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Moral Dilemmas and Moral Theory by H. E. Mason

By H. E. Mason

Do ethical dilemmas really exist? What counts as an ethical predicament? Can an sufficient ethical concept admit the opportunity of actual conflicts of ethical responsibilities? during this e-book, twelve widespread ethical theorists learn those and different questions from a wide selection of philosophical views. involved all through with the consequences of ethical dilemmas for ethical idea, this choice of essays captures in impressive style the whole scope and power of the present ethical dilemmas debate. together with either realist and anti-realist meta-ethical positions, and Kantian and consequentialist normative perspectives, ethical Dilemmas and ethical concept sheds new mild on numerous status controversies in ethical philosophy whereas elevating a clean set of hard concerns. individuals comprise Simon Blackburn, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Alan Donagan, Terrance McConnell, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Mary Mothersill, Norman Dahl, David breaking point, Peter Railton, Thomas E. Hill, Jr., Christopher Gowans, and H.E. Mason.

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Obligations often require plans and arrangements if one is to discharge them. Something goes wrong when, for example, I promise to meet someone for lunch, deliberately go on a trip at a great distance, and plead that I could not return in time. One needs a condition that says at least that if an agent ought to do x and if he does nothing to thwart the doing of x, then he can do x. But even here the question remains. Even in the case in which an agent didn't thwart the doing of x, in which his car broke down, for example, the agent is not exactly in the same position as someone who said he might be at lunch and failed to appear.

Regret seems appropriate when, owing to circumstances beyond control and despite all reasonable precaution and planning, an agent cannot meet an obligation—when what thwarts it is not a conflicting obligation but a straightforward physical impossibility. In both cases, explanations are required. The agent who incurred no obligation need not explain. Given the character of deontic principles that define rightness in terms of the essential character of the act, it is perhaps more appropriate to adopt the principle that what is deontically prescribed is never annulled, but that when, through no deliberate scheme of his own, an agent cannot meet his obligation, he cannot be blamed.

Our interest is not merely in having a playable game, whatever the accidental circumstances, but in doing the right thing to the extent that it is possible. We may want to ensure that we can act in accordance with each of our rules. To that end, our alternative as moral agents, individually and collectively, as contrasted with the card game players, is to try to stack the deck so that dilemmas do not arise or that their likelihood is reduced. 28 Moral Dilemmas and Moral Theory Given the complexity of our lives and the imperfection of our knowledge, the occasions of dilemma cannot always be foreseen or predicted.

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