Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory

Paperback | December 4, 2003

byLiam B. Murphy

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Is there a limit to the legitimate demands of morality? In particular, is there a limit to people's responsibility to promote the well-being of others, either directly or via social institutions? Utilitarianism admits no such limit, and is for that reason often said to be an unacceptablydemanding moral and political view. In this original new study, Murphy argues that the charge of excessive demands amounts to little more than an affirmation of the status quo. The real problem with utilitarianism is that it makes unfair demands on people who comply with it in our world of nonidealcompliance. Murphy shows that this unfairness does not arise on a collective understanding of our responsibility for others' well being. Thus, according to Murphy, while there is no general problem to be raised about the extent of moral demands, there is a pressing need to acknowledge the collectivenature of the demands of beneficence.

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Is there a limit to the legitimate demands of morality? In particular, is there a limit to people's responsibility to promote the well-being of others, either directly or via social institutions? Utilitarianism admits no such limit, and is for that reason often said to be an unacceptablydemanding moral and political view. In this origi...

Liam B. Murphy is a Professor of Law and a Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 0.98 × 0.98 × 0.98 inPublished:December 4, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195171950

ISBN - 13:9780195171952

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"Readers will learn much by workings through Murphy's book. It advances discussion on several important topics regarding benificence."--Thaddues Metz, Philosophical Review