The role of moral residue in determining the reality of genuine moral dilemmas.
The debate surrounding whether genuine moral dilemmas exist or is a longstanding one. Proponents of the existence of genuine moral dilemmas like Ruth Barcan Marcus and Bernard Williams have appealed to the moral residue argument as a means of proving that moral dilemmas exist. Opponents like WaIter SinnottArmstrong, Patricia Greenspan, and Terence McConnell, however, have denied its efficacy on the basis that the moral residue argument begs the question on two counts: Firstly, by assuming that rationally irresolvable conflicts of commitments exist, and secondly, by assuming that agents who experience moral residue have necessarily done something wrong. I argue in this thesis that there is a way that the moral residue argument can be salvaged and provide a more precise account of appropriate moral residue - an account that simultaneously overcomes the objections. Specifically, I argue that the moral residue argument, when interpreted in terms ofthe independent standard of integrity, can provide an account of appropriate moral residue that can explain what the agent has done wrong, and that is neither too strict nor overlooks the fact ofthe agent's harsh self-assessment and moral residue. In so doing I show how the specific accounts of appropriate moral residue assumed in the objections are flawed and miss the force of the point about moral residue. By examining two case studies - Williams Styron's Sophie 's Choice, and Euripides' Jphigenia at Aulis - I show that it can be established independently that both Sophie and Agamemnon do something wrong and would do something wrong no matter how they acted in their respective situations. Through Lynn McFall's conception of integrity I show that Sophie and Agamemnon would undermine their integrity regardless ofwhich oftheir alternative they chose to act on. In so doing I establish that their moral residue is appropriate and would be appropriate had they acted on their other alternative. By this means I demonstrate how - when interpreted in terms of the independent standard of integrity - the moral residue argument can support the existence of genuine moral dilemmas.