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Volume 50 • Number 2

April 2013



Irreconcilable Differences

by Erin Taylor

Moral conflict is back in the philosophical news. To be sure, the debate over moral dilemmas has had a long history. Kant (1797, pp. 16–17), Mill (1863, chap. 2), Ross (1930, p. 41), and Aquinas (1265–1274, I-II, 19, 6, ad 3) oppose them. Williams (1965), Marcus (1980, 1996), and Nussbaum (1985) endorse them. Added to this traditional fray are contributions by logicians (Horty 2003; Hamblin 1972; Goble 2009), political philosophers (Steiner 1994), ethicists (Sartorius 1975; Baier 1973; Held 1977; Kalin 1971; McConnell 1988; Slote 1985), and jurisprudents (Hurd 1992, 1999) who disagree about whole other aspects of moral conflict and its implications. This paper focuses on one of these: interpersonal moral conflict. It will argue that theoretical consistency and actionguidingness—as these have been formulated in the moral dilemmas debate—do not rule out interpersonal conflict. This leaves open the possibility that theoretical consistency and action-guidingness may demand more than what has been traditionally assumed. That is the question considered here. Do these resources rule out all-things-considered (hereafter ATC) interpersonal moral conflict in non-consequentialist theories? It will be argued that neither theoretical consistency nor action-guidingness can rule out such conflict, but action-guidingness properly construed provides a desideratum against it.

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ISSN: 2152-1123