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Moral Dilemmasand Other Topics in Moral Philosophy$
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Philippa Foot

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019925284X.001.0001

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Moral Dilemmas Revisited

Moral Dilemmas Revisited

(p.175) 11 Moral Dilemmas Revisited
Moral Dilemmas

Philippa Foot

Oxford University Press

This essay is a continuation of one Foot had written ten years earlier under the title ‘Moral Realism and Moral Dilemma’. Foot attacks Ruth Marcus’ notion that some moral dilemmas involve circumstances in which one is guilty whatever one does: being ‘damned if one does something and damned if one doesn’t’. Foot's opposition to Marcus’ thesis rests on the argument that the guilty feelings one may experience when coping with some serious moral dilemma do not imply that one is indeed guilty. She expands this argument in order to attack Bernard Williams’ thesis that such feelings of guilt show that there are cases of ‘inescapable wrongness’. Re‐thinking the nature of moral dilemmas, Foot denies the existence of cases that involve inevitable wrongdoing.

Keywords:   guilt, moral deliberation, moral dilemmas, moral realism, Ruth Marcus, Bernard Williams

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