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The traces left behind: on appropriate responses to right acts with wrong features

The traces left behind: on appropriate responses to right acts with wrong features
The traces left behind: on appropriate responses to right acts with wrong features
Fulfilling one’s all-things-considered duty sometimes requires violating pro tanto duties. According to W. D. Ross and Robert Nozick, the pro tanto-duty-violating, wrong-making features of acts in these cases can leave ‘traces’ of wrongfulness that require specific responses: feeling compunction for the wrongfulness and/or providing compensation to the negatively affected person. Failure to respond in the appropriate way to lingering wrong-making features can itself be wrongful. Unfortunately, criteria for determining when traces remain are largely lacking. In this piece, I argue for three necessary conditions for the existence of a trace: ‘The Non-Consequentialist Duty Condition,’ ‘The Identity Condition,’ and ‘The Ratio Condition.’
Traces, Pro Tanto Duties, Ethics, Moderate Deontology, Threshold Deontology, W.D. Ross, Robert Nozick, Moral Remainders, Moral Residues
0037-802X
63-89
Da Silva, Michael
05ad649f-8409-4012-8edc-88709b1a3182
Da Silva, Michael
05ad649f-8409-4012-8edc-88709b1a3182

Da Silva, Michael (2021) The traces left behind: on appropriate responses to right acts with wrong features. Social Theory and Practice, 47 (3), 63-89. (doi:10.5840/soctheorpract2021115112).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Fulfilling one’s all-things-considered duty sometimes requires violating pro tanto duties. According to W. D. Ross and Robert Nozick, the pro tanto-duty-violating, wrong-making features of acts in these cases can leave ‘traces’ of wrongfulness that require specific responses: feeling compunction for the wrongfulness and/or providing compensation to the negatively affected person. Failure to respond in the appropriate way to lingering wrong-making features can itself be wrongful. Unfortunately, criteria for determining when traces remain are largely lacking. In this piece, I argue for three necessary conditions for the existence of a trace: ‘The Non-Consequentialist Duty Condition,’ ‘The Identity Condition,’ and ‘The Ratio Condition.’

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Published date: 20 January 2021
Keywords: Traces, Pro Tanto Duties, Ethics, Moderate Deontology, Threshold Deontology, W.D. Ross, Robert Nozick, Moral Remainders, Moral Residues

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 457417
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/457417
ISSN: 0037-802X
PURE UUID: 41cd4378-8632-4a49-b59e-fdfbec40e390

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Date deposited: 07 Jun 2022 16:52
Last modified: 07 Jun 2022 16:52

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Author: Michael Da Silva

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