Moral Worth, Credit, and Non-Accidentality

In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 10. Oxford University Press, Usa (2020)
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Abstract

This paper defends an account of moral worth. Moral worth is a status that some, but not all, morally right actions have. Unlike with merely right actions, when an agent performs a morally worthy action, she is necessarily creditworthy for doing the right thing. First, I argue that two dominant views of moral worth have been unable to fully capture this necessary connection. On one view, an action is morally worthy if and only if its agent is motivated by the features of the action that make it right. On the other, an action is morally worthy if and only if its agent is motivated by the action’s rightness itself. Neither of these views captures the connection between moral worth and creditworthiness, because each view leaves room for cases of accidentally doing the right thing. Next, I develop a new account, which I call the Guise of Moral Reasons Account. On my account, morally worthy actions are right actions that are motivated by moral reasons as such. This account rules out cases of accidentally doing the right thing, thus capturing the necessary connection between moral worth and creditworthiness for doing the right thing.

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Keshav Singh
University of Alabama, Birmingham

Citations of this work

Moral worth and skillful action.David Horst - 2024 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (3):657-675.
Moral Worth and Knowing How to Respond to Reasons.J. J. Cunningham - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (2):385-405.
Moral Worth and Our Ultimate Moral Concerns.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics.
What the Cluster View Can Do for You.Daniel Fogal & Alex Worsnip - 2024 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies of Metaethics 19. Oxford University Press USA.
The knowledge norm of assertion: keep it simple.Max Lewis - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12963-12984.

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References found in this work

The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome (ed.) - 2013 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
In Praise of Desire.Nomy Arpaly & Timothy Schroeder - 2013 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Timothy Schroeder.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - In Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-108.

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