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ModalitiesPhilosophical Essays$
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Ruth Barcan Marcus

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195096576

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195096576.001.0001

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Moral Dilemmas and Consistency

Moral Dilemmas and Consistency

(p.125) 9 Moral Dilemmas and Consistency

Ruth Barcan Marcus (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this paper, it is argued that moral dilemmas need not indicate that the set of moral principles under which we define our obligations is inconsistent. It is also argued that the consistency of moral principles does not entail that moral dilemmas can be settled without residue. This points not only to an intractable fact about the human condition and the inevitability of guilt but also to a second‐order regulative principle: as rational agents we ought to conduct our lives and arrange our institutions so as to minimize predicaments of moral conflict.

Keywords:   abortion, guilt, Kantian ethics, moral dilemmas, moral principles, moral sentiment, Rawls

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