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Moral Sunk Costs

The Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):841–861 (2018)

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  1. Duty and Doubt.Seth Lazar - 2020 - Journal of Practical Ethics 8 (1):28-55.
    Deontologists have been slow to address decision-making under risk and uncertainty, no doubt because the standard approaches to non-moral decision theory appear superficially similar to consequentialist moral reasoning. I identify some central tenets of simple decision theory and show that they should not put deontologists off, before showing where we should go next to develop a comprehensive deontological decision theory.
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  • Morality Under Risk.Chad Lee-Stronach - 2019 - Dissertation,
    Many argue that absolutist moral theories -- those that prohibit particular kinds of actions or trade-offs under all circumstances -- cannot adequately account for the permissibility of risky actions. In this dissertation, I defend various versions of absolutism against this critique, using overlooked resources from formal decision theory. Against the prevailing view, I argue that almost all absolutist moral theories can give systematic and plausible verdicts about what to do in risky cases. In doing so, I show that critics have (...)
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  • Moral Sunk Costs in War and Self-Defence.Elad Uzan - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):359-377.
    The problem of moral sunk costs pervades decision-making with respect to war. In the terms of just war theory, it may seem that incurring a large moral cost results in permissiveness: if a just goal may be reached at a small cost beyond that which was deemed proportionate at the outset of war, how can it be reasonable to require cessation? On this view, moral costs already expended could have major implications for the ethics of conflict termination. Discussion of sunk (...)
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