Welfare and Self-Governance

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (3):289-309 (2006)
John Skorupski
University of St. Andrews
Two ideas have dominated ethical thought since the time of Bentham and Kant. One is utilitarianism, the other is an idea of moral agency as self-governance. Utilitarianism says that morality must somehow subserve welfare, self-governance says that it must be graspable directly by individual moral insight. But these ideas seem to war with one another. Can we eliminate the apparent conflict by a careful review of what is plausible in the two ideas? In seeking an answer to this question I examine (1) the implications of welfarism, (2) the nature of moral obligation (3) the nature of our moral knowledge.
Keywords Philosophy   Political Philosophy   Ontology   Ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-006-9020-z
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Contractualism and Utilitarianism.Thomas M. Scanlon - 1982 - In Amartya Kumar Sen & Bernard Arthur Owen Williams (eds.), Utilitarianism and Beyond. Cambridge University Press. pp. 103--128.
Ethical Explorations.John Skorupski - 1999 - Oxford University Press.

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