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Opting for the best : oughts and options

Author: Douglas W Portmore
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2019]
Series: Oxford moral theory.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We ought to opt for the best-that is, we ought to choose the option that is best in terms of whatever ultimately matters. So, if maximizing happiness is what ultimately matters, then we ought to perform the option that results in the most happiness. And if, instead, abiding by the Golden Rule is what ultimately matters, then we ought to perform the option that best abides by this rule. However, even if we know what  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Portmore, Douglas W., author.
Opting for the best
New York : Oxford University Press, 2019
(DLC) 2019014471
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Douglas W Portmore
ISBN: 9780190945350 0190945354
OCLC Number: 1080245141
Description: xvii, 324 pages ; 25 cm.
Contents: PrefaceAcknowledgements1. Opting for the Best1.1 The Opting-for-the-Best View1.1.1. Perhaps, some options that ought to be performed are suboptimal1.1.2. Not all possible events are eligible for deontic status1.1.3. Alternatives matter1.1.4. Oughts versus obligations1.1.5. Best option versus best outcome1.1.6. The best must be sufficiently good1.1.7. 'Option' versus 'can'1.1.8. Objective oughts versus subjective oughts1.1.9. Directive oughts versus evaluative oughts1.2 The Ecumenical Nature of the View1.3 A Potential Objection to the Opting-for-the-Best View1.4 Remaining Controversies and the Plan for the Rest of the Book2. What are our options?2.1 The Need to Restrict What Can Count as an Option2.2 The Necessity of Control2.3 The Sufficiency of Control2.4 Conclusion3. What's the relevant sort of control?3.1 Complete and Synchronic Control3.2 Personal Control versus Sub-Personal Control3.3 Rational Control versus Volitional Control3.3.1. Formations of attitudes3.3.2. Mixed acts3.3.3. Automatic, unthinking acts3.3.4. Acts stemming from volitions that weren't under the subject's rational control3.3.5. Acts that manifested a poor quality of will and were expressive of one's deep self but were not under one's rational control3.3.6. Lapses3.4 Volitional Control and the Trouble with Insisting on Always Tracing Back to Some Intentional Act3.5 What about voluntary control?3.6 Conclusion4. Which options have their deontic statuses in virtue of their own goodness?4.1 Omnism (All Options) and the Problem of Act Versions4.2 Nonnullusism (Only Some Options)4.3 Nullusism (No Option)4.4 Supererogation and the Latitude Problem4.5 Supererogation and Evaluative Inheritance4.6 Three Objections to Maximalism4.6.1. Ross's Paradox4.6.2. The Arbitrariness Objection4.6.3. The Implausible Grounds Objection4.7 The Implications of Maximalism5. Rationalist Maximalism5.1 Three More Objections to Maximalism5.1.1. The 'Did ?'-Implies-'Had the option to ?' Objection5.1.2. Gustafsson's Objection5.1.3. The Professor Procrastinate Objection5.2 The Actualism/Possibilism Distinction versus the Omnism/Maximalism Distinction5.3 The Principle of Moral Harmony and the Problem of Overdetermination5.4 Conclusion6. Maximalism and the Ought-Most-Reason View6.1 Omnism and Maximalism about Reasons6.2 The Inheritance Problem for Omnism6.3 The Intuition Problem for Omnism6.4 The All or Nothing Problem for Omnism6.5 Maximalism and the Basic Belief6.6 Objections to Maximalism about Reasons6.6.1. Incorrect Explanation6.6.2. Incorrect Weights6.6.3. Incorrect Account of Instrumental Reasons6.6.4. Incorrect Account of Reasons to Perform Acts with Side Effects6.7 Conclusion7. Which, if either, are we to assess directly in terms of what ultimately matters: our options or their prospects?7.1 A Case Study: Teleology, Deontology, Non-Teleology, and Agent-Centered Constraints7.2 Ignorance versus Indeterminacy7.3 Indeterminacy and Subjective Rightness7.4 Indeterminacy and Objective Rightness7.5 A Teleological Approach7.6 Rationalist Teleological Maximalism8. Rationalist Teleological Maximalism8.1 An Illustration of How Rationalist Teleological Maximalism Works8.2 Rationalist Teleological Maximalism's Many Virtues8.3 On What Matters and the Importance of StructureGlossaryBibliographyIndex
Series Title: Oxford moral theory.
Responsibility: Douglas W. Portmore.

Abstract:

We ought to opt for the best-that is, we ought to choose the option that is best in terms of whatever ultimately matters. So, if maximizing happiness is what ultimately matters, then we ought to perform the option that results in the most happiness. And if, instead, abiding by the Golden Rule is what ultimately matters, then we ought to perform the option that best abides by this rule. However, even if we know what ultimately matters, this is not always sufficient for determining which option we ought to perform. There are other questions that we need to consider as well. Which events are options for us? How do we rank our options-in terms of their own goodness or in terms of the goodness of the best options that entail them? How exactly does that which ultimately matters determine which options we ought to perform?0In Opting for the Best, Douglas W. Portmore focuses on these three questions, which he argues can best be answered by putting aside any specific determination of what ultimately matters. He argues that tackling these three questions is crucial to solving many of the puzzles concerning what we ought to do, including those involving supererogation, indeterminate outcomes, overdetermined outcomes, predictable future misbehavior, and good acts that entail bad acts, among others. Engaging0with arguments in areas as wide-ranging as action theory and deontic logic, the solutions that Portmore offers systematize our thinking about some of the most complex issues in practical philosophy.

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This is a beautiful and insightful work on an important set of topics. It systematically brings together a number of important and interrelated issues." -Peter Vallentyne, Florence G. Kline Professor Read more...

 
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