American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (4):373-383 (2002)

Authors
Alex Rajczi
Claremont McKenna College
Abstract
In the last forty years there has been a resurgence of interest in moral dilemmas—situations in which through no fault of a person’s own, he or she is morally required to do one thing, required to do another, but cannot do both. Some prominent figures have argued that such things could be. Opponents have marshaled several anti-dilemma arguments in response. For the most part, this debate has centered on issues in metaethics. Those metaethical questions are interesting, and resolving them could (in principle, at least) settle the debate about moral dilemmas. However, this paper will show that this exclusive focus on metaethics has been a mistake. Both dilemma advocates and dilemma opponents have failed to recognize that the debate could also be settled by answering an important question in normative ethics: is it possible for there to be an absolute prohibition on allowing something to happen? If the answer is yes, then dilemmas are possible, and if the answer is no, then they are not. Furthermore, it will be argued that it is our instincts about this normative issue that truly shape our views on the dilemmas debate. After sorting out these issues, the paper argues that as yet there is no good reason to rule out the theory of dilemma advocates, and thus that the widespread rejection of moral dilemmas is not as well-founded as is often assumed.
Keywords moral dilemmas  metaethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Definition of Moral Dilemmas: A Logical Problem. [REVIEW]Jurriaan De Haan - 2001 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (3):267-284.
Moral Dilemmas and Comparative Conceptions of Morality.Peter Vallentyne - 1992 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):117-124.
Expressivism and Moral Dilemmas: A Response to Marino.Carl Baker - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):445-455.
Moral Dilemmas and Moral Theory.H. E. Mason (ed.) - 1996 - Oxford University Press.
When Can One Requirement Override Another?Alex Rajczi - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 108 (3):309 - 326.
“Two Types of Moral Dilemmas”.Peter Vallentyne - 1989 - Erkenntnis 30 (3):301-318.
Moral Dilemmas and Vagueness.Matjaž Potrč & Vojko Strahovnik - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (2):207-222.
Moral Dilemmas.Christopher W. Gowans (ed.) - 1987 - Oxford Uiversity Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-12-06

Total views
1,126 ( #4,006 of 2,438,796 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
67 ( #10,022 of 2,438,796 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes