Theoretical and applied ethics

TitleEthical consistency and the logic of ought
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsBeirlaen, M
JournalTheoretical and applied ethics

In Ethical Consistency, Bernard Williams vindicated the possibility of moral conflicts; he proposed to consistently allow for the presence of such conflicts within the logic of 'ought'. In determining the nature of moral conflict, Williams stressed its contingency. In this paper, Williams’ characterization of moral conflict is defended. However, Williams’ solution for consistently allowing for such conflicts within the logic of 'ought' is shown to be too crude. Whereas Williams rejects all applications of the agglomeration rule in the logic of 'ought', it is shown that a more sophisticated approach is needed. An alternative solution is presented in which the application of the agglomeration rule is made conditional upon the principle that ˝ought implies can˝.

Citation Key1970192
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