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A New Moral Paradox?


In “Taking Offence” (2010), John Shand presents a challenge to the intuitive view that a wrong act performed intentionally is always morally worse, and then more culpable, than that same act performed unintentionally, so that the opposite can hold in certain circumstances. My aim here is to dissolve any appearance of paradox or counter-intuitiveness of the phenomenon in question by articulating an alternative explanation which rests upon a (plausible and helpful) distinction between two significantly different kinds of moral assessment.

Dans son article «Taking Offence» (2010), John Shand présente une remise en question de la conception intuitive selon laquelle un acte mauvais accompli intentionnellement est toujours moralement pire, et alors plus coupable, que le même acte accompli non intentionnellement, laquelle l’amène à soutenir que le contraire peut être vrai dans certains cas. Mon but est ici de dissiper le caractère apparemment paradoxal ou contre-intuitif du phénomène en question en articulant une explication alternative qui s’appuie sur une distinction (plausible et utile) entre deux sortes significativement différentes d’évaluation morale.

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Shand, John 2010Taking offence.” Analysis 70 (4): 703–6.
Skorupski, John 1999The Definition of Morality.” In Ethical Explorations, 137–59. New York: Oxford University Press.
Watson, Gary 1996Two Faces of Responsibility.” Philosophical Topics 24: 227–48. Reprinted in Agency and Answerability, 260–88. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004.
Williams, Bernard 1985 Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. London: Fontana Paperbacks.
Zimmerman, Michael 1988 An Essay on Moral Responsibility. Totowa, NJ: Roman and Littlefield.
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Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
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