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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8$
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Mark C. Timmons

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198828310

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198828310.001.0001

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Moral Advice and Joint Agency

Moral Advice and Joint Agency

Chapter:
(p.102) 5 Moral Advice and Joint Agency
Source:
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Volume 8
Author(s):

Eric Wiland

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198828310.003.0006

There are many alleged problems with trusting another person’s moral testimony, perhaps the most prominent of which is that it fails to deliver moral understanding. Without moral understanding, one cannot do the right thing for the right reason, and so acting on trusted moral testimony lacks moral worth. This chapter, however, argues that moral advice differs from moral testimony, differs from it in a way that enables a defender of moral advice to parry this worry about moral worth. The basic idea is that an advisor and an advisee can together constitute a joint agent, and that this joint agent’s action can indeed have moral worth. So while the advisee himself might not do the right thing for the right reason (this because all alone he lacks the right reason), and while the advisor herself might not do the right thing for the right reason (this because all alone she does not do the right thing), they together do the right thing for the right reason.

Keywords:   moral testimony, moral worth, advice, joint agency, right reason

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