A girl with long hair is sitting and sad on a Park bench with her imaginary monster friends. Drawing on top of the photo

A good deal of moral theory, therefore, tends to assume that there’s a morally right answer about what one ought to do in any given circumstance. Any difficulty in doing the right thing results from (evil, selfish) resistance, not from the fact that one cannot do all the good or valuable things that one is called upon to do.

However, this familiar view ignores the fact that, in many cases, the problem is not how best to override or silence one’s dark side, but how to cope with having too many good or morally neutral demands on your limited time, energy or resources. In other words, the key issue in many cases is not whether to be moral at all – but rather how best to distribute your moral resources in conditions of scarcity and conflict. Coping well with this latter kind of moral challenge requires very different ways of thinking about moral agency and how to lead good lives.

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