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Littlejohn Justification Manuscript

Littlejohn Justification Manuscript

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Published by cmlittlejohn
Part of a larger work on epistemic justification
Part of a larger work on epistemic justification

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Published by: cmlittlejohn on Sep 17, 2010
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06/02/2013

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that is just as deserving to be made to make amends who we know should not
be made to do so. Why not haul them into the picture and make them pay
some reparations?

I do not find these responses altogether convincing. We cannot determine
what an agent’s obligations are by determining whether we think there is in-
dependent reason to think that they deserve to be under these obligations or
made to live up to those obligations. Against the second and third point, no
one deserves to be under a duty of beneficence. Remember, if you have a duty
of beneficence, this can arise without there being any prior relation between you
and the benefactor and so the duty does not require that there is any relation
between you and anyone else by virtue of which you deserve to be on the hook
for their welfare. We are for that often duty bound to assist others at an ex-
pense to ourselves and when we are perfectly innocent in terms of what brought
it about that they need our assistance. Against the first, I think we cannot
rest too much weight on this point. Suppose Mustard had tried to poison Plum
and succeeded in so doing. If White and Plum are equally faultless in finding
themselves poisoned, surely they are equally deserving of assistance, but nobody
would say that Mustard’s obligations to Plum are for that reason not stronger
than the duties he has to those he has not tried to kill. If the first point were
applied consistently, I think it would essentially prevent us from saying that
victims are owed compensation by those who put them at risk of harm for no
good reason just as surely as it would prevent us from saying that victims are
owed compensation for being harmed with no overriding reason to have done
that. The Risk Thesis would be at the same risk as the Harm Thesis. Since it
is uncontroversial that one of these theses is true, this objection cannot succeed
in establishing that it is the Risk Thesis rather than the Harm Thesis that is
true.

7.4.3 Against Internalist Unificationism

There are those who harbor internalist sympathies who like Unificationism and
think that we ought to argue from a more internalist conception of justified
belief than I would defend to a more internalist account of justified action than
I would defend.24

They either do not share the intuitions we discussed above
or they overriding reason to think their view is correct in spite of the intuitions
that support my view. In this section, I want to argue that it is a mistake
to reject FactivityJ if you accept Unificationism. One reason I worry about
such a combination of views is that it would force us to sanction wrongdoing.
At least, it seems to. If the view tries to accomodate the intuition that a
subject is justified in her beliefs when it is reasonable for her to hold them,

24

Gibbons is the chief advocate of such a view. He rejects Supervenience Internalism, but
he also rejects FactivityJ and thinks that you cannot be obligated to do something if you
could not reasonably work out that it is your obligation. He does, however, endorse mixed
deontic detachment. Zimmerman 1996 notes that some subjective views of “ought” have to
deny that “ought” implies “can”, and we shall see that this sort of problem arises for Gibbons’
version of Unificationism.

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