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Action Individuation and Deontic Cycling

Stephen C. Makin
Ethics
Vol. 123, No. 1 (October 2012), pp. 129-136
DOI: 10.1086/667839
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/667839
Page Count: 8
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Action Individuation and Deontic Cycling
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Abstract

Tim Willenken argues that ‘commonsense morality’ is committed to intransitive deontic cycles; that consequentialism cannot countenance such cycles; and that, therefore, the project of compatibilism—making consequentialism and commonsense morality deliver the same moral verdicts, by way of an axiology—cannot succeed. I argue that the appearance of intransitive cycles is made possible only by an idiosyncratic method of action-individuation; when traditional methods are used, the appearance of intransitivity goes away. These results may reopen the door for the compatibilist project.

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