Obligation and Involvement

David Owens

in Shaping the Normative Landscape

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691500
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744938 | DOI:
Obligation and Involvement

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An involvement is a chosen relationship valuable for its own sake that entails rights and obligations. For example friends are obliged to do various things for one another in situations where it is customary for friends in general (or else for these particular friends) to do these things. How do involvements generate rights and obligations? According to the Benefactor-Plus Model, involvements generate obligation because those so involved fall under principles that apply equally to strangers, e.g. the principle requiring one to reciprocate benefits received. This view is criticized and it is argued that involvements in fact generate rights and obligations because these deontic phenomena are part of what gives the involvement its value. Friendship (etc.) is good for us (in part) because obligation is good for us, because we have deontic interests.

Keywords: benefactor-plus model; custom; involvement; rights; obligations; valuable relationship; reciprocation; deontic interests

Chapter.  12651 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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