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Moral Objections to MO

  • Fred Feldman
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 35)

Abstract

The sort of neo-utilitarian approach that I advocate has been subjected of a fair amount of criticism. I think it will be useful to spend some time considering and evaluating some of this criticism. I want to do this for two different reasons. In the first place, by explaining how I would reply to these objections, I hope to show that my approach is rationally defensible. The second reason for considering the objections seems to me to be more important. It is this: the presentation of the objections and replies will enable the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and purpose of the theory.

Keywords

Moral Obligation Normative Theory Moral Decision Moral Intuition Good World 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes to Chapter 3

  1. 1a.
    This topic is discussed in Dan Brock’s ‘Recent Work in Utilitarianism,’ American Philosophical Quarterly 10 (1973), 250–251.Google Scholar
  2. 1b.
    He there cites several relevant papers. In my view, one of the most interesting discussions can be found in R. E. Bales, ‘Act Utilitarianism: Account of Right-Making Characteristics or Decision-Making Procedure?,’ American Philosophical Quarterly 8 (1971), 257–265.Google Scholar
  3. 1c.
    See also J. J. C. Smart, An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1961).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Kurt Baier, The Moral Point of View, abridged edition (New York: Random House, 1965), p. 109.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    For an example of this sort of position, see Samuel Scheffler, The Rejection of Consequentialism (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    An excellent, though somewhat dated, bibliography of this topic can be found in Nicholas Rescher, Distributive Justice (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1966), pp. 137–139.Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    The article appeared in The Philosophical Review 85 (1976), 449–487.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    In ‘Utilitarianism and Past and Future Mistakes,’ Noûs 10 (1976), 195–219.Google Scholar
  9. 7a.
    The objection made by Goldman and Sobel provoked several comments, and eventually led to at least one reconsideration. Among these are: Lars Bergström, ‘Utilitarianism and Future Mistakes,’ Theoria 43 (1977), 84–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 7b.
    Michael McKinsey, ‘Levels of Obligation,’ Philosophical Studies 35 (1979), 385–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 7c.
    Holly Smith Goldman, ‘Doing the Best One Can,’ Values and Morals, ed. by A. I. Goldman and J. Kim (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1978), pp. 185–214Google Scholar
  12. 7d.
    P. S. Greenspan, ‘Oughts and Determinism: A Response to Goldman,’ The Philosophical Review 87 (1978), 77–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 11a.
    Useful discussion of Williams’ essay can be found in: Nancy Davis, ‘Utilitarianism and Responsibility,’ Ratio 22 (1980), 15–35Google Scholar
  14. 11b.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974), 265–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 11c.
    Harry Silverstein, ‘Utilitarianism and Group Coordination,’ Noûs XIII, 3, (September, 1979), 335–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 11d.
    Williams extended the discussion in ‘Utilitarianism and Moral Self-Indulgence,’ Modern British Philosophy 4th Series, ed. by H. D. Lewis (London: Allen and Unwin, 1976), pp. 306–321, as well as in other papers.Google Scholar
  17. 12.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, p. 99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 13.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, p. 116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 14.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, p. 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 15.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, p. 99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 16.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, p. 110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 17.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, p. 116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 18.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, pp. 115–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 19.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, p. 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 20.
    Principa Ethica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1903), p. 20.Google Scholar
  26. 21.
    For an extended, insightful discussion of this point, see R. E. Bales, ‘Act-Utilitarianism: Account of Right-Making Characteristics or Decision-making Procedure?’, American Philosophical Quarterly 8 (1971), 257–265.Google Scholar
  27. 22.
    John Harris, ‘Williams on Negative Responsibility and Integrity,’ Philosophical Quarterly 24 (1974) Williams, p. 99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred Feldman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Massachusetts at AmherstUSA

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