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Document Details :
Title: Reliance and its Obligations
Author(s): BLACK, Oliver
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Date: 2018
This article presents a principle identifying a form of internally conditional moral obligation concerning reliance. The need for internal conditionality arises from the generality of the concept of reliance, together with the thesis that ‘obligated’ implies ‘can’. The principle’s conditions include matters upstream from the reliant action (e.g. its being intentionally caused), downstream (harm), and concomitant with it (e.g. the absence of certain adversarial relationships). An epistemic condition straddles those categories. The principle is defended against objections, including the claims that it breaks the link between obligation and action and that reliance is normatively redundant. The principle may be derived from various moral theories, possibly via intermediate principles about harm, respect for autonomy, and the promotion of cooperation. Contrasts are drawn between moral and legal reliance-related obligations.