Moral Philosophy Seminar (Monday - Week 2, HT23)

moral philosophy

What is it for an agent to have a moral obligation (or to be morally required) to perform an action? In this paper, I present an analysis of moral obligations in terms of reasons, argue that it provides illuminating explanations of some of their potentially puzzling features, and suggest how it can be put to use to solve some pressing problems in moral philosophy – including the why-be-moral challenge, the so-called paradox of supererogation, and Anscombe’s challenge to modern moral philosophy. The core idea of the proposal is that moral obligations are not only constituted by reasons of the subject of the obligation, but also by reasons for others to expect the subject to comply with her reasons. It is this social aspect of moral obligations that explains why moral obligations have a special demand-like character, why wrongdoing makes reactive emotions appropriate, and why it can sometimes be permissible to act in morally suboptimal ways.

Moral Philosophy Seminar Convenor: Jeremy Fix