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Agent-neutral deontology

Philosophical Studies 163 (2):527-537 (2013)

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  1. Consequentialism and the Agent's Point of View.Nathan Robert Howard - forthcoming - Ethics.
    I propose and defend a novel view called ‘de se consequentialism’, which is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it demonstrates — contra Doug Portmore, Mark Schroeder, Campbell Brown, and Michael Smith, among others — that a consequentialist theory employing agent-neutral value is logically consistent with agent-centered constraints. Second, de se consequentialism clarifies both the nature of agent-centered constraints and why philosophers have found them puzzling, thereby meriting attention from even dedicated non-consequentialists. Scrutiny reveals that moral theories in general, whether consequentialist (...)
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  • Consequentializing Constraints: A Kantsequentialist Approach.Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    There is, on a given moral view, a constraint against performing acts of a certain type if that view prohibits agents from performing an instance of that act-type even to prevent two or more others from each performing a morally comparable instance of that act-type. The fact that commonsense morality includes many such constraints has been seen by several philosophers as a decisive objection against consequentialism. Despite this, I argue that constraints are more plausibly accommodated within a consequentialist framework than (...)
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  • In Dubious Battle: Uncertainty and the Ethics of Killing.Seth Lazar - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):859-883.
    How should deontologists concerned with the ethics of killing apply their moral theory when we don’t know all the facts relevant to the permissibility of our action? Though the stakes couldn’t be higher, and uncertainty is endemic where killing is concerned, few deontologists have an answer to this question. In this paper I canvass two possibilities: that we should apply a threshold standard, equivalent to the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard applied for criminal punishment; and that we should fit our (...)
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  • Distinguishing Agent-Relativity From Agent-Neutrality.Matthew Hammerton - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):239-250.
    The agent-relative/agent-neutral distinction is one of the most important in contemporary moral theory. Yet, providing an adequate formal account of it has proven difficult. In this article I defend a new formal account of the distinction, one that avoids various problems faced by other accounts. My account is based on an influential account of the distinction developed by McNaughton and Rawling. I argue that their approach is on the right track but that it succumbs to two serious objections. I then (...)
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  • Consequentialists Must Kill.Christopher Howard - 2021 - Ethics 131 (4):727-753.
    Many contemporary act consequentialists define facts about what we should do in terms of facts about what we should prefer. They claim that we should perform an action if and only if we should prefer its outcome to the outcome of any available alternative. Some of these theorists claim they can accommodate deontic constraints, such as a constraint against killing the innocent. I argue that they can’t. If there’s a constraint against killing, then when we can prevent five killings only (...)
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  • Agent-Relativity and the Status of Deontological Restrictions.Jamie Buckland - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-23.
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  • Scientific Ethics: A New Approach.Marcello Menapace - 2019 - Science and Engineering Ethics 25 (4):1193-1216.
    Science is an activity of the human intellect and as such has ethical implications that should be reviewed and taken into account. Although science and ethics have conventionally been considered different, it is herewith proposed that they are essentially similar. The proposal set henceforth is to create a new ethics rooted in science: scientific ethics. Science has firm axiological foundations and searches for truth and knowledge. Hence, science cannot be value neutral. Looking at standard scientific principles, it is possible to (...)
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  • Deontic Constraints Are Maximizing Rules.Matthew Hammerton - 2020 - Journal of Value Inquiry 54 (4):571-588.
    Deontic constraints prohibit an agent performing acts of a certain type even when doing so will prevent more instances of that act being performed by others. In this article I show how deontic constraints can be interpreted as either maximizing or non-maximizing rules. I then argue that they should be interpreted as maximizing rules because interpreting them as non-maximizing rules results in a problem with moral advice. Given this conclusion, a strong case can be made that consequentialism provides the best (...)
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  • Is Agent-Neutral Deontology Possible?Matthew Hammerton - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (3):319-324.
    It is commonly held that all deontological moral theories are agent-relative in the sense that they give each agent a special concern that she does not perform acts of a certain type rather than a general concern with the actions of all agents. Recently, Tom Dougherty has challenged this orthodoxy by arguing that agent-neutral deontology is possible. In this article I counter Dougherty's arguments and show that agent-neutral deontology is not possible.
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  • Relativized Rankings.Matthew Hammerton - 2020 - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 46-66.
    In traditional consequentialism the good is position-neutral. A single evaluative ranking of states of affairs is correct for everyone, everywhere regardless of their positions. Recently, position-relative forms of consequentialism have been developed. These allow for the correct rankings of states to depend on connections that hold between the state being evaluated and the position of the evaluator. For example, perhaps being an agent who acts in a certain state requires me to rank that state differently from someone else who lacks (...)
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  • Leaving Agent-Relative Value Behind.Christa M. Johnson - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (1):53-67.
    Commonsense morality seems to feature both agent-neutral and agent-relative elements. For a long time, the core debate between consequentialists and deontologists was which of these features should take centerstage. With the introduction of the consequentializing project and agent-relative value, however, agent-neutrality has been left behind. While I likewise favor an agent-relative view, agent-neutral views capture important features of commonsense morality.This article investigates whether an agent-relative view can maintain what is attractive about typical agent-neutral views. In particular, I argue that the (...)
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  • Why Deontologists Should Reject Agent-Relative Value and Embrace Agent-Relative Accountability.Rudolf Schuessler - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie 3 (2):315-335.
    This paper claims that deontological and consequentialist ethics are best distinguished with reference to different assumptions concerning moral accountability and accounting. Deontological ethics can thereby be defended against the accusation of inordinate concern with the moral purity of agents. Moreover, deontological ethics can and should reject being based on the concept of agent-relative value. Even under the assumption that deontological ethics can be consequentialized, agent-relative value need not play a fundamental role. This is not the same as denying agent-relativity a (...)
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  • Should Law Track Morality?Re'em Segev - 2017 - Criminal Justice Ethics 36 (2):205-223.
    Does the moral status of an action provide in itself a non-instrumental, pro-tanto reason for a corresponding legal status – a reason that applies regardless of whether the law promotes a value that is independent of the law, such as preventing wrongdoing or promoting distributive or retributive justice? While the relation between morality and law is a familiar topic, this specific question is typically not considered explicitly. Yet it seems to be controversial and each of the contrasting answers to this (...)
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  • Consequentializing and Underdetermination.Marius Baumann - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):511-527.
    abstractThe paper explores a new interpretation of the consequentializing project. Three prominent interpretations are criticized for neglecting the explanatory dimension of moral theories. Instead...
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  • Should We Prevent Deontological Wrongdoing?Re’em Segev - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2049-2068.
    Is there a reason to prevent deontological wrongdoing—an action that is wrong due to the violation of a decisive deontological constraint? This question is perplexing. On the one hand, the intuitive response seems to be positive, both when the question is considered in the abstract and when it is considered with regard to paradigmatic cases of deontological wrongdoing such as Bridge and Transplant. On the other hand, common theoretical accounts of deontological wrongdoing do not entail this answer, since not preventing (...)
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