The Moral Clout of Reasonable Beliefs

In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume I. Oxford University Press (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Because we must often make decisions in light of imperfect information about our prospective actions, the standard principles of objective obligation must be supplemented with principles of subjective obligation (which evaluate actions in light of what the agent believes about their circumstances and consequences). The point of principles of subjective obligation is to guide agents in making decisions. But should these principles be stated in terms of what the agent actually believes or what it would be reasonable for her to believe about her prospective actions? I show that there are many decisions for which “reasonable belief” principles can’t be used by the decision-maker, especially in cases in which whether (or how) the agent investigates or deliberates affects the nature of the prospective action itself. I conclude that subjective rightness depends on what the agent actually believes, not what it would be reasonable for her to believe.

Author's Profile

Holly Smith
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Analytics

Added to PP
2011-11-20

Downloads
475 (#17,554)

6 months
27 (#38,107)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?