At Least You Tried: The Value of De Dicto Concern to Do the Right Thing

Philosophical Studies:1-31 (forthcoming)
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I argue that there are some situations in which it is praiseworthy to be motivated only by moral rightness de dicto, even if this results in wrongdoing. I consider a set of cases that are challenging for views that dispute this, prioritising concern for what is morally important (de re, and not de dicto) in moral evaluation (for example, Arpaly 2002; Arpaly and Schroeder 2013; Harman 2015; Weatherson 2019). In these cases, the agent is not concerned about what is morally important (de re), does the wrong thing, but nevertheless seems praiseworthy rather than blameworthy. I argue that the views under discussion cannot accommodate this, and should be amended to recognise that it is often praiseworthy to be motivated to do what is right (de dicto).
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Archival date: 2022-01-09
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