Philosophical Studies 174 (8):1959-1981 (2017)

William Lauinger
Chestnut Hill College
Various moral theories are essentially welfare-involving in that they appeal to the promotion or the respect of well-being in accounting for the moral rightness of at least some acts. Further, various theories of well-being are essentially morality-involving in that they construe well-being in a way that essentially involves morality in some form or other. It seems that, for any moral theory that is essentially welfare-involving and that relies on a theory of well-being that is essentially morality-involving, a circularity problem may well arise, one where moral rightness will end up being accounted for partly in terms of well-being, which itself is already being accounted for partly in terms of moral rightness. In this paper I will elaborate on this last point. Then I will examine five responses to the circularity problem at issue, and I will argue that one of them appears to be at least slightly better than all of the others.
Keywords circularity  well-being  moral rightness  qualitative hedonism  objective-list theory  act utilitarianism
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-016-0777-1
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Natural Law and Natural Rights.John Finnis - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 13 (3):7-9.

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