Abstract/Details

‘Can’ and consequentialism: An account of options


2008 2008

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Abstract (summary)

I am confronted with choices every day. In many cases, I have to make a decision as to which of several options I will pick. Generally, it seems to me as though I am free with respect to this choice. In many cases, the choice is genuinely morally important.

These thoughts call to mind two interesting philosophical problems. The first is the problem of freedom and determinism. How can we be free in a world that seems to be governed by physical laws that entail how our bodies, brains and environment will change over time? The second is the problem of how we understand the notion of an alternative action. The ethical theories that fascinate me the most are those according to which the moral status of an action is dependent not only on the nature of that action, but also on the natures of the actions that I could have performed instead. Which of the myriad of unperformed actions count as my options, and how are these options evaluated in the context of an ethical theory?

My approach to addressing these problems is to offer a general account of 'can' that works as an account specifically of the 'can' of agent power. After reviewing the relatively diverse literature on power and 'can,' I present my view and argue that it solves many interesting puzzles and has advantages over the accounts I have criticized.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Linguistics;
Philosophy
Classification
0290: Linguistics
0422: Philosophy
Identifier / keyword
Philosophy, religion and theology; Language, literature and linguistics; Can; Consequentialism; Freedom; Modal; Options; Power
Title
‘Can’ and consequentialism: An account of options
Author
Abrams, Edward Lee
Number of pages
214
Publication year
2008
Degree date
2008
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780549915539
Advisor
Bricker, Phillip
Committee member
Feldman, Fred; Graham, Pete; Potts, Christopher
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department
Philosophy
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3336967
ProQuest document ID
304573676
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304573676
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