The Justification of Associative Duties

Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (1):28-55 (2016)
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People often think that their special relationships with family, friends, comrades and compatriots, can ground moral reasons. Among these reasons, they understand some to be duties – pro tanto requirements that have genuine weight when they conflict with other considerations. In this paper I ask: what is the underlying moral structure of associative duties? I first consider and reject the orthodox Teleological Welfarist account, which first observes that special relationships are fundamental for human well-being, then claims that we cannot have these relationships, if we do not recognise associative duties, before concluding that we should therefore recognise associative duties. I then introduce a nonteleological alternative, grounded in the Appropriate Response approach to ethical theory.

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Seth Lazar
Australian National University


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