Morality's Demands and Their Limits: Competing Views

Samuel Scheffler

in Human Morality

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780195085648
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833634 | DOI:
Morality's Demands and Their Limits: Competing Views

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One response to an unusually demanding moral theory is to reject it on the ground that the content of morality is moderate rather than stringent, while a second response is to claim that a stringent theory may be acceptable, provided morality is thought of as limited in scope rather than as pervasive.In this chapter, Scheffler provides a general argument against the second response and in support of the view that morality is pervasive. In the process, he distinguishes the idea that morality is pervasive from the idea that it is overriding, which is a claim about morality's authority rather than its scope. He also replies to an argument of Bernard Williams against the pervasiveness of morality. On one interpretation of Williams's argument, Scheffler notes that the argument rests on the implausible assumption that to deem a certain action morally permissible is to imply that the agent should be motivated, at least in part, by the thought of the action's permissibility.

Keywords: authority; morality; Bernard Williams

Chapter.  5119 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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