Perform a Justified Option

Utilitas 26 (2):206-217 (2014)
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In a number of recent publications, Douglas Portmore has defended consequentialism, largely on the basis of a maximizing view of practical rationality. I have criticized such maximizing views, arguing that we need to distinguish two independent dimensions of normative strength: justifying strength and requiring strength. I have also argued that this distinction helps to explain why we typically have so many rational options. Engaging with these arguments, Portmore has (a) developed his own novel maximization-friendly method of explaining the ubiquity of rational options, and (b) criticized one argument in favour of a substantive justifying/requiring distinction in the domain of practical rationality. The present article defends the justifying/requiring distinction, and criticizes Portmore's maximization-friendly strategy for explaining the ubiquity of rational options.



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Joshua Gert
College of William and Mary

Citations of this work

Überforderungseinwände in der Ethik.Lukas Naegeli - 2022 - Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter.
Morality and Practical Reasons.Douglas W. Portmore - 2021 - Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Moral Demands and Ethical Theory: The Case of Consequentialism.Attila Tanyi - 2013 - In Barry Dainton & Howard Robinson (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Philosophy. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 500-527.
Formalizing Reasons, Oughts, and Requirements.Robert Mullins - 2020 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7:568-599.

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References found in this work

Engaging Reason.Joseph Raz - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):745-748.
Normative strength and the balance of reasons.Joshua Gert - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (4):533-562.
Perform Your Best Option.Douglas W. Portmore - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy 110 (8):436-459.
Kagan on "the appeal to cost".Michael E. Bratman - 1994 - Ethics 104 (2):325-332.

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