Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (5):563-576 (2006)

Authors
Byron Williston
Wilfrid Laurier University
Abstract
Some philosophers – notably Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum and Ruth Barcan Marcus – argue that agents in moral dilemmas are blameworthy whatever they do. I begin by uncovering the connection these philosophers are presupposing between the agent’s judgement of wrongdoing and her tendency to self-blame. Next, I argue that while dilemmatic choosers cannot help but see themselves as wrongdoers, they both can and should divorce this judgement from an ascription of self-blame. As I argue, dilemmatic choosers are morally sui generis in that their actions result in a diminishment of their personal integrity with no corresponding failure of character. It is this that makes them non-blameworthy wrongdoers. This way of seeing the problem should provide dilemmatic choosers with a novel conception of their own moral psychology, one that allows them to view their actions in a manner that is given neither to moral insensitivity nor to pathological self-accusation.
Keywords Philosophy   Ontology   Political Philosophy   Ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-006-9036-4
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References found in this work BETA

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.
Problems of the Self.Bernard A. O. Williams - 1973 - Cambridge University Press.
Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.Michael Sandel - 2003 - In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Routledge, in Association with the Open University. pp. 336-343.

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