Robert Merrihew Adams

in Finite and Infinite Goods

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780195153712
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199869381 | DOI:

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This chapter argues that obligation (unlike goodness or value) is essentially social, being a matter of what is required of persons by persons in a context of social relationship. The social nature of obligation is discussed in relation to social and psychological sanctions, to guilt, and to the reasons, which valuing one's social bonds gives one to take social requirements seriously. The chapter also argues, however, that human societies are not good enough for their requirements to define morally binding obligations.

Keywords: guilt; obligation; reasons; sanctions; social requirements

Chapter.  10472 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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