Motive and Right Action

Philosophia 38 (2):405-415 (2010)
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Some philosophers believe that a change in motive alone is sometimes sufficient to bring about a change in the deontic status (rightness or wrongness) of an action. I refer to this position as ‘weak motivism’, and distinguish it from ‘strong’ and ‘partial motivism’. I examine a number of cases where our intuitive judgements appear to support the weak motivist’s thesis, and argue that in each case an alternative explanation can be given for why a change in motive brings about (or, in some cases, appears to bring about) a change in deontic status.



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Liezl Van Zyl
University of Waikato

Citations of this work

Political Anti-Intentionalism.Matthias Brinkmann - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (2):159-179.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Thomas E. Hill & Arnulf Zweig.
On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The Right and the Good. Some Problems in Ethics.W. D. Ross - 1930 - Oxford: Clarendon Press. Edited by Philip Stratton-Lake.

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