Duty-Based Moral Restraint

David C. Rose

in The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199781744
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919116 | DOI:
Duty-Based Moral Restraint

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This chapter explains why principled moral restraint is a necessary but not sufficient condition for assuring an individual will be trustworthy in circumstances in which golden opportunities may arise. Principled moral restraint is not sufficient because an individual could potentially feel even guiltier about failing to take a positive moral action made possible by a negative one. This chapter explains why, to solve this greater good rationalization problem, moral tastes must also make the obedience of moral prohibitions lexically primary to the obedience of moral exhortations. Three types of lexical primacy are examined. Moral tastes that solve the empathy problem and the greater good rationalization problem are said to produce duty-based moral restraint. Some concerns about duty-based morality are addressed.

Keywords: duty; greater good arguments; lexical preferences; moral tastes; value system

Chapter.  9605 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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