The demands of beneficence

Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (4):267-292 (1993)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Principles of bcnciiccnce require us to promote the good. If we believe that a plausible mom] conception will contain some such principle, we must address the issue of the demands it imposes on agents. Some writers have defended extremely demanding principles, while others have argued that only principles with limited demands are acceptable. In this paper I su ggest that we 100k at the demands 0f beneficencc in a different way; 0ur concern should not just be with the extent of the demands faced by individual agents. Instead, we should consider how the demands imposed Ol'] an agent by a principle of beneiiccncc are affected by the level of compliance with the principle by others. Act—[email protected], for example, in effect requires each complying agent to shoulder her share of the demands of bcncficcnce plus as many of the shares of noncomplying agents as would be optimal. I suggest that we focus OH this feature ofconsequentialism, and not just on the very high demands it can impose Ol'] individual agents. Thus I defend the View that principles of beneiicence should not demand more of agents as expected compliance by othcr agents decreases, and formulate a principle of bencficcnce that meets this condition. This View about beneiicence and compliance is supported by a particular conception 0f beneiiccnce. Rather than as an aim we each have as individuals, benciicence could be understood as a cooperative project, where each of us aims to promote the good together with others. If s0, it would be natural t..



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,199

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

Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory.Liam B. Murphy - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
How Satisficers Get Away with Murder.Tim Mulgan - 2001 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 9 (1):41 – 46.
Responsibility and the consequences of choice.Serena Olsaretti - 2009 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt2):165-188.
The Enkratic Requirement.Allen Coates - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):320-333.
Internalization and moral demands.William Sin - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (2):163-175.


Added to PP

617 (#15,287)

6 months
23 (#50,194)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Whether and Where to Give.Theron Pummer - 2016 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (1):77-95.
Kant and the demandingness of the virtue of beneficence.Paul Formosa & Martin Sticker - 2019 - European Journal of Philosophy 27 (3):625-642.
Supererogation, optionality and cost.Claire Benn - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2399-2417.

View all 45 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references