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Opting for the BestOughts and Options$
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Douglas W. Portmore

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190945350

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190945350.001.0001

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Which Options Have Their Deontic Statuses in Virtue of Their Own Goodness?

Which Options Have Their Deontic Statuses in Virtue of Their Own Goodness?

Chapter:
(p.113) Chapter 4 Which Options Have Their Deontic Statuses in Virtue of Their Own Goodness?
Source:
Opting for the Best
Author(s):

Douglas W. Portmore

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190945350.003.0004

The problem of act versions arises because one’s best option can be a version of a bad option. For instance, kissing passionately is a version of kissing. But it may be that although kissing passionately is one’s best option, kissing is a bad option. For it could be that, as a matter of fact, one would kiss nonpassionately if one were to kiss. This chapter argues that the best solution to this problem lies with adopting maximalism. On this view, the only options that have their deontic status in virtue of their own goodness are maximal options—options that are entailed only by evaluatively equivalent options (those being options that are identical in terms of whatever ultimately matters). According to maximalism, then, one ought to kiss even if one would, as a matter of fact, kiss nonpassionately. On this view, one ought to kiss, because one ought to kiss passionately, and kissing passionately entails kissing.

Keywords:   act individuation, deontic inheritance, deontic logic, evaluative inheritance, maximalism, omnism, problem of act versions, Ross’s paradox, supererogation

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