - 2010 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (3):246-257.
Duties to Oneself, Duties of Respect to Others.Allen Wood - 2009 - In Thomas E. Hill (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Kant's Ethics. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 229–251.


Added to PP

77 (#216,834)

6 months
11 (#244,932)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Alexander Jech
University of Notre Dame

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Whatever happened to deontic logic?Peter T. Geach - 1982 - Philosophia 11 (1-2):1-12.
Responsibilities.Robert E. Goodin - 1986 - Philosophical Quarterly 36 (142):50-56.

Add more references