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Idealizing Morality

Hypatia 25 (4):797 - 824 (2010)

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  1. Ideal and Nonideal Moral Theory for Disaster Bioethics.Dónal O’Mathúna - 2016 - Human Affairs 26 (1):8-17.
    Moral theory has generally focused on resolving ethical dilemmas by identifying ethically sound options. Whether the focus is on consequences, duties, principles or virtues, ethical cases are often approached in ways that assume morally sound solutions can be found and followed. Such ‘ideal morality’ assumes that moral goodness is always possible, leaving people confident they have done the right thing. Such an approach becomes inadequate in disaster settings where any good solution is often difficult to see. This paper examines recent (...)
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  • Non-Ideal Theory and Gender Voluntarism in Against Purity.Kathryn J. Norlock - 2018 - Apa Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 18 (1):1-5.
    In Against Purity, Alexis Shotwell takes up a multiplicity of tasks with respect to what I think of as non-ideal ethical theory. In what follows, I trace the relationship of her work to that of non-ideal theorists whose work influences mine. Then, more critically, I probe her analysis of gender voluntarism in Chapter 5, “Practicing Freedom: Disability and Gender Transformation,” partly to better understand what she takes it to be, and partly to advance a cautious defense of some of the (...)
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  • Non-Ideal Prescriptions for the Morally Uncertain.Amelia Hicks - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-26.
    Morally speaking, what should one do when one is morally uncertain? Call this the Moral Uncertainty Question. In this paper, I argue that a non-ideal moral theory provides the best answer to the Moral Uncertainty Question. I begin by arguing for a strong ought-implies-can principle---morally ought implies agentially can---and use that principle to clarify the structure of a compelling non-ideal moral theory. I then describe the ways in which one's moral uncertainty affects one's moral prescriptions: moral uncertainty constrains the set (...)
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  • Return to Status Quo Ante: The Need for Robust and Reversible Pandemic Emergency Measures.Stephen Rainey & Alberto Giubilini - 2021 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 30 (2):222-233.
    This paper presents a normative analysis of restrictive measures in response to a pandemic emergency. It applies to the context presented by the Corona virus disease 2019 global outbreak of 2019, as well as to future pandemics. First, a Millian-liberal argument justifies lockdown measures in order to protect liberty under pandemic conditions, consistent with commonly accepted principles of public health ethics. Second, a wider argument contextualizes specific issues that attend acting on the justified lockdown for western liberal democratic states, as (...)
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  • How Should Marriage Be Theorised?Alasia Nuti - 2016 - Feminist Theory 17 (3):285-302.
    Feminists have noted the injustice of the institution of marriage and the asymmetric power dynamics within gender-structured marriages. Recently, feminists have found an unexpected supporter of this struggle against marriage in some liberal political theorists. I argue that this new wave of interest in the wrongness of marriage within liberalism reveals shortcomings from a feminist perspective. While some liberals fail to realise that instead of being disestablished, the institution of marriage should be radically reformed, others do not recognise that such (...)
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  • The Challenges of Extreme Moral Stress: Claudia Card's Contributions to the Formation of Nonideal Ethical Theory.Kathryn J. Norlock - 2016 - Metaphilosophy 47 (4-5):488-503.
    Open Access: This essay argues that Claudia Card numbers among important contributors to nonideal ethical theory, and it advocates for the worth of NET. Following philosophers including Lisa Tessman and Charles Mills, the essay contends that it is important for ethical theory, and for feminist purposes, to carry forward the interrelationship that Mills identifies between nonideal theory and feminist ethics. Card's ethical theorizing assists in understanding that interrelationship. Card's philosophical work includes basic elements of NET indicated by Tessman, Mills, and (...)
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  • The Best and the Rest: How Ideals Mislead and Distort -- Yet Sharpen -- Comparative Evaluation.David Wiens - manuscript
    Political philosophers sometimes defend the value of idealistic normative theories by arguing that they help specify principles for evaluating feasible solutions to real-world problems. I start by showing that this defense is ambiguous between three interpretations, one of which I show to be a nonstarter. The second interpretation says (roughly) that a description of a normatively ideal society provides a benchmark from which to measure deviations from the ideal; the third says (again, roughly) that a description of a normatively ideal (...)
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  • The General Theory of Second Best Is More General Than You Think.David Wiens - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (5):1-26.
    Lipsey and Lancaster's "general theory of second best" is widely thought to have significant implications for applied theorizing about the institutions and policies that most effectively implement abstract normative principles. It is also widely thought to have little significance for theorizing about which abstract normative principles we ought to implement. Contrary to this conventional wisdom, I show how the second-best theorem can be extended to myriad domains beyond applied normative theorizing, and in particular to more abstract theorizing about the normative (...)
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  • For an Impure, Antiauthoritarian Ethics.Michael D. Doan - 2018 - Apa Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 18 (1):8-12.
    My commentary deals with the fourth chapter of Against Purity, entitled “Consuming Suffering,” where Shotwell invites us to imagine what an alternative to ethical individualism might look like in practice. I am particularly interested in the analogy she develops to help pull us into the frame of what she calls a “distributed” or “social” approach to ethics. I will argue that grappling with this analogy can help illuminate three challenges confronting those of us seeking a genuine alternative to ethical individualism: (...)
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  • Humanity, Virtue, Justice: A Framework for a Capability Approach.Benjamin James Bessey - unknown
    This Thesis reconsiders the prospects for an approach to global justice centring on the proposal that every human being should possess a certain bundle of goods, which would include certain members of a distinctive category: the category of capabilities. My overall aim is to present a clarified and well-developed framework, within which such claims can be made. To do this, I visit a number of regions of normative and metanormative theorising. I begin by introducing the motivations for the capability approach, (...)
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  • “Caring‐About” and the Problem of Overwhelming Obligations.Ornaith O'Dowd - 2016 - Hypatia 31 (4):795-809.
    Care theorists often think of care as involving “caring-about”—concern or attentiveness—and “caring-for”—acting to nurture, look after, or meet needs. One problem for any theory of care is the scope of our obligations to care in both of those senses; in particular, our capacities for “caring-about” often outrun our capacities for “caring-for.” Accounts of care as potentially global in scope may ascribe overwhelming obligations to moral agents; however, we are often tempted to avoid or ignore situations that may call for a (...)
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