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  1. The “Ought” Implies “Can” Principle: A Challenge to Collective Intentionality.Guglielmo Feis - 2012 - Phenomenology and Mind 2:114-121.
    I investigate collective intentionality (CI) through the “Ought” implies “Can” (OIC) principle. My leading question is does OIC impose any further requirement on CI? In answering the challenge inside a Searlean framework, I realize that we need to clarify what CI's structure is and what kind of role the agents joining a CI-act have. In the last part of the paper, I put forward an (inverted) Hartian framework to allow the Searlean CI theory to be agent sensitive and cope with (...)
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  • The Duty to Join Forces: When Individuals Lack Control.Frank Hindriks - 2019 - The Monist 102 (2):204-220.
    Some harms are such that they cannot be prevented by a single individual because she lacks the requisite control. Because of this, no individual has the obligation to do so. It may be, however, that the harm can be prevented when several individuals combine their efforts. I argue that in many such situations each individual has a duty to join forces: to approach others, convince them to contribute, and subsequently make a coordinated effort to prevent the harm. A distinctive feature (...)
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  • Excuses and Alternatives.Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (1):1-16.
    A version of the principle of alternate possibilities claims that one is only blameworthy for actions which one was able to avoid. Much of the discussion about PAP concerns Frankfurt’s counterexamples to it. After fifty years of refined debates, progress might seem hopeless. Yet, we can make headway by asking: “what’s our reason for believing PAP?” The best answer is this: lacking eligible alternatives—alternatives whose cost is not too high to reasonably opt for—is a good excuse. Yet, this principle is (...)
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  • Inability and Obligation in Intellectual Evaluation.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2020 - Episteme 17 (4):475-497.
    If moral responsibilities prescribe how agents ought to behave, are there also intellectual responsibilities prescribing what agents ought to believe? Many theorists have argued that there cannot be intellectual responsibilities because they would require the ability to control whether one believes, whereas it is impossible to control whether one believes. This argument appeals to an “ought implies can” principle for intellectual responsibilities. The present paper tests for the presence of intellectual responsibilities in social cognition. Four experiments show that intellectual responsibilities (...)
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  • Moderate Scientism in Philosophy.Buckwalter Wesley & John Turri - forthcoming - In Jereon de Ridder, Rik Peels & René van Woudenberg (eds.), Scientism: Prospects and Problems. Oxford University Press.
    Moderate scientism is the view that empirical science can help answer questions in nonscientific disciplines. In this paper, we evaluate moderate scientism in philosophy. We review several ways that science has contributed to research in epistemology, action theory, ethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. We also review several ways that science has contributed to our understanding of how philosophers make judgments and decisions. Based on this research, we conclude that the case for moderate philosophical scientism is strong: scientific (...)
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  • Does Initial Appropriation Create New Obligations?Jesse Spafford - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (2).
    A popular argument against the unilateral appropriation of unowned resources maintains that such appropriation is impossible because it implies a power to unilaterally impose novel obligations on others—a power which people cannot have given that they are moral equals. However, Bas van der Vossen has recently argued that initial appropriation does not create obligations in this way; rather, it merely alters the empirical facts that, together with obligations, determine people’s practical moral requirements. This paper argues that van der Vossen is (...)
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  • How Much Can We Ask of Collective Agents?Stephanie Collins - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (7):815-831.
    Are obligations of collective agents—such as states, businesses, and non-profits—ever overdemanding? I argue they are not. I consider two seemingly attractive routes to collective overdemandingness: that an obligation is overdemanding on a collective just if the performance would be overdemanding for members; and that an obligation is overdemanding on a collective just if the performance would frustrate the collective’s permissible deep preferences. I reject these. Instead, collective overdemandingness complaints should be reinterpreted as complaints about inability or third-party costs. These are (...)
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  • The Procreation Asymmetry : The Existence-Requirement Strategy and Some Concerns on Incompatibility.Jepser Söderstedt - unknown
    According to the procreation asymmetry there is no moral reason to create a new and foreseeably happy person just because this person will be happy, but there is however a moral reason against creating a new and foreseeably unhappy person just because this person will be unhappy. A common way to defend this conjunction of claims is by employing a so-called existence-requirement, according to which the happiness of a given person p in a world w depends on it being possible (...)
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  • Blame, Not Ability, Impacts Moral “Ought” Judgments for Impossible Actions: Toward an Empirical Refutation of “Ought” Implies “Can”.Vladimir Chituc, Paul Henne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Felipe De Brigard - 2016 - Cognition 150:20-25.
    Recently, psychologists have explored moral concepts including obligation, blame, and ability. While little empirical work has studied the relationships among these concepts, philosophers have widely assumed such a relationship in the principle that “ought” implies “can,” which states that if someone ought to do something, then they must be able to do it. The cognitive underpinnings of these concepts are tested in the three experiments reported here. In Experiment 1, most participants judge that an agent ought to keep a promise (...)
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  • The Sellarsian Dilemma.R. M. Farley - 2017 - Southwest Philosophy Review 33 (1):115-123.
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  • “Ought” Implies “Can” but Does Not Imply “Must”: An Asymmetry Between Becoming Infeasible and Becoming Overridden.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (4):487-514.
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  • To Be Able to, or to Be Able Not To? That is the Question. A Problem for the Transcendental Argument for Freedom.Nadine Elzein & Tuomas K. Pernu - 2019 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 15 (2):13-32.
    A type of transcendental argument for libertarian free will maintains that if acting freely requires the availability of alternative possibilities, and determinism holds, then one is not justified in asserting that there is no free will. More precisely: if an agent A is to be justified in asserting a proposition P (e.g. "there is no free will"), then A must also be able to assert not-P. Thus, if A is unable to assert not-P, due to determinism, then A is not (...)
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  • Global obligations, collective capacities, and ‘ought implies can’.Bill Wringe - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1523-1538.
    It is sometimes argued that non-agent collectives, including what one might call the ‘global collective’ consisting of the world’s population taken as a whole, cannot be the bearers of non-distributive moral obligations on pain of violating the principle that ‘ought implies can’. I argue that one prominent line of argument for this conclusion fails because it illicitly relies on a formulation of the ‘ought implies can’ principle which is inapt for contexts which allow for the possibility of non-distributive plural predications (...)
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  • Externalist Psychiatry.Will Davies - 2016 - Analysis 76 (3):290-296.
    Psychiatry widely assumes an internalist biomedical model of mental illness. I argue that many of psychiatry’s diagnostic categories involve an implicit commitment to constitutive externalism about mental illness. Some of these categories are socially externalist in nature.
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  • Reasons, Determinism and the Ability to Do Otherwise.Sofia Jeppsson - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (5):1225-1240.
    It has been argued that in a deterministic universe, no one has any reason to do anything. Since we ought to do what we have most reason to do, no one ought to do anything either. Firstly, it is argued that an agent cannot have reason to do anything unless she can do otherwise; secondly, that the relevant ‘can’ is incompatibilist. In this paper, I argue that even if the first step of the argument for reason incompatibilism succeeds, the second (...)
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  • Reasons and Normativity.Jakob Green Werkmäster - 2019 - Dissertation, Lund University
    Normative reasons are of constant importance to us as agents trying to navigate through life. For this reason it is natural and vital to ask philosophical questions about reasons and the normative realm. This thesis explores various issues concerning reasons and normativity. The thesis consists of five free-standingpapers and an extended introduction. The aim of the extended introduction is not merely to situate the papers within a wider philosophical context but also to provide an overview of some of the central (...)
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  • ‘Ought’, ‘Can’, and Fairness.Rob van Someren Greve - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):913-922.
    According to the principle that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, it is never the case that you ought to do something you cannot do. While many accept this principle in some form, it also has its share of critics, and thus it seems desirable if an argument can be offered in its support. The aim of this paper is to examine a particular way in which the principle has been defended, namely, by appeal to considerations of fairness. In a nutshell, the idea (...)
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  • ‘Ought Implies Can’: Not So Pragmatic After All.Alex King - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):637-661.
    Those who want to deny the ‘ought implies can’ principle often turn to weakened views to explain ‘ought implies can’ phenomena. The two most common versions of such views are that ‘ought’ presupposes ‘can’, and that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. This paper will reject both views, and in doing so, present a case against any pragmatic view of ‘ought implies can’. Unlike much of the literature, I won't rely on counterexamples, but instead will argue that each of these views fails (...)
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  • ‘Ought’ Does Not Imply ‘Can’.Moti Mizrahi - 2009 - Philosophical Frontiers 4 (1):19-35.
    According to the Ought-Implies-Can principle (OIC), an agent ought to perform a certain action only if the agent can perform that action. Proponents of OIC interpret this supposed implication in several ways. Some argue that the implication in question is a logical one, namely, entailment. Some think that the relation between ‘ought’ and ‘can’ is a relation of presupposition. Still others argue that ‘ought’ conversationally implicates ‘can’. Opponents of OIC offer a variety of counterexamples in an attempt to show that (...)
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  • ‘Ought’, ‘Can’, and Practical Reasons.Clayton Littlejohn - 2009 - American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (4):363-73.
    Some recent defenses of the 'ought' implies 'can' (OIC) principle try to derive that principle from uncontroversial claims about reasons for action. Reasons for action, it's said, are reasons only for 'potential' actions, which are actions that an agent can perform. Given that 'ought' implies 'reasons', it seems we have our proof of OIC. In this paper, I argue that this latest strategy for defending OIC fails.
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  • Relational Autonomy and the Ethics of Health Promotion.A. Wardrope - 2015 - Public Health Ethics 8 (1):50-62.
    Recent articles published in this journal have highlighted the shortcomings of individualistic approaches to health promotion, and the potential contributions of relational analyses of autonomy to public health ethics. I argue that the latter helps to elucidate the former, by showing that an inadequate analysis of autonomy leads to misassignment of both forward-looking and backward-looking responsibility for health outcomes. Health promotion programmes predicated on such inadequate analyses are then ineffective, because they assign responsibility to agents whose social environment inhibits their (...)
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  • What Kind of Perspectivism?Benjamin Kiesewetter - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (4):415-443.
    According to perspectivism about moral obligation, our obligations are affected by our epistemic circumstances. But how exactly should this claim be understood? On Zimmerman’s “Prospective View”, perspectivism is spelled out as the thesis that an option is obligatory if and only if it maximizes what Zimmerman calls “prospective value”, which is in turn determined by the agent’s present evidence. In this article, I raise two objections to this approach. Firstly, I argue that spelling out the difference between perspectivism and anti-perspectivism (...)
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  • Ought, Can, and Presupposition: An Experimental Study.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Methode 4 (6):232-243.
    In this paper, I present the results of an experimental study on intuitions about moral obligation (ought) and ability (can). Many philosophers accept as an axiom the principle known as “Ought Implies Can” (OIC). If the truth of OIC is intuitive, such that it is accepted by many philosophers as an axiom, then we would expect people to judge that agents who are unable to perform an action are not morally obligated to perform that action. The results of my experimental (...)
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  • An Empirical Refutation of ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’.Paul Henne, Vladimir Chituc, Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2016 - Analysis 76 (3):283-290.
    Most philosophers assume that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, and most of them hold that this principle is true not only universally but also analytically or conceptually. Some skeptics deny this principle, although they often admit some related one. In this article, we show how new empirical evidence bolsters the skeptics’ arguments. We then defend the skeptical view against some objections to the empirical evidence and to its effect on the traditional principle. In light of the new evidence, we conclude that philosophers (...)
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  • New Foundations for Imperative Logic III: A General Definition of Argument Validity.Peter Vranas - 2016 - Synthese 193 (6):1703-1753.
    Besides pure declarative arguments, whose premises and conclusions are declaratives, and pure imperative arguments, whose premises and conclusions are imperatives, there are mixed-premise arguments, whose premises include both imperatives and declaratives, and cross-species arguments, whose premises are declaratives and whose conclusions are imperatives or vice versa. I propose a general definition of argument validity: an argument is valid exactly if, necessarily, every fact that sustains its premises also sustains its conclusion, where a fact sustains an imperative exactly if it favors (...)
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  • Collectives' Duties and Collectivisation Duties.Stephanie Collins - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):231-248.
    Plausibly, only moral agents can bear action-demanding duties. This places constraints on which groups can bear action-demanding duties: only groups with sufficient structure—call them ‘collectives’—have the necessary agency. Moreover, if duties imply ability then moral agents (of both the individual and collectives varieties) can bear duties only over actions they are able to perform. It is thus doubtful that individual agents can bear duties to perform actions that only a collective could perform. This appears to leave us at a loss (...)
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  • Explaining the Instrumental Principle.Jonathan Way - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):487-506.
    The Wide-Scope view of instrumental reason holds that you should not intend an end without also intending what you believe to be the necessary means. This, the Wide-Scoper claims, provides the best account of why failing to intend the believed means to your end is a rational failing. But Wide-Scopers have struggled to meet a simple Explanatory Challenge: why shouldn't you intend an end without intending the necessary means? What reason is there not to do so? In the first half (...)
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  • Does ‘Ought’ Imply ‘Can’ From an Epistemic Point of View?Moti Mizrahi - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):829-840.
    In this paper, I argue that the “Ought Implies Can” (OIC) principle, as it is employed in epistemology, particularly in the literature on epistemic norms, is open to counterexamples. I present a counterexample to OIC and discuss several objections to it. If this counterexample works, then it shows that it is possible that S ought to believe that p, even though S cannot believe that p. If this is correct, then OIC, considered from an epistemic point of view, is false, (...)
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  • Institutionally Driven Moral Conflicts and Managerial Action: Dirty Hands or Permissible Complicity?Rosemarie Monge - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 129 (1):161-175.
    This paper examines what managers ought to do when confronted with apparent moral conflicts between their managerial responsibilities and the general requirements of morality, specifically when those conflicts are driven by the institutional environment. I examine Google’s decision to enter the Chinese search engine market as an example of such a conflict. I consider the view that Google’s managers engaged in justifiable moral compromise in making the choice to engage in self-censorship and show how this view depends on the idea (...)
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  • Reasons, Impossibility and Efficient Steps: Reply to Heuer.Bart Streumer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (1):79 - 86.
    Ulrike Heuer argues that there can be a reason for a person to perform an action that this person cannot perform, as long as this person can take efficient steps towards performing this action. In this reply, I first argue that Heuer's examples fail to undermine my claim that there cannot be a reason for a person to perform an action if it is impossible that this person will perform this action. I then argue that, on a plausible interpretation of (...)
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  • Recent Experimental Work on “Ought” Implies “Can”.Jen Semler & Paul Henne - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (9).
    While philosophers generally accept some version of the principle ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, recent work in experimental philosophy and cognitive science provides evidence against a presupposition or a conceptual entailment from ‘ought’ to ‘can’. Here, we review some of this evidence, its effect on particular formulations of the principle, and future directions for cognitive scientists and philosophers.
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  • Three Cheers for Double Effect.Samuel C. Rickless Dana Kay Nelkin - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):125-158.
    The doctrine of double effect, together with other moral principles that appeal to the intentions of moral agents, has come under attack from many directions in recent years, as have a variety of rationales that have been given in favor of it. In this paper, our aim is to develop, defend, and provide a new theoretical rationale for a secular version of the doctrine. Following Quinn , we distinguish between Harmful Direct Agency and Harmful Indirect Agency. We propose the following (...)
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  • Will the Real Principles of Justice Please Stand Up?David Wiens - 2017 - In Kevin Vallier & Michael Weber (eds.), Political Utopias: Contemporary Debates. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops a ``nesting'' model of deontic normative principles (i.e., principles that specify moral constraints upon action) as a means to understanding the notion of a ``fundamental normative principle''. I show that an apparently promising attempt to make sense of this notion such that the ``real'' or ``fundamental'' demands of justice upon action are not constrained by social facts is either self-defeating or relatively unappealing. We should treat fundamental normative principles not as specifying fundamental constraints upon action, but as (...)
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  • An Analysis of Recent Empirical Data on ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’.Yishai Cohen - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):57-67.
    Recent experimental studies dispute the position that commonsense morality accepts ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’, the view that, necessarily, if an agent ought to perform some action, then she can perform that action. This paper considers and supports explanations for the results of these studies on the hypothesis that OIC is intuitive and true.
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  • Three Cheers for Double Effect.Dana Kay Nelkin & Samuel C. Rickless - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):125-158.
    The doctrine of double effect, together with other moral principles that appeal to the intentions of moral agents, has come under attack from many directions in recent years, as have a variety of rationales that have been given in favor of it. In this paper, our aim is to develop, defend, and provide a new theoretical rationale for a secular version of the doctrine. Following Quinn (1989), we distinguish between Harmful Direct Agency and Harmful Indirect Agency. We propose the following (...)
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  • Understanding Political Feasibility.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2013 - Journal of Political Philosophy 21 (3):243-259.
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  • Motivational Limitations on the Demands of Justice.David Wiens - 2016 - European Journal of Political Theory 15 (3):333-352.
    Do motivational limitations due to human nature constrain the demands of justice? Among those who say no, David Estlund offers perhaps the most compelling argument. Taking Estlund’s analysis of “ability” as a starting point, I show that motivational deficiencies can constrain the demands of justice under at least one common circumstance — that the motivationally-deficient agent makes a good faith effort to overcome her deficiency. In fact, my argument implies something stronger; namely, that the demands of justice are constrained by (...)
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  • Clinical Ethics Consultation and the Challenge to Implement What Is Right.Robert Ranisch & Cordula Brand - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (9):38-39.
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  • Explaining Compensatory Duties.Matthew S. Bedke - 2010 - Legal Theory 16 (2):91-110.
    In some cases, harming another gives rise to a duty to compensate for harm done. This paper argues that the influential explanations of such duties of compensation—that they are somehow derived from rights intrusions, or breaches of duties not to harm—fail. I offer and defend an alternative explanation for why certain harms and not others give rise to compensatory duties, an explanation that seeks to derive them from wide-scope duties not to harm or to compensate for harm done.
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  • Factualism, Normativism and the Bounds of Normativity.Thomas M. Besch - 2011 - Dialogue 50 (2):347-365.
    The paper argues that applications of the principle that “ought” implies “can” (OIC) depend on normative considerations even if the link between “ought” and “can” is logical in nature. Thus, we should reject a common, “factualist” conception of OIC and endorse weak “normativism”. Even if we use OIC as the rule ““cannot” therefore “not ought””, applying OIC is not a mere matter of facts and logic, as factualists claim, but often draws on “proto-ideals” of moral agency.
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  • Education’s Ultimate Aims and Freedom to Do Otherwise.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2014 - Social Philosophy and Policy 31 (1):81-108.
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  • A Paradox Concerning Frankfurt Examples.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):87-103.
    The set with the following members is inconsistent: F-Lesson: A person can be blameworthy for performing an action even though she cannot refrain from performing it. Equivalence: ‘Ought not’ is equivalent to ‘impermissible.’ OIC: ‘Ought’ implies ‘can’ and ‘ought not’ implies ‘can refrain from.’ BRI: Necessarily, one is morally blameworthy for doing something only if it is overall morally impermissible for one to do it. Since Equivalence seems unassailable, one can escape the inconsistency by renouncing any one of the other (...)
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  • Luck, the Range of Obligations, and Frankfurt Examples.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2014 - Philosophical Papers 43 (3):317-344.
    The following two principles are invoked to argue, first, for the view that it is often a matter of luck to avoid performing many garden-variety sorts of acts in everyday life that are seemingly obligatory for us. It is impossible for one to perform an action that is morally obligatory for one unless one could have done otherwise; and it is impossible for one to perform an action without having some pro-attitude to perform it. Next, the view is defended that (...)
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  • Obligation, Responsibility, and History.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (1):1-23.
    I argue that, each of the following, appropriately clarified to yield a noteworthy thesis, is true. Moral obligation can affect moral responsibility. Obligation succumbs to changes in responsibility. Obligation is immune from changes in responsibility.
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  • Luminosity Failure, Normative Guidance and the Principle ‘Ought-Implies-Can’.Nick Hughes - 2018 - Utilitas 30 (4):439-457.
    It is widely thought that moral obligations are necessarily guidance giving. This supposed fact has been put to service in defence of the ‘ought-implies-can’ principle according to which one cannot be morally obligated to do the impossible, since impossible-to-satisfy obligations would not give guidance. It is argued here that the supposed fact is no such thing; moral obligations are not necessarily guiding giving, and so the ‘guidance argument’ for ought-implies-can fails. This is the result of no non-trivial condition being ‘luminous’.
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  • Causal Relevance, Permissible Omissions, and Famine Relief.Chad Vance - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (1):25-47.
    Failures are sometimes, but not always, causally relevant to events. For instance, the failure of the sprinkler was causally relevant to the house fire. However, the failure of the dam upstream to break (thus inundating the house with water) was not. Similarly, failures to prevent harms are sometimes, but not always, morally wrong. For instance, failing to save a nearby drowning child is morally wrong. Yet, you are also in some sense “allowing” someone on another continent to drown right now, (...)
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  • Allies in Tension: Identifying and Bridging the Rift Between R2p and Just War.Henrik Friberg-Fernros - 2011 - Journal of Military Ethics 10 (3):160-173.
    Abstract It has become almost commonplace to regard the concepts of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Just War as not only compatible but rather closely connected. Contrary to this position I argue here that some Just War criteria are in significant tension with R2P. This tension results from the fact that Just War only makes war permitted while R2P prescribes an obligation. But R2P and Just War not only are in significant tension, but also suffer from inverted weaknesses: R2P is (...)
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  • Normativity: From Individual to Collective.J. K. Swindler - 2008 - Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (1):116-130.
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  • On Having Very Long Arms: How the Availability of Technological Means Affects Moral Cognition.Jonas Nagel & Michael R. Waldmann - 2016 - Thinking and Reasoning 22 (2):184-208.
    ABSTRACTModern technological means allow for meaningful interaction across arbitrary distances, while human morality evolved in environments in which individuals needed to be spatially close in order to interact. We investigate how people integrate knowledge about modern technology with their ancestral moral dispositions to help relieve nearby suffering. Our first study establishes that spatial proximity between an agent's means of helping and the victims increases people's judgement of helping obligations, even if the agent is constantly far personally. We then report and (...)
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  • Considering Intentions in Decision Making: What Is So Odd About It?Anton Markoč - 2017 - Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (4):481-498.
    An influential objection to the view that intentions are non-derivatively relevant to the moral permissibility of actions states that if intentions were relevant to permissibility in such a way, one would have to take them into account in decision making, which would be odd (in some morally relevant sense of ‘oddness’). The paper outlines and assesses three candidates for the oddness: that considering intentions in decision making is an unordinary practice, that it is impossible or conceptually confused, and that it (...)
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