The Concept of Moral Obligation

Author: Michael J. Zimmerman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521038744
Category: Philosophy
Page: 320
View: 7820

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The principal aim of this book is to develop and defend an analysis of the concept of moral obligation. What it seeks to do is generate new solutions to a range of philosophical problems concerning obligation and its application. Amongst these problems are deontic paradoxes, the supersession of obligation, conditional obligation, actualism and possibilism, dilemmas, supererogation, and cooperation. By virtue of its normative neutrality, the analysis provides a theoretical framework within which competing theories of obligation can be developed and assessed.

God and Moral Obligation

Author: C. Stephen Evans
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199696683
Category: Philosophy
Page: 199
View: 2906

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God and Moral Obligation defends the claim that moral obligations are best understood as divine commands or requirements; hence an important part of morality depends on God. C. Stephen Evans argues that God's requirements are communicated to humans in a variety of ways, including conscience, and seeks to show that some other approaches to ethics (natural law ethics and virtue ethics) are not rivals to a divine command view but provide complementaryperspectives. Evans raises and responds to popular objections to a divine command view of morality, and contends that this perspective has marked advantages over secular rival theories.

The Limits of Moral Obligation

Moral Demandingness and Ought Implies Can
Author: Marcel van Ackeren,Michael Kühler
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317581296
Category: Philosophy
Page: 220
View: 1412

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This volume responds to the growing interest in finding explanations for why moral claims may lose their validity based on what they ask of their addressees. Two main ideas relate to that question: the moral demandingness objection and the principle "ought implies can." Though both of these ideas can be understood to provide an answer to the same question, they have usually been discussed separately in the philosophical literature. The aim of this collection is to provide a focused and comprehensive discussion of these two ideas and the ways in which they relate to one another, and to take a closer look at the consequences for the limits of moral normativity in general. Chapters engage with contemporary discussions surrounding "ought implies can" as well as current debates on moral demandingness, and argue that applying the moral demandingness objection to the entire range of normative ethical theories also calls for an analysis of its (metaethical) presuppositions. The contributions to this volume are at the leading edge of ethical theory, and have implications for moral theorists, philosophers of action, and those working in metaethics, theoretical ethics and applied ethics.

Moral Obligations

Action, Intention, and Valuation
Author: Carol Harding
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 135150469X
Category: Philosophy
Page: 148
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There are many ways of writing about the moral life; Moral Obligations follows the way of what philosophers call ""meta-ethics"": the analysis, not of particular moral problems, but of how the concepts used in formulating and solving them, concepts like ""right"" and ""obligatory,"" have significance and power over us. The meta-ethical part of this book is preceded by a discussion of action, in which Wren lays the foundations for the argument that moral obligation is a part of the formal structure of human agency. Wren's argument is practical and social-psychological: it is to help all, starting with those who are already committed to some version of the ethic of individual dignity, to promote interagency fellowship and peace as a result of seeing a certain truth, namely, the truth that the urgency of their feelings of moral obligation derives from a unspoken intention to belong to a community of agents. Moral Obligations begins with the philosophy of action, and then it reviews the historical debate about the nature of obligation and its social context. This is followed by a section about action in general: it establishes the standpoint of the agent and makes an inventory of several species of action. Later chapters summarize the foregoing themes, with emphasis on the unspoken side of intention, and develop them in conjunction with an analysis of the hypothetical imperative. The work closes with a discussion of the dilemma of membership in competing moral communities.


A Philosophical Investigation
Author: Luke Russell
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191022810
Category: Philosophy
Page: 264
View: 7845

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When asked to describe wartime atrocities, acts of terrorism, and serial killers, many of us reach for the word 'evil'. But what does it mean to say that an action or a person is evil? Some philosophers have claimed that there is no such thing as evil, and that thinking in terms of evil is simplistic and dangerous. In response to this sceptical challenge, Luke Russell shows that concept of evil has a legitimate place within contemporary secular moral thought. In this book he addresses questions concerning the nature of evil action, such as whether evil actions must be incomprehensible, whether evil actions can be banal, and whether there is a psychological hallmark that distinguishes evils from other wrongs. Russell also explores issues regarding the nature of evil persons, including whether every evil person is an evildoer, whether every evil person is irredeemable, and whether a person could be evil merely in virtue of having evil feelings. The concept of evil is extreme, and is easily misused. Nonetheless, Russell suggests that it has an important role to play when it comes to evaluating and explaining the worst kind of wrongdoing.

Morality, Authority, and Law

Essays in Second-Personal Ethics I
Author: Stephen Darwall
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191639583
Category: Law
Page: 240
View: 6282

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Stephen Darwall presents a series of essays that explore and extend the Second-Person Standpoints argument that central moral concepts are irreducibly second personal, entailing mutual accountability and the authority to address demands to one another (and ourselves). He illustrates the second-personal frameworks power to illuminate a wide variety of issues in moral, political, and legal philosophy. Section I concerns morality: its distinctiveness among normative concepts, the metaethics of bipolar obligations (owed to someone); the relation between moral obligations form and the substance of our obligations; whether the fact that an action is wrong is itself a reason against action (as opposed to simply entailing that sufficient moral reasons independently exist); and whether morality requires general principles or might be irreducibly particularistic. Section II consists of two essays on autonomy: one discussing the relation between Kants autonomy of the will and the right to autonomy, and another arguing that what makes an agents desires and will reason-giving is not the basis of internal practical reasons in desire, but the dignity of persons and shared second-personal authority. Section III focuses on the nature of authority and the law. Two essays take up Joseph Razs influential normal justification thesis and argue that it fails to capture authoritys second-personal nature, without which authority cannot create exclusionaryand preemptivereasons.The final two essays concern law.The first sketches the insights that a second-personal approach can provide into the nature of law and the grounds of distinctions between different parts of law.The second shows how a second-personal framework can be used to develop the civil recourse theory in the law of torts.

Morality, Utilitarianism, and Rights

Author: Richard B. Brandt
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521415071
Category: Philosophy
Page: 393
View: 5375

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Richard Brandt is one of the most eminent and influential of contemporary moral philosophers. His work has been concerned with how to justify what is good or right not by reliance on intuitions or theories about what moral words mean but by the explanation of moral psychology and the description of what it is to value something, or to think it immoral. His approach thus stands in marked contrast to the influential theories of John Rawls. The essays reprinted in this collection span a period of almost 30 years and include many classic pieces in metaethical and normative ethical theory. The collection is aimed at both those moral philosophers familiar with Brandt's work and at those philosophers who may be largely unfamiliar with his work. The latter group will be struck by the lucid unpretentious style and the cumulative weight of Brandt's contributions to topics that remain at the forefront of moral philosophy.

Motivation and the Moral Sense in Francis Hutcheson’s Ethical Theory

Author: Henning Jensen,Henning Jensen P.
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789024711871
Category: History
Page: 128
View: 9294

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Although the works of Francis Hutcheson are unfamiliar to most students of philosophy, it cannot be said that he has been entirely ignored. To be sure, most of the recent writers who deal with Hutcheson's philosophy do so in the course of writing about Hutcheson's famous contemporary, David Hume. This is true, for example, of Norman Kemp Smith, whose book entitled The Philosophy of David Hume 1 includes much detailed information concerning Hume's indebtedness to Hutcheson. But others have written about Hutcheson on his own account. William R. Scott's Francis Hutcheson,2 although mainly biographical and historical, is well worth reading. In his article "Some Reflections on Moral-Sense Theories in Ethics," 3 C. D. Broad presents a sustained analysis of the sort of theory held by Hutcheson. D. Daiches Raphael's The Moral Sense 4 is competent, interesting, and especially valuable in its treatment of epistemological issues surrounding the moral sense theory. William K. Frankena's article entitled "Hutcheson's Moral Sense Theory" Ji is search ing and profound. And, most recent of all, a book by William T. Black stone has appeared entitled Francis Hutcheson and Contemporary Ethi cal Theory. 6 One of the difficulties encountered in presenting a study of Hutcheson is that all of his books are extremely rare. Fortunately, L. A. Selby-Bigge'l) 1 Nonnan Kemp Smith, The Philosophy of David Hume (London: Macmillan and Co. , Limited, 1949). Ii William Robert Scott, Francis Hutcheson (Cambridge, Eng. : Cambridge Uni venity Press, 1900).

Moral Status

Obligations to Persons and Other Living Things
Author: Mary Anne Warren
Publisher: Clarendon Press
ISBN: 0191588156
Category: Philosophy
Page: 274
View: 4676

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Mary Anne Warren explores a theoretical question which lies at the heart of practical ethics: what are the criteria for having moral status? In other words, what are the criteria for being an entity towards which people have moral obligations? Some philosophers maintain that there is one intrinsic property—for instance, life, sentience, humanity, or moral agency. Others believe that relational properties, such as belonging to a human community, are more important. In Part I of the book, Warren argues that no single property can serve as the sole criterion for moral status; instead, life, sentience, moral agency, and social and biotic relationships are all relevant, each in a different way. She presents seven basic principles, each focusing on a property that can, in combination with others, legitimately affect an agent's moral obligations towards entities of a given type. In Part II, these principles are applied in an examination of three controversial ethical issues: voluntary euthanasia, abortion

The Second-person Standpoint

Morality, Respect, and Accountability
Author: Stephen L. Darwall
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674022744
Category: Philosophy
Page: 348
View: 7206

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Why should we avoid doing moral wrong? The inability of philosophy to answer this question in a compelling mannerâe"along with the moral skepticism and ethical confusion that ensueâe"result, Stephen Darwall argues, from our failure to appreciate the essentially interpersonal character of moral obligation. After showing how attempts to vindicate morality have tended to change the subjectâe"falling back on nonmoral values or practical, first-person considerationsâe"Darwall elaborates the interpersonal nature of moral obligations: their inherent link to our responsibilities to one another as members of the moral community. As Darwall defines it, the concept of moral obligation has an irreducibly second-person aspect; it presupposes our authority to make claims and demands on one another. And so too do many other central notions, including those of rights, the dignity of and respect for persons, and the very concept of person itself. The result is nothing less than a fundamental reorientation of moral theory that enables it at last to account for morality's supreme authorityâe"an account that Darwall carries from the realm of theory to the practical world of second-person attitudes, emotions, and actions.

The Concept of Rights

Author: George W. Rainbolt
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781402039768
Category: Law
Page: 253
View: 2791

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What is it to have a right? This book defends an alternative to traditional views, the justified-constraint theory of rights. It also solves the puzzle of the relational nature of rights. It gives a systematic account of an important alternative to the best theories of rights in the literature.

Rwanda and the Moral Obligation of Humanitarian Intervention

Author: Joshua James Kassner
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
ISBN: 0748670483
Category: Political Science
Page: 248
View: 5215

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A new approach to an issue of tremendous moral, political and legal importance, and explains why the international community should have intervened in Rwanda.

Institutional Integrity in Health Care

Author: Ana Smith Iltis
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9401701539
Category: Science
Page: 193
View: 9716

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This volume addresses the nature of health care organizational ethics, including such issues as corporate fraud and institutional moral integrity, and covers the broad range of issues that must be addressed for a coherent discussion of organizational moral responsibility. Its unique coverage makes it of interest to researchers, students and professionals working in the fields of bioethics, health care administration and management, organizational science, and business ethics.

The Pesticide Question

Environment, Economics and Ethics
Author: David Pimentel,Hugh Lehman
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 0585369739
Category: Science
Page: 442
View: 2239

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Pesticides have contributed impressively to our present-day agricultural productivity, but at the same time they are at the center of serious concerns about safety, health, and the environment. Increasingly, the public wonders whether the benefits of pesticides - `the perfect red apple' - outweigh the costs of environmental pollution, human illness, and the destruction of animals and our habitat. Scientists and government officials are suspected of promoting commercial interests rather than protecting human welfare.

The Concept of a Philosophical Jurisprudence

Essays and Reviews 1926–51
Author: Michael Oakeshott
Publisher: Andrews UK Limited
ISBN: 184540307X
Category: Philosophy
Page: 474
View: 8645

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This volume brings together for the first time over a hundred of Oakeshott’s essays and reviews, written between 1926 and 1951, that until now have remained scattered through a variety of scholarly journals, periodicals and newspapers. A new editorial introduction explains how these pieces, including the lengthy essay on the philosophical nature of jurisprudence that occupies an important position in Oakeshott’s work, illuminate his other published writings. The collection throws new light on the context of his thought by placing him in dialogue with a number of other major figures in the humanities and social sciences during this period, including Leo Strauss, A.N. Whitehead, Karl Mannheim, Herbert Butterfield, E.H. Carr, Gilbert Ryle, and R.G. Collingwood.

The Authority of Law

Essays on Law and Morality
Author: Joseph Raz
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0199573565
Category: Law
Page: 340
View: 5372

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Raz begins by presenting an analysis of the concept of moral authority. He then develops a detailed explanation of the nature of law and legal systems. Within this framework Raz then examines the areas of legal thought that have been viewed as impregnated with moral values.

Reasons for Action and the Law

Author: M.C. Redondo
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9401591415
Category: Philosophy
Page: 192
View: 3809

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A focus on reasons for action and practical reason is the perspective chosen by many contemporary legal philosophers for the analysis of some central questions of their discipline. This book offers a critical evaluation of that approach, by carefully examining the empirical, logical and normative problems hidden behind the concepts of `reason for action' and `practical reasoning'. Unlike most other works in this field, it is a meta-theoretical study which analyses and compares how different theories use the notion of reason in their reconstruction of problems concerning issues such as normativity, the acceptance of norms, or the justification of judicial decisions. This book is directed primarily to scholars specializing in legal theory and concerned with the contribution practical philosophy can make to it, but it also contains important arguments and insights for all those interested in the controversy between legal positivists and their critics, in the theory of human action or in reason-based practical theories in general.

Heroes, Saints, and Ordinary Morality

Author: Andrew Michael Flescher
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589013414
Category: Philosophy
Page: 352
View: 4932

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Most of us are content to see ourselves as ordinary people—unique in ways, talented in others, but still among the ranks of ordinary mortals. Andrew Flescher probes our contented state by asking important questions: How should "ordinary" people respond when others need our help, whether the situation is a crisis, or something less? Do we have a responsibility, an obligation, to go that extra mile, to act above and beyond the call of duty? Or should we leave the braver responses to those who are somehow different than we are: better somehow, "heroes," or "saints?" Traditional approaches to ethics have suggested there is a sharp distinction between ordinary people and those called heroes and saints; between duties and acts of supererogation (going beyond the expected). Flescher seeks to undo these standard dichotomies by looking at the lives and actions of certain historical figures—Holocaust rescuers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, among others—who appear to be extraordinary but were, in fact, ordinary people. Heroes, Saints, and Ordinary Morality shifts the way we regard ourselves in relationship to those we admire from afar—it asks us not only to admire, but to emulate as well—further, it challenges us to actively seek the acquisition of virtue as seen in the lives of heroes and saints, to learn from them, a dynamic aspect of ethical behavior that goes beyond the mere avoidance of wrongdoing. Andrew Flescher sets a stage where we need to think and act, calling us to lead lives of self-examination—even if that should sometimes provoke discomfort. He asks that we strive to emulate those we admire and therefore allow ourselves to grow morally, and spiritually. It is then that the individual develops a deeper altruistic sense of self—a state that allows us to respond as the heroes of our own lives, and therefore in the lives of others, when times and circumstance demand that of us.

Doing the Best We Can

An Essay in Informal Deontic Logic
Author: Fred Feldman
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789027721648
Category: Philosophy
Page: 244
View: 1922

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Several years ago I came across a marvelous little paper in which Hector-Neri Castaneda shows that standard versions of act utilitarian l ism are formally incoherent. I was intrigued by his argument. It had long seemed to me that I had a firm grasp on act utilitarianism. Indeed, it had often seemed to me that it was the clearest and most attractive of normative theories. Yet here was a simple and relatively uncontrover sial argument that showed, with only some trivial assumptions, that the doctrine is virtually unintelligible. The gist of Castaneda's argument is this: suppose we understand act utilitarianism to be the view that an act is obligatory if and only if its utility exceeds that of each alternative. Suppose it is obligatory for a certain person to perform an act with two parts - we can call it 'A & B'. Then, obviously enough, it is also obligatory for this person to perform the parts, A and B. If act utilitarianism were true, we appar ently could infer that the utility of A & B is higher than that of A, and higher than that of B (because A & B is obligatory, and the other acts are alternatives to A & B).