Journal of Philosophy 110 (8):436-459 (2013)

Authors
Douglas W. Portmore
Arizona State University
Abstract
We ought to perform our best option—that is, the option that we have most reason, all things considered, to perform. This is perhaps the most fundamental and least controversial of all normative principles concerning action. Yet, it is not, I believe, well understood. For even setting aside questions about what our options are and what our reasons are, there are prior questions concerning how best to formulate the principle. In this paper, I address these questions. One of the more interesting upshots of this inquiry is that the deontic statuses (e.g., obligatory, optional, and impermissible) of individual actions are determined by the deontic statuses of the larger sets of actions of which they are a part. And, as I show, this has a number of interesting implications both for normative theory and for our understanding of practical reasons.
Keywords obligations  reasons  rationality  options
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ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.5840/jphil2013110818
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Maximalism and Moral Harmony.Douglas W. Portmore - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):318-341.
Moral Obligations: Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist?Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):672-686.
Conceptual Ethics and The Methodology of Normative Inquiry.David Plunkett & Tristram McPherson - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 274-303.

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