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Maximalism and the structure of acts

Brown, Campbell (2017) Maximalism and the structure of acts. Noûs. ISSN 0029-4624

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Identification Number: 10.1111/nous.12181

Abstract

Suppose we believe that a property F is coextensive with moral permissibility. F may be, for example, the property of having the best consequences, if we are Consequentialists, or that of conforming to a universalisable maxim, if we are Kantians, and so on. This may raise the following problem. It is plausible that permissibility is “closed under implication”: any act that is implied by a permissible act must itself be permissible. Yet, in some cases, F might not be closed under implication. If that is so, then F cannot be coextensive with permissibility. Maximalism has been proposed as a solution to this problem. A “maximal” act is one not implied by any other act. Maximalism restricts the claim that F is coextensive with permissibility to maximal acts only. A non‐maximal act may be permissible without being F if it is implied by a maximal act that is F. The general aim of this paper is to investigate these issues by considering the formal structure of acts, or the “act‐implication” relation. Discussions of Maximalism have tended to assume implicitly that acts have structure of some sort, but there has been little careful attention given to this structure. I aim to show that, by thinking about structure, we can provide a stronger defence of Maximalism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14680068
Additional Information: © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BC Logic
Sets: Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Date Deposited: 30 May 2018 14:34
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:40
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/88128

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