Deliberation, Foreknowledge, and Morality as a Guide to Action

Erkenntnis 57 (1):71-89 (2002)
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Abstract

In Section 1, I rehearse some arguments for the claim that morality should be ``action-guiding'', and try to state the conditions under which a moral theory is in fact action-guiding. I conclude that only agents who are cognitively and conatively ``ideal'' are in general able to use a moral theory as a guide to action. In Sections 2 and 3, I discuss whether moral ``actualism'' implies that morality cannot be action-guiding even for ideal agents. If actualism is true, an ideal agent will know about her own future actions. Since such foreknowledge is often thought to be incompatible with deliberation, and since action-guidance presupposes the possibility of deliberation, there is an apparent difficulty in combining actualism with the requirement of action-guidance. In opposition to an argument by Jan Österberg, I try to show that actualism and action-guidance are in fact compatible.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 13 (3):7-9.
The Concept of Moral Obligation.Michael J. Zimmerman - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Oughts, options, and actualism.Frank Jackson & Robert Pargetter - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):233-255.
A Theory of Human Action.Alvin Ira Goldman - 1970 - Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.

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