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Welfare and Self-Governance

John Skorupski
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
Vol. 9, No. 3 (Jun., 2006), pp. 289-309
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27504406
Page Count: 21
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Welfare and Self-Governance
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Abstract

Two ideas have dominated ethical thought since the time of Bentham and Kant. One is utilitarianism, the other is an idea of moral agency as self-governance. Utilitarianism says that morality must somehow subserve welfare, self-governance says that it must be graspable directly by individual moral insight. But these ideas seem to war with one another. Can we eliminate the apparent conflict by a careful review of what is plausible in the two ideas? In seeking an answer to this question I examine (1) the implications of welfarism, (2) the nature of moral obligation (3) the nature of our moral knowledge.

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