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Reasons and Persons$
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Derek Parfit

Print publication date: 1986

Print ISBN-13: 9780198249085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019824908X.001.0001

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Practical Dilemmas

Practical Dilemmas

(p.53) 2 Practical Dilemmas
Reasons and Persons

Derek Parfit (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Explains why C cannot be directly self‐defeating. Theories are agent‐relative if they give different agents different aims. Two such theories are S and Common Sense Morality, or M. It is often true that, if each of several people does what would be best for themselves, that would be worse for all these people. In such cases, S is directly collectively self‐defeating. In moral analogues of such cases, M is similarly self‐defeating. The chapter describes how these problems can have political, psychological, or moral solutions.

Keywords:   agent‐neutral, agent‐relative, common sense morality, prisoner's dilemma, public goods, rationality, self‐defeating, self‐interest

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