Making room for going beyond the call

Mind 105 (419):415-450 (1996)
Paul McNamara
University of New Hampshire, Durham
In the latter half of this century, there have been two mostly separate threads within ethical theory, one on 'superogation', one on 'common-sense morality'. I bring these threads together by systematically reflecting on doing more than one has to do. A rich and coherent set of concepts at the core of common-sense morality is identified, along with various logical connections between these core concepts. Various issues in common-sense morality emerge naturally, as does a demonstrably productive definition of doing more than one has to do. I then present an interpreted model-theoretic framework with the expressive power to generate truth-conditions for the core concepts, and the explanatory power to predict and explain the independently motivated logical connections between these concepts. The framework also has a certain heuristic power for 'discovering' substantive ethical theories that can derivatively generate the model-theoretic framework for the core concepts. Two theories discussed are expansions of traditional theories; two others, each giving pride of place to justice, are devised to resonate with more recent concerns. Methodologically, it is hoped that the approach within might suggest the possibility of bridging another gap: that between formal and informal studies of moral notions
Keywords deontic modals  permissible suboptimizing  supererogation  the least one can do  dual ordering sources for deontic concepts
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DOI 10.1093/mind/105.419.415
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The Composite Nature of Epistemic Justification.Paul Silva Jr - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1).
Quasi-Realism, Negation and the Frege-Geach Problem.Nicholas Unwin - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (196):337-352.
Supererogation, Optionality and Cost.Claire Benn - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2399-2417.

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