Morality, Rationality, and Performance Entailment

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The performance of one option can entail the performance of another. For instance, baking an apple pie entails baking a pie. Now, suppose that both of these options—baking a pie and baking an apple pie—are permissible. This raises the issue of which, if either, is more fundamental than the other. Is baking a pie permissible because it’s permissible to bake an apple pie? Or is baking an apple pie permissible because it’s permissible to bake a pie? Or are they equally fundamental, as they would be if they were both permissible because, say, they both accord with Kant’s categorical imperative? I defend the view that the permissibility of an option that entails another is more fundamental than the permissibility of the option that it entails. That is, I defend maximalism: the view that if an agent is permitted to perform a certain type of action (say, baking a pie), this is in virtue of the fact that she is permitted to perform some instance of this type (say, baking an apple pie), where φ-ing is an instance of ψ-ing if and only if φ-ing entails ψ-ing but not vice versa. If maximalism is correct, then, as I show, most theories of morality and rationality must be revised.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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