Interpersonal Moral Conflicts

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Terrance C. McConnell, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: A moral dilemma is often characterized as a situation in which an agent ought to do each of two acts, but he cannot do both. This characterization is too narrow, however, because it erroneously suggests that dilemmas are limited to situations in which only one agent is involved. It is just as plausible, though, to suppose that there might be multi-person moral dilemmas, of which the two-person case may be taken as typical. In my discussion of multi-person moral dilemmas I shall focus on the two-person case and I shall call such situations "interpersonal moral conflicts." To the best of my knowledge, Ruth B. Marcus is the first to distinguish explicitly between single-agent and multi-person dilemmas. What I shall argue here is that the importance of this distinction has been overlooked. Indeed, I shall claim that the problems that single-agent dilemmas generate for moral theories are different from and more serious than the difficulties created by interpersonal conflicts.

Additional Information

American Philosophical Quarterly 25(1) (January 1988), pp. 25-35
Language: English
Date: 1988
moral dilemma, interpersonal moral conflict, multi-person dilemmas

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