Moral Status and Agent-Centred Options

Utilitas 31 (1):83-105 (2019)
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If we were required to sacrifice our own interests whenever doing so was best overall, or prohibited from doing so unless it was optimal, then we would be mere sites for the realisation of value. Our interests, not ourselves, would wholly determine what we ought to do. We are not mere sites for the realisation of value — instead we, ourselves, matter unconditionally. So we have options to act suboptimally. These options have limits, grounded in the very same considerations. Though not merely such sites, you and I are also sites for the realisation of value, and our interests (and ourselves) must therefore sometimes determine what others ought to do, in particular requiring them to bear reasonable costs for our sake. Likewise, just as my moral status grounds a requirement that others show me appropriate respect, so must I do to myself.

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Seth Lazar
Australian National University

Citations of this work

What’s Wrong with Automated Influence.Claire Benn & Seth Lazar - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (1):125-148.
Accommodating Options.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):233-255.

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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Philosophical Papers.Graeme Forbes & David Lewis - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):108.

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