Betterness of permissibility

Benjamin Ferguson, Sebastian Köhler

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It is often assumed that morally permissible acts are morally better than impermissible acts. We call this claim Betterness of Permissibility. Yet, we show that some striking counterexamples show that the claim's truth cannot be taken for granted. Furthermore, even if Betterness of Permissibility is true, it is unclear why. Apart from appeals to its intuitive plausibility, no arguments in favour of the condition exist. We fill this lacuna by identifying two fundamental conditions that jointly entail betterness of permissibility: `reasons monotonicity of permissibility' and the `weak classical view'. We then argue that there are good reasons for accepting both of the fundamental conditions. We note that there exist plausible moral theories that reject one of the fundamental conditions. However, the way in which those theories reject the fundamental conditions does not allow them to endorse the counterexamples that motivate the belief that Betterness of Permissibility might be false.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2451-2469
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019

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