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The Act Itself$
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Jonathan Bennett

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019823791X.001.0001

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(p.164) 10 Atrocities
The Act Itself

Jonathan Bennett

Oxford University Press

A ‘crisis’ is defined as a situation in which if a person does not do something atrocious there will ensue a state of affairs that is even worse. This chapter discusses Anscombe's absolutism about atrocities, and the near‐absolutism of Fried and Williams, and, more sympathetically, Hampshire's view that absolutism ought to be adopted as a policy though not defended as a theory. Issues about atrocity and moral character, about the relevance of an atrocity's involving other agents as well, and about Williams's concept of ‘projects’, are discussed. An account is given of the real conceptual structure that is at work in moralities known as ‘deontological’.

Keywords:   Anscombe, atrocity, character, deontology, Fried, Hampshire, Williams

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