You Can't Choose Your Family: Impartial Morality and Personal Obligations in Alias

In Patricia Brace & Robert Arp (eds.), The Philosophy of J.J. Abrams. The University Press of Kentucky. pp. 173-189 (2014)
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In this essay, I critically examine the ways in which the characters of Alias attempt to balance their impartial moral obligations (e.g. duties toward humanity) and their personal obligations (e.g. duties toward one's children). I specifically examine three areas of conflict: (1) choices between saving loved ones and maximizing consequences, (2) choices to maintain or sever relationships with characters who are vicious or immoral, and (3) choices to seek or not seek revenge on the behalf of loved ones. I conclude that Sydney's and Jack's moral choices show that one can and should privilege loved ones to some extent, but that this privilege has limits.

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Brendan Shea
Rochester Community And Technical College


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