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Brian McElwee
University of Southampton
  1.  79
    Supererogation Across Normative Domains.Brian McElwee - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):505-516.
    The phenomenon of moral supererogation—action that goes beyond what moral duty requires—is familiar. In this paper, I argue that the concept of supererogation is applicable beyond the moral domain. After an introductory section 1, I outline in section 2 what I take to be the structure of moral supererogation, explaining how it comes to be an authentic normative category. In section 3, I show that there are structurally similar phenomena in other normative domains—those of prudence, etiquette, and the epistemic—and give (...)
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  2. Demandingness Objections in Ethics.Brian McElwee - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):84-105.
    It is common for moral philosophers to reject a moral theory on the basis that its verdicts are unreasonably demanding—it requires too much of us to be a correct account of our moral obligations. Even though such objections frequently strike us as convincing, they give rise to two challenges: Are demandingness objections really independent of other objections to moral theories? Do standard demandingness objections not presuppose that costs borne by the comfortably off are more important than costs borne by the (...)
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  3.  76
    The Appeal of Self-Ownership.Brian Mcelwee - 2010 - Social Theory and Practice 36 (2):213-232.
    In this paper, I argue that the appeal of a principle of self-ownership is grounded in the specially intimate relationship that each of us has with our body. I argue that once we appreciate the source of the appeal of a claim of self-ownership, we can see how a differently shaped set of strong rights over our body can do justice to the considerations that ground this appeal, without committing us to the most controversial implications of a claim of self-ownership.
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  4. The Rights and Wrongs of Consequentialism.Brian McElwee - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (3):393 - 412.
    I argue that the strongest form of consequentialism is one which rejects the claim that we are morally obliged to bring about the best available consequences, but which continues to assert that what there is most reason to do is bring about the best available consequences. Such an approach promises to avoid common objections to consequentialism, such as demandingness objections. Nevertheless, the onus is on the defender of this approach either to offer her own account of what moral obligations we (...)
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  5. Impartial Reasons, Moral Demands.Brian McElwee - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):457-466.
    Consequentialism is often charged with demandingness objections which arise in response to the theory’s commitment to impartiality. It might be thought that the only way that consequentialists can avoid such demandingness objections is by dropping their commitment to impartialism. However, I outline and defend a framework within which all reasons for action are impartially grounded, yet which can avoid demandingness objections. I defend this framework against what might appear to be a strong objection, namely the claim that anyone who accepts (...)
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  6.  18
    The Ambitions of Consequentialism.Brian McElwee - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (2):198--218.
    Consequentialism is most famously a theory of right action. But many consequentialists assume, and some have explicitly argued, that consequentialism is equally plausible as a direct theory of the right rules, motives, character traits, institutions, and even such things as climates and eye colours. In this paper, I call into question this ‘Global Consequentialist’ extension of consequentialist evaluation beyond the domain of action. Consequentialist treatments of evaluands other than action are most plausible when they are interpreted as claims about reasons (...)
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  7.  60
    Should We de‐Moralize Ethical Theory?Brian McElwee - 2010 - Ratio 23 (3):308-321.
    Some philosophers, such as Roger Crisp and Alastair Norcross, have recently argued that the traditional moral categories of wrongness, permissibility and obligation should be avoided when doing ethical theory. I argue that even if morality does not itself provide reasons for action, the moral categories nevertheless have a central role to play in ethical theory: they allow us to make crucial judgements about how to feel about, and react to, agents who behave in anti‐social ways, and they help motivate us (...)
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  8. Consequentialism, Demandingness and the Monism of Practical Reason.Brian McElwee - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt3):359-374.
  9. Consequentialism and Permissibility.Brian Mcelwee - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (2):171-183.
    Scalar consequentialism, recently championed by Alastair Norcross, holds that the value of an action varies according to the goodness of its consequences, but eschews all judgements of moral permissibility and impermissibility. I show that the strongest version of scalar consequentialism is not vulnerable to the objection that it is insufficiently action-guiding. Instead, the principle objection to the scalar view is simply that it leaves out important and interesting ethical judgements. In demonstrating this, I counter Rob Lawlor's contention that consequentialists cannot (...)
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  10.  49
    Allan Gibbard, Reconciling Our Aims: In Search of Bases for Ethics , Pp. Viii + 216.Brian Mcelwee - 2012 - Utilitas 24 (4):563-566.
  11.  19
    Etmp Bset 2018 Editorial.Brian McElwee - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1033-1034.
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    The Value of the Virtues.Brian Mcelwee - 2015 - Utilitas 27 (1):61-81.
    I argue that debates about virtue are best settled by clearly distinguishing two questions: What sort of character trait is there reason to cultivate? What sort of character trait is there reason to admire?With this distinction in mind, I focus on recent accounts of what consequentialists ought to say about virtue, arguing that: The instrumentalist view of virtue accepted by many prominent consequentialists should not be accepted as the default view for consequentialists to hold. The main rival view, the appropriate (...)
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