Moral Worth Requires a Fundamental Concern for What Ultimately Matters

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Abstract
An act that accords with duty has moral worth if and only if the agent’s reason for performing it is the same as what would have motivated a perfectly virtuous agent to perform it. On one of the two leading accounts of moral worth, an act that accords with duty has moral worth if and only if the agent’s reason for performing it is the fact that it’s obligatory. On the other, an act that accords with duty has moral worth if and only if the agent’s reason for performing it is the fact that it has that feature of obligatory acts that makes them obligatory. I argue that both views are incorrect, providing counterexamples to each. I then argue that, on the correct account, an act can have moral worth only if its agent is motivated out of a fundamental concern for the things that ultimately matter.
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First archival date: 2019-06-22
Latest version: 2 (2019-06-24)
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2019-06-22

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