Moral sunk costs

Seth Lazar*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Suppose that you are trying to pursue a morally worthy goal, but cannot do so without incurring some moral costs. At the outset, you believed that achieving your goal was worth no more than a given moral cost. And suppose that, time having passed, you have wrought only harm and injustice, without advancing your cause. You can now reflect on whether to continue. Your goal is within reach. What's more, you believe you can achieve it by incurring-from this point forward-no more cost than it warranted at the outset. If you now succeed, the total cost will exceed the upper bound marked at the beginning. But the additional cost from this point is below that upper bound. And the good you will achieve is undiminished. How do the moral costs you have already inflicted bear upon your decision now?.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)841-861
    Number of pages21
    JournalPhilosophical Quarterly
    Volume68
    Issue number273
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

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