Lapses and Dilemmas

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael Zimmerman, Professor and Philosophy Pre-Law Concentration Advisor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: A moral dilemma occurs when there are several actions which cannot all be performed, although each can be and each ought to be. Recent discussion of the possibility and implications of moral dilemmas has focused on those dilemmas where the sense of ‘can’ at issue is that which J.L. Austin called the ‘all-in’ sense and where the ‘ought’ at issue expresses moral obligation of the absolute, all-things-considered variety (as opposed to the merely prima facie variety). Given this narrow focus, several by-now-familiar arguments for and against the possibility of moral dilemmas have been given. In this paper I shall not add to or evaluate these arguments. Rather, I shall draw (in Section I) certain distinctions within the narrow focus mentioned, thereby distinguishing four main varieties of moral dilemma, and then I shall comment (in Section 11) on the possibility and implications of these four main varieties from the perspective of the thesis that one ought to do the best one can.

Additional Information

Philosophical Papers, 17 (1988): 103-112
Language: English
Date: 1988
moral dilemma, ought, all things considered, lapses,

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