Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 8, pp 2087–2101 | Cite as

Moral pickles, moral dilemmas, and the obligation preface paradox

  • Daniel ImmermanEmail author


This paper introduces and defends a new position regarding the question of whether it is possible to have conflicting moral obligations. In doing so, it focuses on what I call a moral pickle. By “moral pickle” I mean a set of actions such that you ought to perform each and cannot perform all. Typically, when people discuss conflicting moral obligations, they focus on the notion of a moral dilemma, which is a type of moral pickle involving two conflicting actions. In other words, a moral dilemma is a pair of actions such that you ought to perform each and cannot perform both. As of yet, there is no debate about the possibility of moral pickles over and above the possibility of moral dilemmas. But as I show, there is good reason to think that moral pickles are possible and moral dilemmas are not.


Moral pickle Moral dilemma Obligation Belief Preface paradox Obligation preface paradox 



Thanks for helpful comments to Earl Conee, Ryan Hammond, Ting Lau, Caleb Perl, Will Smith, Fritz Warfield, several anonymous referees, and an audience at the 2016 Pacific APA.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Author has no financial interest or benefit arising from the direct applications of their research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CycorpAustinUSA

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