Moral Worth and Consciousness: In Defense of a Value-Secured Reliability Theory

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
What minimal role—if any—must consciousness of morally significant information play in an account of moral worth? According to one popular view, a right action is morally worthy only if the agent is conscious (in some sense) of the facts that make it right. I argue against this consciousness condition and close cousins of it. As I show, consciousness of such facts requires much more sophistication than writers typically suggest—this condition would bar from moral worth most ordinary, intuitively morally worthy agents. Moreover, I show that the attraction to this flavor of consciousness condition rests on mistaken assumptions about what is required for a right act to be non-accidentally right and attributable to the agent. Drawing some lessons from the discussion, I defend a Value-Secured Reliability Theory of Moral Worth and show how a minimal yet indispensable role for consciousness falls out from it. On this independently plausible theory, an action can be morally worthy even when the agent is unaware of the right-making features of her action.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-11-04
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
147 ( #37,788 of 64,134 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #26,244 of 64,134 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.