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  1. The Sellarsian Dilemma.R. M. Farley - 2017 - Southwest Philosophy Review 33 (1):115-123.
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  • Perceptualism and the epistemology of normative reasons.Jean Moritz Müller - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3557-3586.
    According to much recent work in metaethics, we have a perceptual access to normative properties and relations. On a common approach, this access has a presentational character. Here, ‘presentational’ specifies a characteristic feature of the way aspects of the environment are apprehended in sensory experience. While many authors have argued that we enjoy presentations of value properties, thus far comparatively less effort has been invested into developing a presentational view of the apprehension of normative reasons. Since it appears that this (...)
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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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  • Omissions and expectations: a new approach to the things we failed to do.Pascale Willemsen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1587-1614.
    Imagine you and your friend Pierre agreed on meeting each other at a café, but he does not show up. What is the difference between a friend’s not showing up meeting? and any other person not coming? In some sense, all people who did not come show the same kind of behaviour, but most people would be willing to say that the absence of a friend who you expected to see is different in kind. In this paper, I will spell (...)
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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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  • Normative Transmission and Necessary Means.Jakob Werkmäster - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (2):555-568.
    This paper focuses on the interaction of reasons and argues that reasons for an action may transmit to the necessary means of that action. Analyzing exactly how this phenomenon may be captured by principles governing normative transmission has proved an intricate task in recent years. In this paper, I assess three formulations focusing on normative transmission and necessary means: Ought Necessity, Strong Necessity, and Weak Necessity. My focus is on responding to two of the main objections raised against normative transmission (...)
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  • Perspectivism and the Argument from Guidance.Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):361-374.
    Perspectivists hold that what you ought to do is determined by your perspective, that is, your epistemic position. Objectivists hold that what you ought to do is determined by the facts irrespective of your perspective. This paper explores an influential argument for perspectivism which appeals to the thought that the normative is action guiding. The crucial premise of the argument is that you ought to φ only if you are able to φ for the reasons which determine that you ought (...)
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  • Reasons and Guidance.Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (3):214-235.
    Many philosophers accept a response constraint on normative reasons: that p is a reason for you to φ only if you are able to φ for the reason that p. This constraint offers a natural way to cash out the familiar and intuitive thought that reasons must be able to guide us, and has been put to work as a premise in a range of influential arguments in ethics and epistemology. However, the constraint requires interpretation and faces putative counter-examples due (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Reasons why in normative explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (6):607-623.
    Normative explanations, which specify why things have the normative features they do, are ubiquitous in normative theory and ordinary thought. But there is much less work on normative explanation than on scientific or metaphysical explanation. Skow (2016) argues that a complete answer to the question why some fact Q occurs consists in all of the reasons why Q occurs. This paper explores this theory as a case study of a general theory that promises to offer us a grip on normative (...)
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  • New Foundations for Imperative Logic Iii: A General Definition of Argument Validity.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2012 - Manuscript in Preparation.
    Besides pure declarative arguments, whose premises and conclusions are declaratives (“you sinned shamelessly; so you sinned”), and pure imperative arguments, whose premises and conclusions are imperatives (“repent quickly; so repent”), there are mixed-premise arguments, whose premises include both imperatives and declaratives (“if you sinned, repent; you sinned; so repent”), and cross-species arguments, whose premises are declaratives and whose conclusions are imperatives (“you must repent; so repent”) or vice versa (“repent; so you can repent”). I propose a general definition of argument (...)
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  • New foundations for imperative logic III: A general definition of argument validity.Peter B. M. 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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  • “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.
    The claim that (OIC) “ought” implies “can” (i.e., you have an obligation only at times at which you can obey it) entails that (1) obligations that become infeasible are lost (i.e., you stop having an obligation when you become unable to obey it). Moreover, the claim that (2) obligations that become overridden are not always lost (i.e., sometimes you keep having an obligation when you acquire a stronger incompatible obligation) entails that (ONIM) “ought” does not imply “must” (i.e., some obligations (...)
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  • Against Moral Character Evaluations: The Undetectability of Virtue and Vice.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2009 - The Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):213 - 233.
    I defend the epistemic thesis that evaluations of people in terms of their moral character as good, bad, or intermediate are almost always epistemically unjustified. (1) Because most people are fragmented (they would behave deplorably in many and admirably in many other situations), one's prior probability that any given person is fragmented should be high. (2) Because one's information about specific people does not reliably distinguish those who are fragmented from those who are not, one's posterior probability that any given (...)
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  • The Radical Behavioral Challenge and Wide-Scope Obligations in Business.Hasko von Kriegstein - 2022 - Journal of Business Ethics 177 (3):507-517.
    This paper responds to the Radical Behavioral Challenge to normative business ethics. According to RBC, recent research on bounded ethicality shows that it is psychologically impossible for people to follow the prescriptions of normative business ethics. Thus, said prescriptions run afoul of the principle that nobody has an obligation to do something that they cannot do. I show that the only explicit response to this challenge in the business ethics literature is flawed because it limits normative business ethics to condemning (...)
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  • Objective Consequentialism and Avoidable Imperfections.Rob van Someren Greve - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):481-492.
    There are two distinct views on how to formulate an objective consequentialist account of the deontic status of actions, actualism and possibilism. On an actualist account, what matters to the deontic status of actions is only the value of the outcome an action would have, if performed. By contrast, a possibilist account also takes into account the value of the outcomes that an action could have. These two views come apart in their deontic verdicts when an agent is imperfect in (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Normativity: From Individual to Collective.J. K. Swindler - 2008 - Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (1):116-130.
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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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  • I Ought to Reply, So I Can.Bart Streumer - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (5):1547-1554.
    I have elsewhere given three arguments for the claim that there can be a reason for a person to perform an action only if this person can perform this action. Henne, Semler, Chituc, De Brigard, and Sinnott-Armstrong make several objections to my arguments. I here respond to their objections.
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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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  • “The Thing To Do” Implies “Can”.Nicholas Southwood - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):61-72.
    A familiar complaint against the principle that “ought” implies “can” is that it seems that agents can intentionally make it the case that they cannot perform acts that they nonetheless ought to perform. I propose a related principle that I call the principle that “the thing to do” implies “can.” I argue that the principle that “the thing to do” implies “can” is implied by important but underappreciated truths about practical reason, and that it is not vulnerable to the familiar (...)
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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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  • What ability can do.Ben Schwan - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):703-723.
    One natural way to argue for the existence of some subjective constraint on agents’ obligations is to maintain that without that particular constraint, agents will sometimes be obligated to do that which they lack the ability to do. In this paper, I maintain that while such a strategy appears promising, it is fraught with pitfalls. Specifically, I argue that because the truth of an ability ascription depends on an (almost always implicit) characterization of the relevant possibility space, different metaethical accounts (...)
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  • Ought implies can, asymmetrical freedom, and the practical irrelevance of transcendental freedom.Matthé Scholten - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):25-42.
    In this paper, I demonstrate that Kant's commitment to an asymmetry between the control conditions for praise and blame is explained by his endorsement of the principle Ought Implies Can (OIC). I argue that Kant accepts only a relatively weak version of OIC and that he is hence committed only to a relatively weak requirement of alternate possibilities for moral blame. This suggests that whether we are transcendentally free is irrelevant to questions about moral permissibility and moral blameworthiness.
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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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  • The Relativistic Car: Applying Metaethics to the Debate about Self-Driving Vehicles.Thomas Pölzler - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (3):833-850.
    Almost all participants in the debate about the ethics of accidents with self-driving cars have so far assumed moral universalism. However, universalism may be philosophically more controversial than is commonly thought, and may lead to undesirable results in terms of non-moral consequences and feasibility. There thus seems to be a need to also start considering what I refer to as the “relativistic car” — a car that is programmed under the assumption that what is morally right, wrong, good, bad, etc. (...)
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  • Conservatism Reconsidered.David O'Brien - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (1):149-168.
    G. A. Cohen has argued that there is a surprising truth in conservatism—namely, that there is a reason for some valuable things to be preserved, even if they could be replaced with other, more valuable things. This conservative thesis is motivated, Cohen suggests, by our judgments about a range of hypothetical cases. After reconstructing Cohen's conservative thesis, I argue that the relevant judgments about these cases do not favor the conservative thesis over standard, nonconservative axiological views. But I then argue (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Derivative culpability.Martin Montminy - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (5):689-709.
    I explore the question of when an agent is derivatively, rather than directly, culpable for an undesirable outcome. The undesirable outcome might be a harmful incompetent or unwitting act, or it might be a harmful event. By examining various cases, I develop a sophisticated account of indirect culpability that is neutral about controversies regarding normative ethical issues and the condition on direct culpability.
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  • Culpability and Irresponsibility.Martin Montminy - 2018 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (1):167-181.
    I defend the principle that a person is blameworthy for her action only if that action was morally wrong. But what should we say about an agent who does the right thing based on bad motives? I present three types of cases that have these features. In each, I argue, the agent is not culpable for her action; however, she violates the norm of moral responsibility, and thus acts in a morally irresponsible way. This analysis, I show, has several virtues. (...)
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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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  • Intuitions, reflective judgments, and experimental philosophy.Michael Hannon - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):4147-4168.
    Experimental philosophers are often puzzled as to why many armchair philosophers question the philosophical significance of their research. Armchair philosophers, in contrast, are often puzzled as to why experimental philosophers think their work sheds any light on traditional philosophical problems. I argue there is truth on both sides.
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  • Intentions, Permissibility, and Choice.Anton Markoč - 2018 - Res Publica 24 (4):493-508.
    T. M. Scanlon has argued that the intentions with which one acts, or more specifically, one’s reasons for acting, are non-derivatively irrelevant to the moral permissibility of one’s actions. According to one of his arguments in favor of that thesis, it can be permissible to act for one reason rather than another only if one can choose to act for a reason but, since that choice is impossible since believing as will is impossible, one can be permitted to act but (...)
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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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  • Reasons for Action and Psychological Capacities.Rosemary Lowry - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (4):521 - 531.
    Most moral philosophers agree that if a moral agent is incapable of performing some act ϕ because of a physical incapacity, then they do not have a reason to ϕ. Most also claim that if an agent is incapable of ϕ-ing due to a psychological incapacity, brought about by, for example, an obsession or phobia, then this does not preclude them from having a reason to ϕ. This is because the 'ought implies can' principle is usually interpreted as a claim (...)
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  • Evolutionary models and the normative significance of stability.Arnon Levy - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):33.
    Many have expected that understanding the evolution of norms should, in some way, bear on our first-order normative outlook: How norms evolve should shape which norms we accept. But recent philosophy has not done much to shore up this expectation. Most existing discussions of evolution and norms either jump headlong into the is/ought gap or else target meta-ethical issues, such as the objectivity of norms. My aim in this paper is to sketch a different way in which evolutionary considerations can (...)
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  • What 'we'?Holly Lawford-Smith - 2015 - Journal of Social Ontology 1 (2):225-250.
    The objective of this paper is to explain why certain authors - both popular and academic - are making a mistake when they attribute obligations to uncoordinated groups of persons, and to argue that it is particularly unhelpful to make this mistake given the prevalence of individuals faced with the difficult question of what morality requires of them in a situation in which there's a good they can bring about together with others, but not alone. I'll defend two alternatives to (...)
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  • Understanding Political Feasibility.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2013 - Journal of Political Philosophy 21 (3):243-259.
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  • The Feasibility of Collectives' Actions.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):453-467.
    Does ?ought? imply ?can? for collectives' obligations? In this paper I want to establish two things. The first, what a collective obligation means for members of the collective. The second, how collective ability can be ascertained. I argue that there are four general kinds of obligation, which devolve from collectives to members in different ways, and I give an account of the distribution of obligation from collectives to members for each of these kinds. One implication of understanding collective obligation and (...)
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  • Non-Ideal Accessibility.Holly Lawford-Smith - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):653-669.
    What should we do when we won't do as we ought? Suppose it ought to be that the procrastinating professor accept the task of reviewing a book, and actually review the book. It seems clear that given he won't review it, he ought not to accept the task. That is a genuine moral obligation in light of less than perfect circumstances. I want to entertain the possibility that a set of such obligations form something like a 'practical morality'; that which (...)
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  • ‘Must’ implies ‘can’.Miklós Kürthy, Fabio Del Prete & Luca Barlassina - 2022 - Mind and Language 37.
    An open question in the semantics of modality is what relations there are among different modal flavours. In this article, we consider the thorny issue of whether ascribing to an agent the obligation to φ implies that it is possible for the agent to φ. Traditionally, this issue has been interpreted as whether ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. But another linguistic interpretation is available as well, namely, whether ‘must’ implies ‘can’ (MIC). We show that ‘must’ does imply ‘can’ via a convergent argument. (...)
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  • Kant and 'Ought Implies Can'.Markus Kohl - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):690-710.
    Although Kant is often considered the founding father of the controversial principle ‘Ought Implies Can’ (OIC), it is not at all clear how Kant himself understands and defends this principle. This essay provides a substained interpretation of Kant's views on OIC. I argue that Kant endorses two versions of OIC: a version that is concerned with our physical capacities, and a version that posits a link between moral obligation and a volitional power of choice. I show that although there are (...)
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  • Bounded Ethicality and The Principle That “Ought” Implies “Can”.Tae Wan Kim, Rosemarie Monge & Alan Strudler - 2015 - Business Ethics Quarterly 25 (3):341-361.
    ABSTRACT:In this article we investigate a philosophical problem for normative business ethics theory suggested by a phenomenon that contemporary psychologists call “bounded ethicality,” which can be identified with the putative fact that well-intentioned people, constrained by psychological limitations, make ethical choices inconsistent with their own ethical beliefs and commitments. When one combines the idea that bounded ethicality is pervasive with the idea that a person morally ought to do something only if she can, it raises a doubt about the practical (...)
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  • Group Agency and Overdetermination.David Killoren & Bekka Williams - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):295-307.
    A morally objectionable outcome can be overdetermined by the actions of multiple individual agents. In such cases, the outcome is the same regardless of what any individual does or does not do. (For a clear example of such a case, imagine the execution of an innocent person by a firing squad.) We argue that, in some of these types of cases, (a) there exists a group agent, a moral agent constituted by individual agents; (b) the group agent is guilty of (...)
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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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