Owing it to Us
Ethical theorists have traditionally analyzed duties, both individual and collective, into two categories: duties to others and duties to oneself. Reflection upon the moral domain, however, suggests cases in which an individual owes something neither to herself, nor to another, but to us . In this dissertation, I develop and defend a unique theory of these duties, the duties that are c owed to us.Owing it to us involves not merely duties but directed duties, duties owed to us. I thereby begin by articulating a novel, priority based account of the directed duties that one agent owes to another. Moreover, these duties are owed to groups; so, I next consider the ways in which groups can be moral patients, arguing that if a group has an irreducibly joint interest that is integrated with the interests of its members, one can owe a duty to a group. Finally, since owing it to us involves duties owed to a group of one's own, I address the theoretical tension inherent in the fact that an agent could be a duty bearer while simultaneously possessing some nontrivial subset of the normative authorities as the counterparty to that duty. I argue that because an agent can exercise counterparty authority over her own duties, owing it to us provides a distinctive means by which an agent can shape who we are and what we are doing together.
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