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  1. Morality Under Risk.Chad Lee-Stronach - 2019 - Dissertation,
    Many argue that absolutist moral theories -- those that prohibit particular kinds of actions or trade-offs under all circumstances -- cannot adequately account for the permissibility of risky actions. In this dissertation, I defend various versions of absolutism against this critique, using overlooked resources from formal decision theory. Against the prevailing view, I argue that almost all absolutist moral theories can give systematic and plausible verdicts about what to do in risky cases. In doing so, I show that critics have (...)
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  • Idealisations in Normative Models.Mark Colyvan - 2013 - Synthese 190 (8):1337-1350.
    In this paper I discuss the kinds of idealisations invoked in normative theories—logic, epistemology, and decision theory. I argue that very often the so-called norms of rationality are in fact mere idealisations invoked to make life easier. As such, these idealisations are not too different from various idealisations employed in scientific modelling. Examples of the latter include: fluids are incompressible (in fluid mechanics), growth rates are constant (in population ecology), and the gravitational influence of distant bodies can be ignored (in (...)
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  • A Royal Road to Consequentialism?Martin Peterson - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (2):153-169.
    To consequentialise a moral theory means to account for moral phenomena usually described in nonconsequentialist terms, such as rights, duties, and virtues, in a consequentialist framework. This paper seeks to show that all moral theories can be consequentialised. The paper distinguishes between different interpretations of the consequentialiser’s thesis, and emphasises the need for a cardinal ranking of acts. The paper also offers a new answer as to why consequentialising moral theories is important: This yields crucial methodological insights about how to (...)
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  • Does MITE Make Right? Decision-Making Under Normative Uncertainty.Brian Hedden - 2016 - In Russ Schafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Volume 11. pp. 102-128.
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  • Revisiting the Right to Do Wrong.Renee Jorgensen Bolinger - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):43-57.
    Rights to do wrong are not necessary even within the framework of interest-based rights aimed at preserving autonomy. Agents can make morally significant choices and develop their moral character without a right to do wrong, so long as we allow that there can be moral variation within the set of actions that an agent is permitted to perform. Agents can also engage in non-trivial self-constitution in choosing between morally indifferent options, so long as there is adequate non-moral variation among the (...)
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  • Modelling the Moral Dimension of Decisions.Mark Colyvan, Damian Cox & Katie Siobhan Steele - 2010 - Noûs 44 (3):503-529.
    In this paper we explore the connections between ethics and decision theory. In particular, we consider the question of whether decision theory carries with it a bias towards consequentialist ethical theories. We argue that there are plausible versions of the other ethical theories that can be accommodated by “standard” decision theory, but there are also variations of these ethical theories that are less easily accommodated. So while “standard” decision theory is not exclusively consequentialist, it is not necessarily ethically neutral. Moreover, (...)
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  • Consequentializing.Douglas W. Portmore - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (2):329-347.
    A growing trend of thought has it that any plausible nonconsequentialist theory can be consequentialized, which is to say that it can be given a consequentialist representation. In this essay, I explore both whether this claim is true and what its implications are. I also explain the procedure for consequentializing a nonconsequentialist theory and give an account of the motivation for doing so.
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  • An Argument for the Principle of Maximizing Expected Utility.Martin Peterson - 2002 - Theoria 68 (2):112-128.
  • Repugnant Accuracy.Brian Talbot - 2019 - Noûs 53 (3):540-563.
    Accuracy‐first epistemology is an approach to formal epistemology which takes accuracy to be a measure of epistemic utility and attempts to vindicate norms of epistemic rationality by showing how conformity with them is beneficial. If accuracy‐first epistemology can actually vindicate any epistemic norms, it must adopt a plausible account of epistemic value. Any such account must avoid the epistemic version of Derek Parfit's “repugnant conclusion.” I argue that the only plausible way of doing so is to say that accurate credences (...)
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  • A Fault Line in Ethical Theory.Shyam Nair - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):173-200.
    A traditional picture is that cases of deontic constraints--- cases where an act is wrong (or one that there is most reason to not do) even though performing that act will prevent more acts of the same morally (or practically) relevant type from being performed---form a kind of fault line in ethical theory separating (agent-neutral) consequentialist theories from other ethical theories. But certain results in the recent literature, such as those due to Graham Oddie and Peter Milne in "Act and (...)
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  • Why Consequentialism’s "Compelling Idea" Is Not.Paul Hurley - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):29-54.
    Many consequentialists take their theory to be anchored by a deeply intuitive idea, the “Compelling Idea” that it is always permissible to promote the best outcome. I demonstrate that this Idea is not, in fact, intuitive at all either in its agent-neutral or its evaluator-relative form. There are deeply intuitive ideas concerning the relationship of deontic to telic evaluation, but the Compelling Idea is at best a controversial interpretation of such ideas, not itself one of them. Because there is no (...)
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  • Epistemic Repugnance Four Ways.Brian Talbot - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3001-3022.
    Value-based epistemology sees epistemic norms as explained by or grounded in distinctively epistemic values. This paper argues that, no matter what epistemic value is, credences or beliefs about some topics have at most infinitesimal amounts of this value. This makes it hard to explain why epistemic norms apply at all to credences or beliefs on these topics. My argument is inspired by a recent series of papers on epistemic versions of Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion. The discussion in those papers parallels work (...)
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  • Value Theory.Mark Schroeder - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The term “value theory” is used in at least three different ways in philosophy. In its broadest sense, “value theory” is a catch-all label used to encompass all branches of moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and sometimes feminist philosophy and the philosophy of religion — whatever areas of philosophy are deemed to encompass some “evaluative” aspect. In its narrowest sense, “value theory” is used for a relatively narrow area of normative ethical theory of particular concern to consequentialists. In (...)
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  • The fundamental reason for reasons fundamentalism.Mark Schroeder - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3107-3127.
    Reasons, it is often said, are king in contemporary normative theory. Some philosophers say not only that the vocabulary of reasons is useful, but that reasons play a fundamental explanatory role in normative theory—that many, most, or even all, other normative facts are grounded in facts about reasons. Even if reasons fundamentalism, the strongest version of this view, has only been wholeheartedly endorsed by a few philosophers, it has a kind of prominence in contemporary normative theory that suits it to (...)
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  • Duty and Doubt.Seth Lazar - 2020 - Journal of Practical Ethics 8 (1):28-55.
    Deontologists have been slow to address decision-making under risk and uncertainty, no doubt because the standard approaches to non-moral decision theory appear superficially similar to consequentialist moral reasoning. I identify some central tenets of simple decision theory and show that they should not put deontologists off, before showing where we should go next to develop a comprehensive deontological decision theory.
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  • In Dubious Battle: Uncertainty and the Ethics of Killing.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):859-883.
    How should deontologists concerned with the ethics of killing apply their moral theory when we don’t know all the facts relevant to the permissibility of our action? Though the stakes couldn’t be higher, and uncertainty is endemic where killing is concerned, few deontologists have an answer to this question. In this paper I canvass two possibilities: that we should apply a threshold standard, equivalent to the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard applied for criminal punishment; and that we should fit our (...)
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  • The Content, Consequence and Likeness Approaches to Verisimilitude: Compatibility, Trivialization, and Underdetermination.Graham Oddie - 2013 - Synthese 190 (9):1647-1687.
    Theories of verisimilitude have routinely been classified into two rival camps—the content approach and the likeness approach—and these appear to be motivated by very different sets of data and principles. The question thus naturally arises as to whether these approaches can be fruitfully combined. Recently Zwart and Franssen (Synthese 158(1):75–92, 2007) have offered precise analyses of the content and likeness approaches, and shown that given these analyses any attempt to meld content and likeness orderings violates some basic desiderata. Unfortunately their (...)
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  • Moral Realism, Moral Relativism and Moral Rules (a Compatibility Argument).Graham Oddie - 1998 - Synthese 117 (2):251-274.
  • Recombinant values.Oddie Graham - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 106 (3):259 - 292.
    An attractive admirer of George Bernard Shaw once wrote to him with a not-so modest proposal: ``You have the greatest brain in the world, and I have the most beautiful body; so we ought to produce the most perfect child.'' Shaw replied: ``What if the child inherits my body and your brains?''What if, indeed? Shaw's retort is interesting not because it revealsa grasp of elementary genetics, but rather because it suggests his grasp of an interesting and important principle of axiology. (...)
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  • From Outcomes to Acts: A Non-Standard Axiomatization of the Expected Utility Principle.Martin Peterson - 2004 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 33 (4):361-378.
    This paper presents an axiomatization of the principle of maximizing expected utility that does not rely on the independence axiom or sure-thing principle. Perhaps more importantly the new axiomatization is based on an ex ante approach, instead of the standard ex post approach. An ex post approach utilizes the decision maker's preferences among risky acts for generating a utility and a probability function, whereas in the ex ante approach a set of preferences among potential outcomes are on the input side (...)
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  • On What We Should Believe (and When (and Why) We Should Believe What We Know We Should Not Believe).Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Kevin McCain & Scott Stapleford (eds.), Epistemic Duties: New Arguments, New Angles.
    A theory of what we should believe should include a theory of what we should believe when we are uncertain about what we should believe and/or uncertain about the factors that determine what we should believe. In this paper, I present a novel theory of what we should believe that gives normative externalists a way of responding to a suite of objections having to do with various kinds of error, ignorance, and uncertainty. This theory is inspired by recent work in (...)
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  • What Matters and How It Matters: A Choice-Theoretic Representation of Moral Theories.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (4):421-479.
    We present a new “reason-based” approach to the formal representation of moral theories, drawing on recent decision-theoretic work. We show that any moral theory within a very large class can be represented in terms of two parameters: a specification of which properties of the objects of moral choice matter in any given context, and a specification of how these properties matter. Reason-based representations provide a very general taxonomy of moral theories, as differences among theories can be attributed to differences in (...)
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  • Why Impossible Options Are Better: Consequentializing Dilemmas.Brian Talbot - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (2):221-236.
    To consequentialize a deontological moral theory is to give a theory which issues the same moral verdicts, but explains those verdicts in terms of maximizing or satisficing value. There are many motivations for consequentializing: to reconcile plausible ideas behind deontology with plausible ideas behind consequentialism, to help us better understand deontological theories, or to extend deontological theories beyond what intuitions alone tell us. It has proven difficult to consequentialize theories that allow for moral dilemmas or that deny that “ought” implies (...)
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  • A Fault Line in Ethical Theory.Gopal Shyam Nair - unknown
    A venerable idea in the history of moral philosophy is that central among the normative notions is the notion of goodness or value. This idea, which can be found at least as early as 1903 in G.E. Moore’s Principia Ethica, claims that goodness is central in that all other normative notions can be explained in terms of it. Moore’s approach and the dominant approach to the project of explaining the normative notions of rightness and what we have reason to do (...)
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  • Action, Deontology, and Risk: Against the Multiplicative Model.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2017 - Ethics 127 (3):674-707.
    Deontological theories face difficulties in accounting for situations involving risk; the most natural ways of extending deontological principles to such situations have unpalatable consequences. In extending ethical principles to decision under risk, theorists often assume the risk must be incorporated into the theory by means of a function from the product of probability assignments to certain values. Deontologists should reject this assumption; essentially different actions are available to the agent when she cannot know that a certain act is in her (...)
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  • The Moral Oracle’s Test.Sven Ove Hansson - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):643-651.
    When presented with a situation involving an agent’s choice between alternative actions, a moral oracle says what the agent is allowed to do. The oracle bases her advice on some moral theory, but the nature of that theory is not known by us. The moral oracle’s test consists in determining whether a series of questions to the oracle can be so constructed that her answers will reveal which of two given types of theories she adheres to. The test can be (...)
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  • Consequentialism's Double-Edged Sword.Benjamin Sachs - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (3):258-271.
    Recent work on consequentialism has revealed it to be more flexible than previously thought. Consequentialists have shown how their theory can accommodate certain features with which it has long been considered incompatible, such as agent-centered constraints. This flexibility is usually thought to work in consequentialism’s favor. I want to cast doubt on this assumption. I begin by putting forward the strongest statement of consequentialism’s flexibility: the claim that, whatever set of intuitions the best nonconsequentialist theory accommodates, we can construct a (...)
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  • Creative Value.Graham Oddie - 1990 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):297 – 315.
    Free agents can create and destroy value, for how much value is realized may well depend on what such agents choose to do. Not only may such agents create and destroy value, but such creation and destruction seem to involve a dimension of value: I call it creative value. An explication of the twin concepts of creating value and creative value is given, motivated by two desiderata. It is then shown that creative value turns out to be equivalent to what (...)
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