Action, Deontology, and Risk: Against the Multiplicative Model

Ethics 127 (3):674-707 (2017)
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Deontological theories face difficulties in accounting for situations involving risk; the most natural ways of extending deontological principles to such situations have unpalatable consequences. In extending ethical principles to decision under risk, theorists often assume the risk must be incorporated into the theory by means of a function from the product of probability assignments to certain values. Deontologists should reject this assumption; essentially different actions are available to the agent when she cannot know that a certain act is in her power, so we cannot simply understand her choice situation as a “risk-weighted” version of choice under certainty.
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