Unresolvable moral dilemmas seem to be common in everyday life as well as in classical and contemporary literature, but the dominant traditions of moral philosophy deny that such dilemmas are even possible. In this book, the author argues that unresolvable moral dilemmas are both possible and actual. In his response to opponents, he sets out to show why moral dilemmas are important to the purposes and limits of moral theory, to the debate between moral realists and anti-realists, and to policies in areas where moral dilemmas arise. Illustrating the text with examples, the book intended to be clear enough for advanced undergraduate courses in moral philosophy, yet detailed enough to contribute to the debate among professionals.
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The label moral dilemma is commonly applied to any difficult moral problem. Several introductory anthologies in ethics have been titled Moral Dilemmas, suggesting that all of the issues discussed therein are moral dilemmas, regardless of their structure, simply because they raise hard moral questions. Many people even talk about moral dilemmas when it is not clear whether or not morality is relevant at all. Moral philosophers, in contrast, usually have in mind something more specific. Minimally, they count a situation as a moral dilemma only if one moral reason conflicts with another (moral or nonmoral) reason....
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