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Innocence Lost : An Examination of Inescapable Moral Wrongdoing - Christopher W. Gowans

Innocence Lost

An Examination of Inescapable Moral Wrongdoing

Hardcover

Published: 1st April 1994
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Our lives are such that moral wrongdoing is sometimes inescapable for us. We have moral responsibilities to persons which may conflict and which it is wrong to violate even when they do conflict. Christopher W. Gowans argues that we must accept this conclusion if we are to make sense of our moral experience and the way in which persons are valuable to us. In defending this position, he critically examines the recent moral dilemmas debate. He maintains that what is important in this debate is not whether there are irresolvable moral conflicts, but whether there are moral conflicts in which wrongdoing is unavoidable. Though it would be incoherent to conclude moral deliberation by deciding to perform incompatible actions, he argues that there is nothing incoherent in supposing that we have conflicting moral responsibilities. In this way, he shows that it is possible to capture the intuitions of those who have defended the idea of moral dilemmas while meeting the objections of those who have rejected this idea.
Gowans carefully evaluates utilitarian and Kantian analyses of moral dilemmas. He argues that these approaches eliminate genuine moral conflict only by displacing persons as direct objects of moral concern. As an alternative, he develops a more concrete account in which moral responsibilities to persons are central. On his account, we have moral responsibilities to particular persons by virtue of our appreciation of the intrinsic and unique value of each of these persons and of our connections with them. Gowans argues that when we think of our responsibilities in this way, we have reason to believe that they sometimes conflict and that it is wrong to violate them even when they do conflict. The book also includes discussions of Melville's Billy Budd, methodology in moral philosophy, moral pluralism, moral tragedy, and "dirty hands" in politics.

"What is lovely about the book is the way in which [his] thesis is carefully nestled inside a series of complex but lucid arguments that touch on a remarkably wide array of issues....In addition to its clarity and imagination, this is also a strikingly economical book."--Hastings Center Report "Innocence Lost is well and clearly written."--Ethics "What is lovely about the book is the way in which [his] thesis is carefully nestled inside a series of complex but lucid arguments that touch on a remarkably wide array of issues....In addition to its clarity and imagination, this is also a strikingly economical book."--Hastings Center Report "Innocence Lost is well and clearly written."--Ethics

"The Angel Must Hang!": Inescapable Moral Wrongdoing in Melville's Billy Buddp. 3
The Idea of Inescapable Moral Wrongdoingp. 4
The Controversy about Billy Buddp. 6
The Trial of Billy Buddp. 8
A Tragic Choicep. 10
An Assessment of Verep. 14
A Prospectus of Philosophical Issuesp. 16
Methodological Issues: Reflective Intuitionismp. 25
The Importance of Methodologyp. 26
Hare's Linguistic Methodp. 28
A Reformulation of Rawls: From Reflective Equilibrium to Reflective Intuitionismp. 32
A Defense of Reflective Intuitionismp. 36
Arguments for the Dilemmas Thesisp. 46
The Dilemmas Thesisp. 47
The Equality Argumentp. 49
The Incomparability Argumentp. 52
The Phenomenological Argumentp. 57
Sinnott-Armstrong's Understanding of "Moral Dilemmas,"p. 59
A Prescriptivist Argument against the Dilemmas Thesisp. 66
Prescriptivism and the Dilemmas Thesisp. 67
Attempts to Reconcile the Dilemmas Thesis and Intention-Prescriptivismp. 72
Intention-Prescriptivism and a Common Argument against the Dilemmas Thesisp. 75
The Kantian Principlep. 77
The Agglomeration Principlep. 81
The Significance of the Argument against the Dilemmas Thesisp. 83
The Phenomenological Argument for the Remainders Thesisp. 88
The Remainders Thesisp. 89
The Phenomenological Argument Revisitedp. 93
The Phenomenological Argument and the Method of Reflective Intuitionismp. 100
The Status of Intuitions about Inescapable Moral Distressp. 103
Some Common Explanations of Inescapable Moral Distressp. 106
Responsibilities to Persons: An Explanation of Inescapable Moral Distressp. 117
Normative Issues in the Debate about the Remainders Thesisp. 117
Responsibilities to Personsp. 121
More on Responsibilitiesp. 128
Conflicting Responsibilities and Inescapable Moral Distressp. 131
Wrongdoing and Objectivityp. 135
Pluralism and Incomparabilityp. 145
Utilitarian Critiques of the Phenomenological Argumentp. 155
Utilitarian and Kantian Explanations of Inescapable Moral Distressp. 155
The Act-Utilitarian Rejection of Inescapable Moral Wrongdoingp. 158
Mill's Critique of the Phenomenological Argumentp. 161
Hare's Critique of the Phenomenological Argumentp. 166
The Utilitarian Account of Moral Rulesp. 168
The Utilitarian Account of Inescapable Moral Distressp. 175
Kantian Critiques of the Phenomenological Argumentp. 184
Respect for Persons as Ends in Themselvesp. 185
The Impossibility of Conflicting Obligationsp. 187
The Displacement of Personsp. 192
Donagan on Conflicting Grounds of Obligationp. 196
Herman on Conflicting Grounds of Obligationp. 203
Korsgaard on Resisting Evilp. 208
Innocence Lostp. 218
The Ideal of Moral Innocencep. 218
The Nature of Moral Tragedyp. 224
The Problem of Dirty Handsp. 228
Bibliographyp. 237
Indexp. 247
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195085174
ISBN-10: 0195085175
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 270
Published: 1st April 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.3 x 16.5  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.56