Moral Uncertainty and Its Consequences

By Ted Lockhart | Go to book overview

Six
Confidentiality and Moral Uncertainty

The approach to decision-making under moral uncertainty that I have developed thus far is subjective in the following respect: Which action choices are rational depend on what sorts of moral considerations the decision-maker regards as relevant and what beliefs she has about the magnitudes of the pertinent probabilities. This means that the decision table for one agent may be differently configured from that for another agent who must make the same kind of decision. And even if the decision tables have the same form, the probabilities associated with the conditions represented in the table may be of different sizes or have different rankings. Therefore, there is no guarantee that moral agents will be able to resolve their disagreements about what a particular agent should (rationally) do in a particular situation by appealing to PR4 or PR5.

However, in some cases PR4 or PR5 will facilitate resolution of disagreement about which actions are rational for moral agents to choose. Abortion decisions for which it is clear that not having an abortion has the greater expected degree of moral rightness (which, I suspect, include the vast majority of abortion decisions) are decisions for which there would be little difficulty in determining which choice is the more reasonable. In this and the following chapter, I shall illustrate how disagreements about what moral agents should (rationally) do in particular situations can sometimes be settled by employing the methods that I have developed. In this chapter, the disagreement that I shall consider occurs between two

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Moral Uncertainty and Its Consequences
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Contents xv
  • One Decision-Making Under Moral Uncertainty 3
  • Two Principles for Decision-Making Under Moral Uncertainty 22
  • Three Abortion and Moral Uncertainty 50
  • Conclusions 72
  • Four Degrees of Moral Rightness 74
  • Conclusions 96
  • Five Shall I Act Supererogatorily? 98
  • Conclusions 110
  • Six Confidentiality and Moral Uncertainty 111
  • Conclusions 122
  • Seven a Decision-Theoretic Reconstruction of Roe V. Wade 124
  • Conclusions 140
  • Eight Long-Run Morality 143
  • Nine Retrospective 169
  • Appendix: Decisions with Uncertain Probabilities 171
  • Notes 177
  • Index 207
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