What the Objective Standard is Good For

Julia Driver

in Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199662951
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745195 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies In Normative Ethics

What the Objective Standard is Good For

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Critics of an objective standard for right action, including subjective consequentialists, view the objective standard as problematic since it (1) cannot account adequately for our views of moral responsibility and (2) cannot, they argue, have practical import, or, much worse, (3) when used to derive decision procedures would actually lead agents to perform manifestly wrong actions. In this chapter these three problems are addressed, while also clarifying how it is that different subjective theorists understand the sort of ‘subjectivity’ that their alternatives to the objective view are supposed to capture. Inadequate attention has been paid to the distinction between evidence-sensitive and psychology-sensitive subjective standards of right. The distinction is important because it enables us to diagnose the worries that subjective theorists have with respect to the objective standard. In the end it is argued that the objective standard accounts for a very useful taxonomy of moral error, one that allows us to see where actions go wrong in deviating from the objective standard.

Keywords: objective; subjective; consequentialism; moral error; Frank Jackson

Chapter.  6677 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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