No free lunch: The significance of tiny contributions

Analysis 78 (1):3-13 (2018)
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Abstract
There is a well-known moral quandary concerning how to account for the rightness or wrongness of acts that clearly contribute to some morally significant outcome – but which each seem too small, individually, to make any meaningful difference. One consequentialist-friendly response to this problem is to deny that there could ever be a case of this type. This paper pursues this general strategy, but in an unusual way. Existing arguments for the consequentialist-friendly position are sorites-style arguments. Such arguments imagine varying a subject’s predicament bit by bit until it is clear that a relevant difference has been achieved. The arguments offered in this paper are structurally different, and do not rely on any sorites series. For this reason, they are not vulnerable to objections that have been leveled against the sorites-style arguments.
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First archival date: 2017-07-09
Latest version: 3 (2017-07-15)
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