Distinguishing agent-relativity from agent-neutrality

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):239-250 (2019)
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The agent-relative/agent-neutral distinction is one of the most important in contemporary moral theory. Yet, providing an adequate formal account of it has proven difficult. In this article I defend a new formal account of the distinction, one that avoids various problems faced by other accounts. My account is based on an influential account of the distinction developed by McNaughton and Rawling. I argue that their approach is on the right track but that it succumbs to two serious objections. I then show how to formulate a new account that follows the key insights of McNaughton and Rawling’s approach yet avoids the two objections.

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Matthew Hammerton
Singapore Management University

Citations of this work

Consequentialists Must Kill.Christopher Howard - 2021 - Ethics 131 (4):727-753.
Reasons for action: Agent-neutral vs. Agent-relative.Michael Ridge - 2011 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Relativized Rankings.Matthew Hammerton - 2020 - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 46-66.
The Fundamental Divisions in Ethics.Matthew Hammerton - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-24.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The Possibility of Altruism.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Oxford Clarendon Press.
The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Behaviorism 15 (1):73-82.

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