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Being, Freedom, and MethodThemes from the Philosophy of Peter van Inwagen$
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John A. Keller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198715702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198715702.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2021

Swing Vote

Swing Vote

(p.209) 10 Swing Vote
Being, Freedom, and Method

Frances Howard-Snyder

Oxford University Press

This paper explores the problem of how it can be rational and morally required to do things like vote and eat a vegetarian diet where it is very unlikely that one’s action will produce any benefit, and exceedingly likely that it will involve some (at least mild) cost (wasted time, displeasure, or discomfort). The author discusses three responses to this puzzle, Alvin Goldman’s, Carolina Sartorio’s, and Derek Parfit’s, and concludes that it can be rational and moral to do these things if there is even a small chance that one’s action will make a difference. If this is true it may be necessary to rethink what it means for something to be “gratuitous,” and in particular how gratuitous evils are thought about in the context of the argument from evil against theism.

Keywords:   voting, rationality, morality, Parfit, Goldman, Sartorio

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