A diachronic consistency argument for minimizing one’s own rights violations

Côté, N. (2021) A diachronic consistency argument for minimizing one’s own rights violations. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 24(5), pp. 1109-1121. (doi: 10.1007/s10677-021-10253-w)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Deontologists are united in asserting that there are side-constraints on permissible action, prohibiting acts of murder, theft, infidelity, etc., even in cases where performing such acts would make things better overall from an impartial standpoint. These constraints are enshrined in the vocabulary of rights apply even when violating those constraints would lead to fewer constraint-violations overall: I am prohibited from killing an innocent even when doing so is the only way to prevent you from killing five. However, deontologists are divided over whether we have a duty to violate a smaller number of rights when this is necessary to prevent ourselves from later violating a larger number of rights that are at least as stringent. I argue that individuals do have such a duty, a duty which follows from widely accepted consistency constraints on choice.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cote, Mr Nicolas
Authors: Côté, N.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
ISSN (Online):1572-8447
Published Online:17 November 2021

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record