At the outset of the Republic, Polemarchus advances the bold thesis that “justice is the art which gives benefit to friends and injury to enemies”. He quickly rejects the hypothesis, and what follows is a long tradition of neglecting the ethics of enmity. The parallel issue of how friendship (and other positive relationships) affects the moral sphere has, by contrast, been greatly illuminated by discussions both ancient and contemporary. This article connects this existing work to the less explored topic of the normative significance of our negative relationships. I explain how negative partiality should be conceptualized through reference to the positive analogue, and argue that at least some forms of negative partiality are justified. I further explore the connection between positive and negative relationships by showing how both are justified by ongoing histories of encounter (though of different kinds). However, I also argue that these relationships are in some important ways asymmetrical (i.e. friendship is not the mirror image of enmity).
In Unbelievable Errors, Bart Streumer defends the error theory by rejecting all competitors to it. My aim here is to defend one brand of realism from Streumer’s objections: primitivim. The primitivist holds that there exist sui generis normative properties that do not supervene on any descriptive properties. It is argued that Streumer’s objections to primitivism can be met.
In Unbelievable Errors, I defend an error theory about all normative judgments, I argue that we cannot believe this theory, and I argue that our inability to believe this theory makes the theory more likely to be true. This précis gives a brief overview of my arguments for the error theory.
I argue that Hattiangadi’s, Evers’ and Tiefensee’s objections to my arguments for the error theory in Unbelievable Errors fail.
Lani Watson and Alan T. Wilson
This review essay provides a critical discussion of Linda Zagzebski’s (2017) Exemplarist Moral Theory (emt). We agree that emt is a book of impressive scope that will be of interest to ethical theorists, as well as epistemologists, philosophers of language, and philosophers of religion. Throughout the critical discussion we argue that exemplarism faces a number of important challenges, firstly, in dealing with the fallibility of admiration, which plays a central role in the theoretical framework, and secondly, in serving as a practical guide for moral development. Despite this, we maintain that emt points the way for significant future theoretical and empirical research into some of the most well-established questions in ethical theory.
Bart Streumer believes that the following principle is true of all normative judgements:
(A) When two people make conflicting normative judgements, at most one of them is correct. Streumer argues that noncognitivists are unable to explain why (A) is true, or our acceptance of it. I argue that his arguments are inconclusive. I also argue that our acceptance of (A) is limited in the case of instrumental and epistemic normative judgements, and that the extent to which we do accept (A) for such judgements can be explained by an assumption of shared standards of correctness. Finally, I argue that reductivists can appeal to the same ideas to defend their view that instrumental and epistemic normative judgements describe non-normative relations.
In his new book Unbelievable Errors, Bart Streumer argues that there is no way round the result that all metaethical views other than the error theory fail either for the same reasons as metaphysical normative realism or expressivism. In this contribution, I show that this is false: we can avoid this result by ‘relaxing’ about normative truths. Even if Streumer were right about the fate of other metaethical positions, then, relaxed realism remains immune to the problems he raises.
Virtually everyone believes that we have a duty to rescue fellow human-beings from serious danger when we can do so at small cost to ourselves – and this often forms the starting point for arguments in moral and political philosophy on topics such as global poverty, state legitimacy, refugees, and the donation of body parts. But how are we to explain this duty, and within what limits does it apply? It cannot be subsumed under a wider consequentialist requirement to prevent harm. Nor can it be understood as a duty of social justice that citizens owe to one another under a social contract for mutual protection. Instead it is a sui generis duty of justice that arises from the direct physical encounter between rescuer and victim, and is accordingly limited in scope. However the simplicity of the duty evaporates when multiple potential rescuers are present. Here responsibility lies with the collective as a whole until it is assigned by a fair procedure to individual members. Each individual is required as a matter of justice to discharge that share, but not more, though in the case that others do not comply, he will have a reason, and sometimes a humanitarian duty, to take up the slack.
Effective altruism is purportedly ecumenical towards different moral views, charitable causes, and evidentiary methods. I argue that effective altruists’ criticisms of purportedly less effective charities are inconsistent with their commitment to ecumenicity. Individuals may justifiably support charities other than those recommended by effective altruism. If effective altruists take their commitment to ecumenicity seriously, they will have to revise their criticisms of many of these charities.
There is little agreement about what grounds obligations of distributive justice. This paper defends cosmopolitan coercion theory against recent criticism that coercive rule is not even sufficient to generate obligations of distributive justice. On one of the most sustained arguments against the idea that coercion is sufficient to generate obligations of distributive justice, critics object that coercion, and other nonvoluntary relationships, cannot fix the scope, or content, of these obligations. At best, critics argue, nonvoluntary relationships can ground obligations of charity or humanity. This paper argues that this Scope/Content Critique fails, in part, because it does not recognize the motivation for coercion theories. Moreover, despite assertions to the contrary, the Scope/Content Critique assumes coercion must suffice to ground obligations of distributive justice. Nonvoluntarists can hold there are many things, in addition to nonvoluntary relations, that can ground them.
Jeppe von Platz
In his most recent book, Daniel Batson develops a psychological theory of moral motivation by looking at moral failure. Even under favorable conditions, Batson argues, people frequently behave immorally. In addition to defects of character or judgment and situational pressures, a lack of moral integrity plays an important role in explaining moral failure. Batson’s book sheds light on the most common sources of immoral behavior, providing moral philosophers with the resources to properly target their reasons to be moral.
According to (welfarist) telic egalitarianism, it is, in one respect, noninstrumentally bad if some people are unfairly worse off than others. This paper is about two ambiguities in telic egalitarianism. The first ambiguity concerns the so-called temporal unit of egalitarian concern (McKerlie 1989; Temkin 1993). This is the question of whether inequality during whole lives, inequality during certain segments of lives, or some combination of these, is what generates egalitarian concern. The second ambiguity concerns the so-called currency of welfarist egalitarian concern (McKerlie 2001; Adler 2012). In the present context, this is the question of whether inequality in overall welfare, inequality in some of the constituents of welfare, or some combination of these, is what generates egalitarian concern. In this paper I argue that the debates about how these two ambiguities are to be resolved are not unrelated. The same reasons that, according to some telic egalitarians, support rejecting the whole-lives-only view about the temporal unit of egalitarian concern support rejecting the overall-welfare-only view about the currency of welfarist egalitarian concern.
Jan Willem Wieland and Rutger van Oeveren
Why act when the effects of one’s act are negligible? For example, why boycott sweatshop or animal products if doing so makes no difference for the better? According to recent proposals, one may still have a reason to boycott in order to avoid complicity or participation in harm. Julia Nefsky has argued that accounts of this kind suffer from the so-called “superfluity problem,” basically the question of why agents can be said to participate in harm if they make no difference to it. This paper develops and responds to Nefsky’s challenge.
Andreas T. Schmidt
Several Dutch politicians have recently argued that medical voluntary euthanasia laws should be extended to include healthy elderly citizens who suffer from non-medical ‘existential suffering’ (‘life fatigue’ or ‘completed life’). In response, some seek to show that cases of medical euthanasia are morally permissible in ways that completed life euthanasia cases are not. I provide a different, societal perspective. I argue against assessing the permissibility of individual euthanasia cases in separation of their societal context and history. An appropriate justification of euthanasia needs to be embedded in a wider solidaristic response to the causes of suffering. By classifying some suffering as ‘medical’ and some as ‘non-medical’, most societies currently respond to medical conditions in importantly different ways than they do to non-medical suffering. In medical cases, countries like the Netherlands have a health care, health research and public health system to systematically assign responsibilities to address causes of medical suffering. We lack such a system for non-medical suffering among elderly citizens, which makes completed life euthanasia importantly different from euthanasia in medical cases. Because of this moral ‘responsibility gap’, focusing on the permissibility of completed life euthanasia in separation of wider societal duties to attend to possible causes is societally inappropriate. To spell out this objection in more philosophical terms, I introduce the concept of acts that are morally permissible but contextually problematic.
Is normative uncertainty like factual uncertainty? Should it have the same effects on our actions? Some have thought not. Those who defend an asymmetry between normative and factual uncertainty typically do so as part of the claim that our moral beliefs in general are irrelevant to both the moral value and the moral worth of our actions (Weatherson 2014; Harman 2015). Here I use the consideration of Jackson cases to challenge this view, arguing that we can explain away the apparent asymmetries between normative and factual uncertainty by considering the particular features of the cases in greater detail. Such consideration shows that, in fact, normative and factual uncertainty are equally relevant to moral assessment.
Reciprocity is a moral value that concerns the accommodation of conflicting claims. This paper argues that the demands of reciprocity can come into conflict with the requirements of justice. This conflict is most readily apparent when reciprocity is viewed as a rooted notion, one that addresses the concerns and claims of actual people in less than ideal circumstances. Reciprocity is a value that figures prominently in the writings of those who call themselves political liberals. But political liberals, the paper also contends, have oversimplified the relationship between reciprocity and justice. Taking the rooted dimension of reciprocity seriously and thinking hard about the potential conflicts between reciprocity and justice moves us beyond the confines of the political liberal project and allows us to view reciprocity as a notion that illuminates the moral dimension of political compromise.
We often hold others responsible, and are held responsible ourselves. Many philosophers claim that to evaluate such holdings, we must consider the standing of the holder. Many also claim that both hypocrites and meddlers lack standing. Little has been said, however, about what exactly standing is—about what it is that hypocrites and meddlers are supposed to lack. Though talk of standing is now widespread, ‘we do not,’ in Joseph Raz’s words, ‘have an unproblematic grasp of the phenomena referred to’ by such talk. In this paper I attempt to improve that grasp. I offer an account of what it is to have, and lack, standing to hold others responsible. And I offer some reasons why, if this account is accepted, both hypocrites and meddlers should lack standing.
The past is full of terrible tragedies, including slavery, World War I, and the Holocaust. Morality would clearly appear to support the preference that the victims of those calamities would have lived free and peaceful lives. And yet, a puzzle or even a paradox appears to be lurking here. Moral evaluation can be either personal or impersonal, yet neither one of these two perspectives, nor any other prevalent moral evaluation of events, appears to yield the morally expected conclusion. To the best of my knowledge this puzzle has not been discussed before. If there is no way to escape this surprising conclusion, then morality appears to be much more grim and unsympathetic than we normally think.
Philip A. Reed
Cultivating Virtue brings together philosophers, theologians, and psychologists to provide substantive formational insight and to chart the course for future investigation of character development. After a brief overview of the volume, I interact with a few of its central themes as represented in two essays: “Aristotle on Cultivating Virtue” by Daniel C. Russell, and “Cultivating Virtue: Two Problems for Virtue Ethics” by Christine Swanton.
Christa M. Johnson
In response to the so-called “paradox of deontology,” many have argued that the agent-relativity of deontological constraints accounts for why an agent may not kill one in order to prevent five others from being killed. Constraints provide reasons for particular agents not to kill, not reasons to minimize overall killings. In this paper, I tease out the significance of an underappreciated aspect of this agent-relative position, i.e. it provides no guidance as to what an agent ought to do when faced with the prospect of killing one in order to prevent herself from killing five. After rejecting mere agent-relativity, the view that agents are morally permitted to violate constraints in order to minimize their overall violations, I offer a view that this is both agent- and time-relative, and show how this view exemplifies the underlying motivations for deontological constraints while successfully responding to both the inter- and intra-personal paradoxes of deontology.
This paper examines three arguments that claim marriage, as a political institution, is incompatible with political liberalism. These arguments are drawn from Elizabeth Brake1 and Clare Chambers.2 My purpose here is to determine which, if any, of the arguments show marriage to be incompatible with political liberalism.
The “Neutrality Argument” claims that the political institution of marriage violates the political liberal principle of neutrality. I claim that no such violation occurs. The “Unjustified Discrimination Argument” alleges that marriage involves the state in unjustified discrimination. I suggest there are grounds for the differential treatment identified. The “Public Reason Argument” argues that marriage, as it is currently structured, violates the political liberal principle of public reason. I claim that its current structure can be justified by appeal to public reasons. I therefore conclude that none of these arguments successfully demonstrate that marriage is incompatible with political liberalism.
Conditional pacifism is the view that war is morally justified if and only if it satisfies the condition of not causing serious harm or death to innocent persons. Modern war cannot satisfy this condition, and is thus always unjustified. The main response to this position is that the moral presumption against harming or killing innocents is overridden in certain cases by the moral presumption against allowing innocents to be harmed or killed. That is, as harmful as modern war is, it can be morally justified as a lesser evil when it alone can prevent great harm to innocents. This paper proposes that extreme cases in which only war can prevent great harm to innocents may be morally tragic. In some cases it may be both wrong to wage war to prevent great harm and wrong to fail to prevent that great harm.
Jeffrey M. Brown JD, PhD
Disabled people suffer from pervasive inequalities in employment, education, transportation, housing, and health care compared to those who are not disabled. Moreover, people with disabilities are often subject to unjustified stigma and pity. In this paper, I will explain why these disadvantages violate relational egalitarian principles of justice. As I will show, my argument can account for both kinds of inequality that disabled people face.
Despite worries about paternalism, when we are unjustifiably attacked, we are morally warranted, and sometimes required, to act in self-defense for the sake of our attacker to prevent him from committing this morally defiling act. Similarly, when a third party is unjustifiably attacked and we can assist without undue cost, we are morally warranted, and sometimes required, to act in third-party defense for the sake of the attacker as well as the victim, to prevent the attacker from committing this morally defiling act. The case for these claims can be extended to national defense and humanitarian intervention.
How should contractualists seek to accommodate and respond to the existence of radical pluralism within contemporary liberal states? Ryan Muldoon has recently argued that a) the dominant Kantian liberal model of contractualism is hopelessly ill equipped to do so but that b) there is a particular kind of Hobbesian contractualism that can do much better. I raise some problems concerning the capacity of Muldoonian contractualism to respond appropriately to the problem of radical pluralism. I then propose a very different kind of solution that involves embracing an advice model of contractualism.
According to an influential way of understanding the debate between internalism and externalism about normative reasons, these theories confront us with a dilemma. Internalism is taken to involve a view about rationality which is considered less philosophically problematic than its competitors, whereas externalism is taken to suggest a more contentious view concerning this notion. However, the assumption that externalism involves a more demanding notion of rationality implies that it is able to account for categorical moral reasons, whereas internalism is unable to do so. In this paper, I outline an ecumenical view about normative reasons which involves the same notion of rationality as internalism, at the same time as it is able to account for categorical moral reasons. Thus, it evades the dilemma.
Motivational Internalism is the thesis that, necessarily, moral beliefs are accompanied by motivational states. While another's testimony might transmit knowledge and justification, it cannot warrant motivational states such as moral emotions. Thus, Internalism provides a compelling explanation of “Pessimism,” the view that there is something illicit about forming moral beliefs by testimony. This paper presents a nonconstitutive reading of the Internalist thesis and then argues that it supports Pessimism in the form of a defeasible presumption against moral deference. It also argues against views which explain Pessimism by appeal to requirements on moral belief formation.
Among the central claims forwarded in Arpaly and Schroeder’s In Praise of Desire are the following: (1) A person acts praiseworthily who performs a right or good action out of an intention caused by the joint rationalizing property of her beliefs and her desire to perform that action under the aspect that makes it right or good. (2) Virtues consist of desires for right or good things under the aspects that make them right or good or of mental states that manifest such desires. Being virtuous means possessing an array of these desires. This paper reviews Arpaly and Schroeder’s arguments at length and suggests that, though the person so motivated may be somewhat praiseworthy, acting out of motivations structured in this way cannot by itself suffice for praiseworthiness without qualification.
When individual rights, especially constitutional rights, compete with other rights or with a public good, judges and politicians involved in the legislative process or jurisdictional process are expected to balance their decision in such a way that the gain from achieving the goal mitigates the costs of the resulting loss for the parties. Jurists speak of the doctrine of proportionality in connection with this process of balancing.
In the proportionality calculus, judges have to evaluate whether the impact on individual rights outweighs the public purpose pursued through a state’s legal activity. I will argue that the procedure of proportionality is similar to the procedure of reaching a compromise. More precisely, I will defend that compromise is a special case of the principle of proportionality, for it applies when claims cannot be balanced or in the absence of an overarching principle on which all the parties agree. With this, I aim to show the connection between the principle of proportionality and compromises without conflating these two concepts, and to offer new perspectives on the discussion of proportionality as it is used in the legal context.
I argue that ignorance of who will die makes a difference to the ethics of killing. It follows that reasons are subject to ‘specificity’: it can be rational to respond more strongly to facts that provide us with reasons than to the fact that such reasons exist. In the case of killing and letting die, these reasons are distinctively particular: they turn on personal acquaintance. The theory of rights must be, in part, a theory of this relation.
My paper has two aims: to underscore the importance of differently time-indexed ‘ought implies can’ principles, and to apply this to the culpable inability problem. Sometimes we make ourselves unable to do what we ought, but in those cases, we may still fail to do what we ought. This is taken to be a serious problem for synchronic ‘ought implies can’ principles, with a simultaneous ‘ought’ and ‘can.’ Some take it to support diachronic ‘ought implies can,’ with a potentially temporally distinct ‘ought’ and ‘can.’ I will argue that this problem is not avoided by diachronic ‘ought implies can.’
Given a traditional intuitionist moral epistemology, it is notoriously difficult for moral realists to explain the reliability of our moral beliefs. This has led some to go looking for an alternative to intuitionism. Perception is an obvious contender. I previously argued that this is a dead end, that all moral perception is dependent on a priori moral knowledge. This suggests that perceptualism merely moves the bump in the rug where the reliability challenge is concerned. Preston Werner responds that my account rests on an overly intellectualized model of perception. In this paper, I argue that though Werner may well be correct, my arguments, properly extended, still suggest that perceptualism leaves realists in no better position than intuitionism when it comes to the reliability challenge.
How Risks Worsen Violations of Objective Rights
I argue that riskier killings of innocent people are, other things equal, objectively worse than less risky killings. I ground these views in considerations of disrespect and security. Killing someone more riskily shows greater disrespect for him by more grievously undervaluing his standing and interests, and more seriously undermines his security by exposing a disposition to harm him across all counterfactual scenarios in which the probability of killing an innocent person is that high or less. I argue that the salient probabilities are the agent’s sincere, sane, subjective probabilities, and that this thesis is relevant whether your risk-taking pertains to the probability of killing a person or to the probability that the person you kill is not liable to be killed. I then defend the view’s relevance to intentional killing; show how it differs from an account of blameworthiness; and explain its significance for all-things-considered justification and justification under uncertainty.
Martin Marchman Andersen
In “Principled Compromise and the Abortion Controversy” Simon C. May argues that we do not have a principled moral reason to compromise. While I seek to understand how more precisely we are to understand this suggestion, I also object to it: I argue that we have a principled moral reason to accept democratic decisions that we disagree with, and that this can only be so if disagreement can change what the all things considered right political position is. But if this is so, then also a principled moral reason to compromise is possible. I suggest that there is a class of procedures, including compromise, voting, expert delegation, and coin flip, such that when we disagree about what justice requires, we have a principled moral reason (though not necessarily a decisive reason) to engage in one of these procedures.
The aim of the consequentializing project is to show that, for every plausible ethical theory, there is a version of consequentialism that is extensionally equivalent to it. One challenge this project faces is that there are common-sense ethical theories that posit moral dilemmas. There has been some speculation about how the consequentializers should react to these theories, but so far there has not been a systematic treatment of the topic. In this article, I show that there are at least five ways in which we can construct versions of consequentialism that are extensionally equivalent to the ethical theories that contain moral dilemmas. I argue that all these consequentializing strategies face a dilemma: either they must posit moral dilemmas in unintuitive cases or they must rely on unsupported assumptions about value, permissions, requirements, or options. I also consider this result’s consequences for the consequentializing project.
Preston J. Werner
Moral perception has made something of a comeback in recent work on moral epistemology. Many traditional objections to the view have been argued to fail upon closer inspection. But it remains an open question just how far moral perception might extend. In this paper, I provide the beginnings of an answer to this question by assessing the relationship between the metaphysical structure of different normative properties and a plausible constraint on which properties are eligible for perceptual awareness which I call the Counterfactual Strengthening Test. Along the way I consider and reject a few other possible constraints on perceptual awareness. I defend the view that moral perception is restricted to the perception of evaluative and pro tanto deontic properties. I conclude with a few gestures toward what this limitation on moral perception may mean for broader moral epistemology.
Adil Ahmad Haque
Helen Frowe’s Defensive Killing is in many respects an excellent book, full of arguments that are original, interesting, important, and often persuasive. In other respects, the book is deeply unsettling, as it forcefully challenges the belief that killing ordinary civilians in armed conflict is a paradigmatic moral wrong. In particular, Frowe argues that civilians who make political, material, strategic, or financial contributions to an unjust war may lose their moral protection from intentional and collateral harm. On this point, Frowe’s arguments are original, interesting, and important but, thankfully, not persuasive.
This article responds to objections to the account of permissible harming developed in Defensive Killing, as raised by Christian Barry, Jeff McMahan, Kimberly Ferzan, Massimo Renzo and Adil Ahmad Haque. Each paper deserves much more attention than I can give it here. I focus on Barry’s important observations regarding the liability to defensive harm of those who fail to rescue. In response to McMahan, I grant some of McMahan’s objections to my rejection of the moral equivalence of threats and bystanders, but reject his analysis of my Shield cases. I welcome much of Ferzan’s development of my account of ‘futile’ defence, but offer some concerns regarding her own view of when honour can be appropriately defended. I argue that Renzo’s objections to my account of bloodless invasions are unpersuasive, and identify some problems with Renzo’s own view. Finally, I defend my account of civilian liability against Adil Haque’s critique.
Kimberly Kessler Ferzan
In Helen Frowe’s book, Defensive Killing, she argues that some cases of seemingly futile self-defense are actually instances of justifiable defense of the victim’s honor. This paper explores Frowe’s claim, first by isolating the central cases and then by examining her rejection of punitive reasons. From there, the paper examines Frowe’s understanding of “defense of honor,” ultimately suggesting that Frowe’s conception is best construed as action that has expressive, but not defensive, value. From there, I turn to two more general puzzles. First, what if the defender mistakenly believes that she can successfully defend and acts for that reason, but the reason that actually supports her action is not one she is acting in light of? And, second, how ought we to understand the interests of an aggressor who has forfeited his rights?
Jason R. Raibley
Inspired by Aristotle, Paul Bloomfield holds that all genuine reasons for action are explained in terms of one basic goal: to live a Good Life. But living morally—choosing and performing brave, temperate, just, and wise actions—is necessary (though not sufficient) for the Good Life. Using ideas from Kant and Sidgwick, Bloomfield argues that immorality is inherently self-defeating: in disrespecting others, one disrespects oneself. Moreover, immoralists—who believe that immoral action often conduces to self-interest—operate with a self-defeating conception of happiness. Bloomfield succeeds in explaining why moral virtue and personal well-being are not completely opposed to one another. However, his main arguments against immoralism are unconvincing, because they require controversial claims about essential properties and the logic of attitudes taken towards them. Other arguments against immoralism attribute inessential views to immoralists, or else require controversial assumptions about the relation between valuing and believing good.
Patricio A. Fernandez
Adam Thomas Betz
Alexandra Couto and Guy Kahane
Faced with a national tragedy, citizens respond in different ways. Some will initiate debate about the possible connections between this tragedy and broader moral and political issues. But others often complain that this is too early, that it is inappropriate to debate such larger issues while ‘the bodies are still warm.’ This paper critically examines the grounds for such a complaint. We consider different interpretations of the complaint—cynical, epistemic, and ethical—and argue that it can be resisted on all of these readings. Debate shortly after a national disaster is therefore permissible. We then set out a political argument in favor of early debate based on the value of broad political participation in liberal democracies and sketch a stronger argument, based on the duty to support just institutions, that would support a political duty to engage in debate shortly after tragedies have occurred.
Liberal societies typically prefer relatives and spouses of their members over other prospective immigrants seeking admission. Giving this preferential treatment to only certain categories of relationships requires justification. In this paper, I provide a defense of a category-based system for “unification admissions,” non-members seeking admission for the purpose of living in the same society with members on a stable basis, that is compatible with liberalism and, in particular, does not violate the requirement of liberal neutrality. This defense does not commit liberal theorists to the traditional state sovereignty view on immigration, according to which societies have wide latitude to exclude immigrants as they see fit, and shows that, contra Ferracioli, societies are not required to treat relatives, spouses, friends, and creative partners of their members on a par in matters of immigration policy.
It is exceedingly plausible that the normative reason involving relations, ‘more reason to do than’ and ‘is rationally preferred to’, are transitive. Many philosophers and economists use the plausibility of covariation between these reason involving relations and the ‘better than’ relation to argue – or more often, to insist – that the ‘better than’ relation is also transitive. But Rachels, Temkin and Baumann provide powerful arguments for non-transitive betterness. Conversely, some defenders of non-transitive betterness, such as Friedman, use the covariation of betterness and reason to argue that the reason involving relations are also non-transitive. I will argue that both types of covariation argument are overly hasty. To do so, I will present two functions that input a non-transitive axiological ranking and output a transitive deontic ranking. I then argue that an ethical principle involving these functions has independent plausibility and avoids important objections associated with non-transitive betterness.
Helena de Bres
Many theorists have argued that the meaningfulness of a life is related in some way to the narrative or story that can be told about that life. Relationists claim that a life gains in meaning when a particular set of “narrative relations” obtain between the events that constitute it. Recountists claim that it is the telling of a story about those relations, not the relations themselves, that confers meaning. After identifying problems with existing versions of both of these positions, this paper introduces a new and more satisfying variant of Recountism, centered on the old-fashioned idea that a meaningful life is, in part, an intelligible one. I argue that personal narration does play a role in a meaningful life and that my “Fitting Story” account provides the best explanation of how and why that is so.