Acta Analytica

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 207–222 | Cite as

Moral Dilemmas and Vagueness

  • Matjaž Potrč
  • Vojko StrahovnikEmail author


In this paper we point out some interesting structural similarities between vagueness and moral dilemmas as well as between some of the proposed solutions to both problems. Moral dilemma involves a situation with opposed obligations that cannot all be satisfied. Transvaluationism as an approach to vagueness makes three claims concerning the nature of vagueness: (1) it involves incompatibility between mutually unsatisfiable requirements, (2) the underlying requirements retain their normative power even when they happen to be overruled, and (3) this incompatibility turns out to be rather benign in practice. Given that transvaluationism is inspired by moral dilemmas, these claims are assessed in respect to them. Transvaluationism provides a smooth account of the mentioned claims concerning vagueness. Following a brief discussion of Sorensen’s views on moral dilemmas and conflict vagueness, we offer a model of moral pluralism accommodating structurally similar claims about the nature of moral conflict and moral dilemmas.


Moral dilemma Vagueness Transvaluationism Duties and principles Pluralism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.IPAK institute and Faculty for Government and European StudiesKranjSlovenia
  3. 3.Ulica Hermana Potočnika 21LjubljanaSlovenia

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