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Moral Friends? The Bipolar Standpoint

Vandieken, Jonas; (2019) Moral Friends? The Bipolar Standpoint. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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It is widely agreed upon that a certain class of obligations, like the obligation to keep one’s promise or the obligation not to step on another person’s foot, is directed and as such owed to someone in particular. In the dissertation, I argue for and defend the claim that the entire class of interpersonal obligations is directed and always owed to someone in particular. In doing so, I argue against the prevalent view, according to which our interpersonal moral obligations turn out to be ultimately owed to no one in particular. On one version of this view, defended by T.M. Scanlon, directed obligations ultimately reduce to non-directed obligations. On another version of the view, defended by Stephen Darwall, directed obligations are ultimately normatively dependent on moral obligations period. Contrary to Scanlon and Darwall, I argue that directed obligations are normatively basic. On the resulting view, even those obligations that at first appear to be non-directed and owed to no one in particular, like the obligation not to litter in the streets, turn out to be directed and thus always owed to someone in particular who stands to be wronged by another’s action. The advantage of the proposed view is that it more adequately captures what is at stake in the domain of ‘what we owe to each other’: that we do not simply do something wrong in failing to comply with our interpersonal obligations, but that we wrong others by disregarding their valid claims. In turn, this suggests an intimate connection between directed obligations and a particular form of recognition respect: in acting from a directed obligation, we recognize and acknowledge others as sources of valid claims.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Moral Friends? The Bipolar Standpoint
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068916
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