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  1. The Common Structure of Kantianism and Act-Utilitarianism.Christopher Woodard - 2013 - Utilitas 25 (2):246-265.
    This article proposes a way of understanding Kantianism, act-utilitarianism and some other important ethical theories according to which they are all versions of the same kind of theory, sharing a common structure. I argue that this is a profitable way to understand the theories discussed. It is charitable to the theories concerned; it emphasizes the common ground between them; it gives us insights into the differences between them; and it provides a method for generating new ethical theories worth studying. The (...)
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  • Pedro’s Significance.Christopher Woodard - 2009 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):301-319.
    Williams’s famous story of Jim exemplifies a general class of dilemmas caused by recalcitrant agents. Like Williams himself, most commentators have focused on Jim and the idea that he has special responsibility for his actions. This paper shifts attention to Pedro, exploring his significance in the story and arguing that Jim has a reason not to shoot that depends on Pedro’s best possible response. In so doing, it sketches a new approach to the general class of dilemmas posed by recalcitrant (...)
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  • Rationality and the Unit of Action.Christopher Woodard - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):261-277.
    This paper examines the idea of an extended unit of action, which is the idea that the reasons for or against an individual action can depend on the qualities of a larger pattern of action of which it is a part. One concept of joint action is that the unit of action can be extended in this sense. But the idea of an extended unit of action is surprisingly minimal in its commitments. The paper argues for this conclusion by examining (...)
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  • Solving the Ideal Worlds Problem.Caleb Perl - 2021 - Ethics 132 (1):89-126.
    I introduce a new formulation of rule consequentialism, defended as an improvement on traditional formulations. My new formulation cleanly avoids what Parfit calls “ideal world” objections. I suggest that those objections arise because traditional formulations incorporate counterfactual comparisons about how things could go differently. My new formulation eliminates those counterfactual comparisons. Part of the interest of the new formulation is as a model of how to reformulate structurally similar views, including various kinds of contractualism.
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  • How should we accommodate our future misbehavior? The answer turns on how bad it will be.Daniel Immerman - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3903-3922.
    Professor Procrastinate receives an invitation to review a book. Best would be to accept it and then write the review. But if he accepts it, he will never get around to writing. And this would be worse than declining. Should he accept? Possibilists say yes, Actualists say no, and I say we need more information. In particular, we lack some information about the level of goodness of the various options. For example, we lack information regarding how much better it would (...)
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  • What 'We'?Holly Lawford-Smith - 2015 - Journal of Social Ontology 1 (2):225-250.
    The objective of this paper is to explain why certain authors - both popular and academic - are making a mistake when they attribute obligations to uncoordinated groups of persons, and to argue that it is particularly unhelpful to make this mistake given the prevalence of individuals faced with the difficult question of what morality requires of them in a situation in which there's a good they can bring about together with others, but not alone. I'll defend two alternatives to (...)
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  • Does Scrupulous Securitism Stand-Up to Scrutiny? Two Problems for Moral Securitism and How We Might Fix Them.Travis Timmerman - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (6):1509-1528.
    A relatively new debate in ethics concerns the relationship between one's present obligations and how one would act in the future. One popular view is actualism, which holds that what an agent would do in the future affects her present obligations. Agent's future behavior is held fixed and the agent's present obligations are determined by what would be best to do now in light of how the agent would act in the future. Doug Portmore defends a new view he calls (...)
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  • Three Conceptions of Group-Based Reasons.Christopher Woodard - 2017 - Journal of Social Ontology 3 (1):102-127.
    Group-based reasons are reasons to play one’s part in some pattern of action that the members of some group could perform, because of the good features of the pattern. This paper discusses three broad conceptions of such reasons. According to the agency-first conception, there are no group-based reasons in cases where the relevant group is not or would not be itself an agent. According to the behaviour-first conception, what matters is that the other members of the group would play their (...)
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  • What's Wrong with Possibilism.C. Woodard - 2009 - Analysis 69 (2):219-226.
    Argues (1) that the debate between actualists and possibilists in deontic logic distorts what is really at issue, and (2) that reframing the debate as being about reasons strongly suggests that those with possibilist sympathies should adopt more moderate claims (which may nevertheless be distinct from actualism).
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  • What Are Our Options?Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    We ought to perform our best option—that is, the option that we have most reason, all things considered, to perform. This is perhaps the most fundamental and least controversial of all normative principles concerning action. Yet, it is not, I believe, well understood. For even setting aside questions about what our reasons are and about how best to formulate the principle, there is a question about how we should construe our options. This question is of the upmost importance, for which (...)
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  • Does Ought Imply Ought Ought?Daniel Immerman - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):702-716.
    Knows-knows principles in epistemology say that if you know some proposition, then you are in a position to know that you know it. This paper examines the viability of analogous principles in ethics, which I call ought-ought principles. Several epistemologists have recently offered new defences of KK principles and of other related principles, and there has recently been an increased interest in examining analogies between ethics and epistemology, and so it seems natural to examine whether defences of KK and related (...)
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  • A New Argument Against Rule Consequentialism.Christopher Woodard - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3):247-261.
    We best understand Rule Consequentialism as a theory of pattern-based reasons, since it claims that we have reasons to perform some action because of the goodness of the pattern consisting of widespread performance of the same type of action in the same type of circumstances. Plausible forms of Rule Consequentialism are also pluralist, in the sense that, alongside pattern-based reasons, they recognise ordinary act-based reasons, based on the goodness of individual actions. However, Rule Consequentialist theories are distinguished from other pluralist (...)
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