Philosophical Studies 90 (1):57-77 (1998)

David McCarthy
University of Hong Kong
On the agent-relativity thesis, what an agent ought to do is a function of the evidence available to her about the consequences of her potential actions. On the objectivity thesis, what an agent ought to do is a function of what the consequences of her potential actions would be, regardless of the evidence available to her. This article argues for the agent-relativity thesis. The main opposing argument, due to Thomson, points to cases where a bystander can see that an agent is about to do something which, unknown to the agent, would have terrible consequences, and says to the agent: "You ought not to do that!" The bystander's utterance seems true, but it is argued that this is consistent with the agent-relativity thesis, which also enjoys support from other directions.
Keywords Objective consequentialism  Subjective consequentialism  Risk  Permissibility  Evidence  Ethics  Subjective probabilities
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1004282425643
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Probability in Ethics.David McCarthy - 2016 - In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Probability. Oxford University Press. pp. 705–737.
Rights, Explanation, and Risks.David McCarthy - 1997 - Ethics 107 (2):205-225.
Criminal Attempts and the Penal Lottery.Andrew C. Khoury - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):779-792.

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