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Philosophical Studies Series

Doing the Best We Can

An Essay in Informal Deontic Logic

Authors: Feldman, Fred

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About this book

Several years ago I came across a marvelous little paper in which Hector-Neri Castaneda shows that standard versions of act utilitarian­ l ism are formally incoherent. I was intrigued by his argument. It had long seemed to me that I had a firm grasp on act utilitarianism. Indeed, it had often seemed to me that it was the clearest and most attractive of normative theories. Yet here was a simple and relatively uncontrover­ sial argument that showed, with only some trivial assumptions, that the doctrine is virtually unintelligible. The gist of Castaneda's argument is this: suppose we understand act utilitarianism to be the view that an act is obligatory if and only if its utility exceeds that of each alternative. Suppose it is obligatory for a certain person to perform an act with two parts - we can call it 'A & B'. Then, obviously enough, it is also obligatory for this person to perform the parts, A and B. If act utilitarianism were true, we appar­ ently could infer that the utility of A & B is higher than that of A, and higher than that of B (because A & B is obligatory, and the other acts are alternatives to A & B).

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-009-4570-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $169.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-90-277-2164-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $119.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-94-010-8531-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Doing the Best We Can
Book Subtitle
An Essay in Informal Deontic Logic
Authors
Series Title
Philosophical Studies Series
Series Volume
35
Copyright
1986
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland
eBook ISBN
978-94-009-4570-8
DOI
10.1007/978-94-009-4570-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-90-277-2164-8
Softcover ISBN
978-94-010-8531-1
Series ISSN
0921-8599
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIV, 246
Topics