Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (1):125-144 (2019)

Andrew Sneddon
University of Ottawa
The “dirty hands paradox” is found where it seems that we must do something wrong in order to act rightly. This paradox is generated by particular descriptions of states of affairs, particularly ones involving political power, in which hard choices have to be made. Other descriptions of these situations are available, and these do not generate the paradox. I argue that the descriptions that generate the dirty hands paradox are indefensible, and hence the paradox should be seen as a sign of a mistake rather than a deep insight into values. The deep problem is that the paradox is produced due to an implausible moral valuing of the relatively direct exercise of agency.
Keywords dirty hands paradox  consequentialism  Michael Walzer  Rube Goldberg
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DOI 10.1007/s10790-018-9643-z
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Standing for Something.Cheshire Calhoun - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (5):235-260.
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Action and Responsibility.Joel Feinberg - 1965 - In Max Black (ed.), Philosophy in America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. pp. 134--160.

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