Permissibly encouraging the impermissible

Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (3):341-354 (2004)
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Certain theorists argue that intention cannot be a wrong-making feature of actions because (a) it is morally impermissible to encourage morally impermissible actions; (b) there are certain putatively impermissible actions that seem to be impermissible because of the intention with which they are performed; and (c) at least some of these actions can permissibly be encouraged. If one accepts (a) and (c), then one should conclude that these actions cannot really be impermissible. This paper rejects the premise that it is always impermissible to encourage impermissible acts. The argument explores three ways one could encourage an act that would be permissible but for its being performed with a wrong-making intention. It argues that there is at most a strong but defeasible presumption against encouraging the performance of impermissible actions.

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Alec Walen
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Citations of this work

Should we prevent deontological wrongdoing?Re’em Segev - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2049-2068.
The Doctrine of Illicit Intentions.Alec Walen - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (1):39-67.

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References found in this work

Self-defense.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (4):283-310.

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