chapter  10
10 Pages

Practical reasoning in ethical decisions

We have seen how practical reasoning supplies premises for ethical judgment and for moral action. We have also seen how difficult it can be to deal with conflicts of obligations. One problem is that we cannot establish any a priori hierarchy among our obligations that allows us to give automatic greater weight to any one kind of obligation over another. Difficult moral decisions typically involve conflicting obligations. If we cannot find a formula for making them by simply establishing a hierarchy, and if, as I believe, we also cannot simply resort to utilitarian calculations or any other apparently objective and universally applicable formula, are there any models that at least facilitate bringing practical reasoning to bear on such decisions? That is the main question this chapter addresses.