Jos Philips
Utrecht University
This paper critically discusses three studies about the question of how much morality may demand of moral agents. These studies may together constitute the most prominent literature about this question to emerge in recent years. In reverse order, they are: Garrett Cullity’s The Moral Demands of Affluence , Tim Mulgan’s The Demands of Consequentialism , and Liam Murphy’s Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory . The paper’s first part very briefly presents the position that these studies defend, and in addition it is argued that all three studies risk denying, for unconvincing reasons, an intuitively very plausible statement, namely that moral agents morally ought to do great good whenever they can do so at little cost to themselves. The second part of the paper then considers the critical position that the three mentioned books take towards an ‘appeal to cost to the moral agent’. Such an appeal, the details of which will be discussed in the paper, has often been prominent in arguments for limiting the demands made on moral agents. I argue that the doubts that the threestudies have about this appeal, are unwarranted
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