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Title: The normativity of obligations : trust, blame, and interpersonal agency
Author: Odgaard-Heape, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 9760
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This dissertation defends Deontic Pragmatism -- the view that the normativity of obligations is grounded in reasons to engage in interpersonal agency. I defend an account of obligations as correctness standards grounded in specific kinds of reasons. On this view, all obligations are directed from one person to another because these reasons are facts about a specific bipolar relation between people. To be a moral person is, in part, to comply with one's obligations for such reasons, by caring about other people and how they rely on oneself. Such caring attitudes are constitutive of the kinds of relationships people have reasons to have with one another. Indeed, the trusting attitudes such relationships also constitutively involve presuppose that others hold such caring attitudes towards us. In turn, the blaming responses to which trust disposes us presuppose that people fail to respond to such reasons, by failing to hold such caring attitudes. I argue that this nexus between obligations, trust, blame, and relationships is played out across the entire moral domain. I then defend an account of the reasons people have to hold such attitudes. On this view, reasons that ground correctness standards, including obligations, are shared by people in virtue of their engagement in activities. Specifically, it is correct for people to have moral relationships, because they have reasons to intend to engage in interpersonal activities that involve mutual dependence relations. And they have those reasons, I argue, whatever other activities they are engaged in. Since such dependence is presupposed by the attitude of reliance involved in trust, the reasons that ultimately ground our obligations are grounded in a relation that is itself presupposed by the attitude of trust.
Supervisor: Hills, Alison ; Crisp, Roger Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ethics ; Philosophy