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The All or Nothing Problem

Horton, J; (2017) The All or Nothing Problem. Journal of Philosophy , 114 (2) pp. 94-104. 10.5840/jphil201711427. Green open access

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There are many cases in which, by making some great sacrifice, you could bring about either a good outcome or a very good outcome. In some of these cases, it seems wrong for you to bring about the good outcome, since you could bring about the very good outcome with no additional sacrifice. It also seems permissible for you not to make the sacrifice, and bring about neither outcome. But together, these claims seem to imply that you ought to bring about neither outcome rather than the good outcome. And that seems very counterintuitive. In this paper, I develop this problem, propose a solution, and then draw out some implications both for how we should understand supererogation and for how we should approach charitable giving.

Type: Article
Title: The All or Nothing Problem
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5840/jphil201711427
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.5840/jphil201711427
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
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/1572485
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