The Deontic Cycling Problem

Philosophical Analysis 31:49-64 (2014)
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In his recent article “Deontic Cycling and the Structure of Commonsense Morality,” Tim Willenken argues that commonsense ethics allows for rational agents having both ranked reasons (A > B, B > C, and A > C) and cyclical reasons (A < B, B < C, and A > C). His goal is to show that not all plausible views are variations of consequentialism, as consequentialism requires ranked reasons. Here I argue apparent instances of deontic cycling in commonsense morality are the byproducts of an incomplete characterizations of the cases in question.



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