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Type: Conference paper
Title: Moral demands and not doing the best one can
Author: Louise, Jennie
Citation: AHRC Scottish Ethics Network. Ethics and Demandingness Conference, University of Dundee, July 14-16, 2006: 24 p.
Publisher: University of Dundee
Issue Date: 2006
Conference Name: Ethics and Demandingness Conference (2006 : University of Dundee)
School/Discipline: School of Humanities : Philosophy
Statement of
Jennie Louise
Abstract: The problem of extreme demands is one of the most intractable in contemporary moral theory. On the one hand, it seems that a failure to prevent great suffering at little cost to ourselves is morally wrong; given the amount of suffering in the world and the comparatively trivial nature of the requisite sacrifices, this intuition demands that we give up quite a lot. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to us that we act wrongly in living lives characterised by only moderate sacrifice, in which our time and resources are disproportionately used to benefit ourselves and those close to us. These two intuitions are extremely difficult to reconcile within any moral theory that recognises a duty to promote the general good. In this paper, however, I will suggest one possible way of doing so. My suggestion requires taking a closer look at the way in which the demand to the promote the good is derived: specifically, at the way our option set is characterised and the information that we take into account in weighing these options. I will suggest that there are certain assumptions it is plausible to make regarding the relevance of information about our own and other agents’ actions, and that once these assumptions are made, we can see how permissions may be derived within the framework of good-promotion.
RMID: 0020064448
Appears in Collections:Philosophy publications

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