Matthew Kramer, ‘The Demandingness of Deontological Duties’

Consequentialist doctrines have often been criticized for their excessive demandingness, in that they require the thorough instrumentalization of each person’s life as a vehicle for the production of good consequences. In turn, the proponents of such doctrines have often objected to what they perceive as the irrationality of the demandingness of deontological duties. In this paper, I shall address objections of the latter kind in an effort to show that they are unfounded. My investigation of this matter will unfold by reference to a scenario that strikingly and concretely exemplifies the demandingness of deontological duties. That scenario, which involves a situation of torture (specifically, placatory torture – in other words, torture undertaken for the purpose of appeasing people who have demanded that it be administered), will serve as a springboard for my endeavor to vindicate the rationality of deontological absolutes and will help to illuminate the endeavor’s practical implications.

Kramer, Matthew H, The Demandingness of Deontological Duties (April 11, 2018). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No 26/2018.

First posted 2018-04-13 05:46:34

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