The Birth of Deontology

Robert Shaver

in Underivative Duty

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199577446
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725425 | DOI:
The Birth of Deontology

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At the time of Moore and Rashdall there was nearly a consensus on the truth of ideal utilitarianism. This was wrecked by Prichard, Carritt, and Ross. This chapter focuses on Carritt and Ross. Their most important arguments rest on thinking that ideal utilitarianism cannot explain some of our duties — either because there are no goods that explain the duties or because goods posited to explain them rely on the prior thought that we have the duties. Unlike most recent discussions of deontology, they do not give cases of minimizing violations (in which, say, one would bring about more promise‐keeping by breaking a promise so that five others keep their promises). Carritt and Ross had a plausible reason for not relying on them, but there are plausible ideal utilitarian replies to the arguments they do give.

Keywords: Ross; Carritt; deontology; minimizing violations; utilitarianism

Chapter.  13130 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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