Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):913-922 (2014)

According to the principle that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, it is never the case that you ought to do something you cannot do. While many accept this principle in some form, it also has its share of critics, and thus it seems desirable if an argument can be offered in its support. The aim of this paper is to examine a particular way in which the principle has been defended, namely, by appeal to considerations of fairness. In a nutshell, the idea (due to David Copp) is that moral requirements we cannot comply with would be unfair, and there cannot be unfair moral requirements. I discuss several ways of spelling out the argument, and argue that all are unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons
Keywords Obligation  Ability  Requirement  Fairness
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-014-9492-1
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References found in this work BETA

The Limits of Morality.Shelly Kagan - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
I Ought, Therefore I Can.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):167-216.
The Concept of Moral Obligation.Michael J. Zimmerman - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
'Ought' and Ability.P. A. Graham & Peter Graham - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (3):337-382.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ideal Theory and "Ought Implies Can".Amy Berg - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):869-890.
“Ought Implies Can” & Missed Care.Alan J. Kearns - 2020 - Nursing Philosophy 21 (1).

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