Pattern-Based Reasons and Disaster

Utilitas 35 (2):131–147 (2023)
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Abstract

Pattern-based reasons are reasons for action deriving not from the features of our own actions, but from the features of the larger patterns of action in which we might be participating. These reasons might relate to the patterns of action that will actually be carried out, or they might relate to merely hypothetical patterns. In past work, I have argued that accepting merely hypothetical pattern-based reasons, together with a plausible account of how to weigh these reasons, can lead to disastrous consequences. However, in this article, I argue that this problem is not limited to hypothetical pattern-based reasons: it turns out that there are analogous issues for reasons deriving from actual patterns. I then suggest that we can avoid this problem by adopting a different account of the weight of pattern-based reasons.

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Alexander Dietz
University of Southern California (PhD)

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