Utilitas 28 (4):441-464 (2016)

Alfred Archer
Tilburg University
Is the relation ‘is a morally permissible alternative to’ transitive? The answer seems to be a straightforward yes. If Act B is a morally permissible alternative to Act A and Act C is a morally permissible alternative to B then how could C fail to be a morally permissible alternative to A? However, as both Dale Dorsey and Frances Kamm point out, there are cases where this transitivity appears problematic. My aim in this paper is to provide a solution to this problem. I will then investigate Kamm’s justification for rejecting the transitivity of the ‘is a permissible alternative to’ relation. Next, I will look at Dorsey’s solution, which involves a reinterpretation of the intuitions used to generate the problem. I will argue that neither of these solutions are fully satisfying before going on to provide my own solution to the problem and arguing that it avoids these problems.
Keywords moral obligation  moral philosophy  supererogation
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DOI 10.1017/s0953820816000091
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References found in this work BETA

Ethics Without Principles.Jonathan Dancy - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
Utilitarianism.J. S. Mill - 1861 - Oxford University Press UK.
Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Moral Reasons.Jonathan Dancy - 1993 - Blackwell.

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Citations of this work BETA

Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
There Are No Purely Aesthetic Obligations.John Dyck - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (4):592-612.

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