far toward solving the fundamental problem of which the paradoxes
are symptoms: the apparent incompatibility of the moral principles
we use to evaluate acts and agents. Perhaps this problem can be
solved. Perhaps the coins of agent and act evaluation can be successfully
fused. But it is not apparent how this is to be done. And I, for one,
do not presently see an entirely satisfactory way out of the perplexities
that the paradoxes engender.
An earlier version of this paper was presented at Stanford University. I
am grateful to several people, especially Robert Marrihew Adams, Tyler
Burge, Warren Quinn, and Virginia Warren, for helpful comments on previous
drafts. My work was supported, in part, by a Regents' Faculty Research
Fellowship from the University of California.
The Strategy of Conflict ( New York: Oxford, 1960), Chapters 1-2; and Arms and Influence ( New Haven, Conn.: Yale, 1966), Chapter 2.
See, e.g., Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War, 2d ed. ( Princeton,
N.J.: University Press, 1960), p. 185; and Anthony Kenny, "Counterforce
and Countervalue", in Walter Stein, ed., Nuclear Weapons:A Catholic
Response ( London: Merlin Press, 1965), pp. 162-64.
See, e.g., note 9, below.
Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia ( New York: Basic Books, 1974), pp. 30/1 n; Thomas Nagel, "War and Massacre", Chapter 21 in this
volume; Richard Brandt, "Utilitarianism and the Rules of War", Philosophy
and Public Affairs 4, no. 2 ( Winter 1975), especially note 3.
Extensions of absolutism that would block some or all of the paradoxes
include those which forbid intending to do what is wrong, deliberately making
oneself less virtuous, or intentionally risking performing an inherently evil
act. (An explanation of the relevant sense of 'risking performing an act' will
be offered in Section IV.)
I assume henceforth that, if it would be wrong to do something, the
agent knows this. (The agent, discussed in Section IV, who has become
corrupt may be an exception.) This keeps the discussion of the paradoxes
from getting tangled up with the separate problem of whether an agent's
duty is to do what is actually right, or what he believes is right.
See Peter Abelard's Ethics,
D. E. Luscombe, trans. ( New York. Oxford, 1971), pp. 5-37; Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a2ae. 18-20; Joseph Butler
, "A Dissertation on the Nature of Virtue", in Five Sermons ( Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1950), p. 83; Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the
Metaphysics of Morals, first section; Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to
the Principles of Morals and Legisiation, chap. 9, secs. 13-16; Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics ( New York: Dover, 1907), pp. 60/1, 201-204; Kenny,