Transitivity, Moral Latitude, and Supererogation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

On the standard account of supererogation, an act is supererogatory if and only if it is morally optional and there is more moral reason to perform it than to perform some permissible alternative. And, on this account, an agent has more moral reason to perform one act than to perform another if and only if she morally ought to prefer its outcome to that of the other. I argue that this account has two serious problems. The first, the latitude problem, is that it has counterintuitive implications in cases where the duty to be exceeded is one that allows for significant latitude in how to comply with it. The second, the transitivity problem, is that it runs afoul of the plausible idea that the one-reason-morally-justifies-acting-against-another relation is transitive. I argue that both problems can be overcome by an alternative account: The maximalist account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-298
Number of pages13
JournalUtilitas
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science

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