- 応用倫理 (ISSN:18830110)
- vol.9, pp.12-29, 2016-03-31
Moral theories generally tell us the right course of action. They deliver practical advices (or a series of commands) about how we should act, so it seems natural for those who sincerely accept a given moral theory to try to figure out, in each case where some practical decision is needed, what the theory recommends, and act accordingly. However, this is not what a moral theory always tells us to do. Certain moral theories in fact tell their followers not to consult them in daily decision-making. The reason for this is simply that if we consciously intend to act as the theories recommend, it would become difficult or even impossible for us to act in that manner. In recent literature, moral theories that satisfy this condition are called selfeffacing, and have attracted some attention. Although quite a few authors seem to endorse the view that this character of self-effacement makes a moral theory highly problematic (or even unacceptable), in this paper I shall argue that this view is ungrounded. To do this, I will critically examine various objections to self-effacing moral theories found in the literature that concern the following points, respectively: lack of action-guidingness; threat of undermining psychological harmony and the desirable form of moral deliberation; an absurd requirement
to have mutually contradicting beliefs; and an invitation to a kind of self-deception. It will be argued that none of these objections constitutes a serious threat to self-effacing moral theories as such.