The Good, the Bad, and the Uncertain: Intentional Action under Normative Uncertainty

My focus in this paper is on a type of bad actions, namely actions that appear to be done for reasons that are not good reasons. I take such bad actions to be ubiquitous. But their ubiquity gives rise to a puzzle, especially if we assume that intentional actions are performed for what one believes o...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Ethical theory and moral practice
Main Author: Peter, Fabienne 1967-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Springer Science + Business Media B. V [2018]
In: Ethical theory and moral practice
Year: 2018, Volume: 21, Issue: 1, Pages: 57-70
RelBib Classification:NBE Anthropology
NCA Ethics
VA Philosophy
Further subjects:B Uncertainty
B Reasons for action
B Guise of the good
B Normative reasons
Online Access: Presumably Free Access
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Summary:My focus in this paper is on a type of bad actions, namely actions that appear to be done for reasons that are not good reasons. I take such bad actions to be ubiquitous. But their ubiquity gives rise to a puzzle, especially if we assume that intentional actions are performed for what one believes or takes to be good reasons. The puzzle I aim to solve in this paper is: why do we seem to be getting it wrong so much of the time? I will argue that we can explain the ubiquity of bad action in light of the practical uncertainties that we face. My claim is not just that the more uncertainty we face as agents, the more likely we are to make a mistake about what counts as a good reason for action, although that is certainly one possible effect of practical uncertainty. My main claim is, rather, that practical uncertainty can have an impact on what counts as acting for a good reason for the agent.
ISSN:1572-8447
Contains:Enthalten in: Ethical theory and moral practice
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1007/s10677-017-9852-8