Book

The Limits of Morality

Shelly Kagan

Published in print April 1991 | ISBN: 9780198239161
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597848 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198239165.001.0001

Series: Oxford Ethics Series

The Limits of Morality

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This book is a sustained attack on two of the most fundamental features of ‘ordinary morality’, the common‐sense moral view that most of us accept. According to this view, morality involves two different kinds of limits. First, morality imposes certain limits on our actions, ruling out various kinds of acts – for example, harming the innocent – even if more good might be brought about by performing an act of this kind. Second, there are limits imposed on morality, limits to what morality can demand of us; in particular, we are not required to make our greatest possible contribution to the overall good. I argue that despite their intuitive appeal, neither sort of limit can be adequately defended.

Keywords: common‐sense morality; consequentialism; constraints; deontology; ethics; Shelly Kagan; moral intuitions; moral theory; options; the good

Book.  428 pages. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Against Ordinary Morality in The Limits of Morality

Chapter

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The Structure of Ordinary Morality in The Limits of Morality

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Doing Harm in The Limits of Morality

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Intending Harm in The Limits of Morality

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Without Constraints in The Limits of Morality

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Avoiding the Appeal in The Limits of Morality

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The Appeal to Cost in The Limits of Morality

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The Negative Argument in The Limits of Morality

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The Positive Argument in The Limits of Morality

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Extraordinary Morality in The Limits of Morality

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