Date of Graduation

5-2018

Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Department or Program

Philosophy

First Advisor

Sarah Conly

Second Advisor

Scott Sehon

Abstract

This project explores the logical structure of moral dilemmas. I introduce the notion of genuine contingent moral dilemmas, as well as basic topics in deontic logic. I then examine two formal arguments claiming that dilemmas are logically impossible. Each argument relies on certain principles of normative reasoning sometimes accepted as axioms of deontic logic. I argue that the principle of agglomeration and a statement of entailment of obligations are both not basic to ethical reasoning, concluding that dilemmas will be admissible under some logically consistent ethical theories. In the final chapter, I examine some consequences of admitting dilemmas into a theory, in particular how doing so complicates assignment of blame.

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