Supererogation

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

Moral actions were once thought to be of only three types: required, forbidden, or permissible (i.e., neither required nor forbidden). Required acts are good to do, forbidden acts are bad to do, and permissible acts are morally neutral. This trinity seemed well-established until J.O. Urmson challenged this classification system by arguing for the existence of a fourth category of acts.1 Urmson posited actions performed by saints and heroes as paradigm examples of supererogatory acts—those which are morally praiseworthy but not morally required. Gregory Mellema later posited a more specific definition: ...

Demandingness Objection

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

The demandingness objection refers to an argument against varieties of consequentialism. Tim Mulgan presents the argument in the following form: Consequentialism makes demand D. D is an unreasonable demand for a moral theory to make. Therefore, consequentialism makes unreasonable demands.1 The demandingness objection derives much of its strength from cases in which adherence to consequentialism appears to require extraordinary sacrifices of moral agents, sacrifices which plausibly appear supererogatory. When confronted with a form of the demandingness objection, consequentialists must either deny that consequentialism requires the specified demand or deny that the demand made ...

Utopianism, Problem of

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

According to Thomas Nagel, “An ideal, however attractive it may be to contemplate, is utopian if reasonable individuals cannot be motivated to live by it.”1 When given serious consideration, utopian ideals generate what he calls the “problem of utopianism.” While a given political or moral theory may be well-supported by rigorous philosophical argument, if it is a utopian ideal, then this particular political or moral theory will not have any practical use because too few individuals will abide by it for its benefits to be meaningfully realized. In a manner ...

Just Savings Principle

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

John Rawls is credited with providing the first thorough discussion of what the current generation owes to future people. He argues that the main duty owed to our successors is the saving of sufficient material capital to maintain just institutions over time. Rawls calls this duty the “just savings principle” (JSP). Although JSP is only a minor aspect of justice as fairness, it has been widely discussed and criticized because of its significance with regard to intergenerational justice. Rawls begins reasoning toward JSP by acknowledging that what the current generation owes ...

Realistic Utopia

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

Rawls perceives political philosophy as “realistically utopian: that is, as probing the limits of practical political possibility.”1 Rawls considers it vital to establish that it is not unreasonable to hope for a just and stable pluralist constitutional liberal democracy. In his words, “Our hope for the future of our society rests on the belief that the social world allows for at least a decent political order, so that a reasonably just, though not perfect, democratic regime is possible.”2 Rawls even states in the introductory remarks to Political Liberalism that the ...

Ideal & Nonideal Theory

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

John Rawls conceives of justice as fairness as a work of ideal theory. Ideal theory “assumes strict compliance and works out the principles that characterize a well-ordered society under favorable circumstances.”1 Nonideal theory, on the other hand, “is worked out after an ideal conception of justice has been chosen” and addresses what the parties are to do when conditions are not as perfect as they are assumed to be in ideal theory.2 While Rawls acknowledges the importance of issues within nonideal theory (as these are the issues that we confront ...

Justice as Fairness

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

Justice as fairness refers to the conception of justice that John Rawls presents in A Theory of Justice. This conception of justice concerns society’s basic structure—that is, “society’s main political, constitutional, social, and economic institutions and how they fit together to form a unified scheme of social cooperation over time.”1 Rawls constructs justice as fairness in a rather narrow framework and explicitly states, “Justice as fairness is not a complete contact theory.”2 Its purpose is to show how we ought to allocate a cooperative surplus of resources to individuals in society. ...

Justice, Concept of & Conception of

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

John Rawls makes a crucial distinction between the concept of justice and specific conceptions of justice. He defines the concept of justice as “a proper balance between competing claims from a conception of justice as a set of related principles for identifying the relevant considerations that determine this balance.”1 In contrast, a conception of justice is not so broad. To illustrate the difference, Rawls states that the concept of justice is “the role of its principles in assigning rights and duties and in defining the appropriate division of social justice” ...

Justice, Circumstances of

February 27th, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

John Rawls describes the circumstances of justice as “the normal conditions under which human cooperation is both possible and necessary.”1 Unless the circumstances of justice are met by the society in question, using justice as fairness to derive just social policies is a misapplication of the theory because human cooperation, a necessary staple of a functional and just society, cannot be properly established. Rawls identifies two distinct kinds of background conditions that must be met to give rise to justice (as he conceives it): objective circumstances and subjective circumstances. Objective circumstances ...

Price to Free Cash Flow

February 22nd, 2011 by Kara in Dictionary, Financial Terms

A ratio that is used to estimate a firm’s future financial health by comparing the firm’s market value to its cash flow.   This is another valuation tool that is similar to the P/E ratio but removes the non-cash factors.  When comparing companies they should be in the same industry because the ratio will vary depending on the industry. In general, the higher the Price to Free Cash Flow number, the more expensive the company is thought to be. Price to Free Cash Flow = Market Capitalization Free Cash Flow   Share and Enjoy ...