Skip to main content

Morally Permissible Moral Mistakes

Author(s): Harman, Elizabeth

To refer to this page use:
Abstract: Does it ever happen that there are things we shouldn’t do and the reasons we shouldn’t do them are moral reasons, yet doing them is not morally wrong? Surprisingly, yes. I argue for a category that has not been recognized by moral theorists: morally permissible moral mistakes. Sometimes (but far from always) a supererogatory action is the thing a person should do; in failing to act, one makes a morally permissible moral mistake. Recognizing the category of morally permissible moral mistakes solves a puzzle about supererogation, expands the universe of possible moral views, and shows some apparently inconsistent moral views to be consistent.
Publication Date: Jan-2016
Citation: Harman, Elizabeth. "Morally permissible moral mistakes." Ethics 126, no. 2 (2016): 366-393.
DOI: doi:10.1086/683539
ISSN: 0014-1704
EISSN: 1539-297X
Pages: 366 - 393
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Ethics
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.