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Motive and Rightness - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Motive and Rightness

Steven Sverdlik


This book investigates the deontic relevance of motives. That issue is formulated in this question: can the motive of an action ever be the reason, or part of the reason, that it is morally right or wrong? It is argued that the answer is ‘yes.’ Various arguments in the literature, found in deontological writers like Kant, and Ross, as well as in utilitarians like Mill, seem to deny that motives are ever relevant deontically. Some of these arguments seem at best to show that motives are never part of the reason why an action is obligatory. The nature of motives is examined and a definition offe ... More

Keywords: motive, moral obligation, moral wrongness, consequentialism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, deontology, human action, sense of duty, emotions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199594948
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594948.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Steven Sverdlik, author
Southern Methodist University
Author Webpage