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From Normativity to Responsibility$
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Joseph Raz

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693818.001.0001

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Reasons in Conflict

Reasons in Conflict

(p.173) 9 Reasons in Conflict
From Normativity to Responsibility

Joseph Raz

Oxford University Press

We have two distinct notions of single-agent conflicts reflecting two distinct theoretical questions. The first concerns the possibility of there being a right action in conflicts. It is the question whether, and if so how, reasons deriving from different concerns or affecting different people can be of comparable strengths. The second concerns a sense that there is something unfortunate about conflicts, and that when facing conflicting options just taking the best or the right one is not sufficient. The chapter offers (in outline) an answer to the second question, which indirectly helps with the first question as well, in the form of the conformity principle, which asserts that if one cannot conform to reason completely one should come as close to complete conformity as possible. I will show that this innocent-sounding principle has far reaching consequences.

Keywords:   practical conflict, conflict of reasons, conflicts between reason and passion, Blaise Pascal

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