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A study on the intersection between moral dilemmas and moral responsibility

Grant number: 21/12398-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Ethics
Principal researcher:Marco Antonio Caron Ruffino
Grantee:Alex Bispo Bastos
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Traditionally moral dilemmas have been understood as situations of insoluble conflicts of moral obligations: situations in which a person has a moral obligation to perform (at least) two distinct and equally priority actions, but is unable to perform them at the same time. In this sense, a person in a dilemma will inevitably violate a moral obligation and therefore do something wrong. The aim of this project is to investigate philosophical problems involving the little-explored intersection between debates about moral dilemmas and the nature of moral responsibility. The research will be divided into two parts. In the first part, we will analyze the impacts of discussions about the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) and Frankfurt scenarios on the debate about the existence of dilemmas. We intend to study whether the alleged falsity of PAP, defended by Frankfurt through his famous counterexamples, affects the arguments against and the arguments for the existence of moral dilemmas. In the second part, we will investigate the challenges that the situation of a moral dilemma imposes on the accountability of agents in dilemmas. We will seek to know whether a person in a moral dilemma is morally responsible, in what sense of "moral responsibility" is she responsible, and whether she is blameworthy for the violation of a moral obligation, given that moral failure in a dilemma is inevitable.

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