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Meta-Ethics

Edited by Daniel Star (Boston University)
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  1. added 2015-06-30
    Knut Olav Skarsaune (forthcoming). Book Review: David Enoch, Taking Morality Seriously. [REVIEW] Utilitas.
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  2. added 2015-06-30
    Knut Olav Skarsaune (forthcoming). David Enoch, Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism , Pp. Xi + 295. Utilitas:1-4.
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  3. added 2015-06-30
    Errol Lord (2015). Joshua Gert, Normative Bedrock: Response-Dependence, Rationality, and Reasons , Pp. X + 218. Utilitas 27 (2):251-254.
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  4. added 2015-06-26
    Daniel Cohnitz (2015). Moral Realism and Faultless Disagreement. Ratio 28 (2).
    Is moral realism compatible with the existence of moral disagreements? Since moral realism requires that if two persons are in disagreement over some moral question at least one must be objectively mistaken, it seems difficult to uphold that there can be moral disagreements without fault. Alison Hills argued that moral realism can accommodate such disagreements. Her strategy is to argue that moral reasoners can be faultless in making an objectively false moral judgement if they followed the relevant epistemic norm, i.e. (...)
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  5. added 2015-06-26
    Laurie Calhoun (2014). Pragmatism, Love, and Morality: Triangular Reflections in Carol Reed's The Third Man. Labyrinth: An International Journal for Philosophy, Value Theory and Sociocultural Hermeneutics 16 (2):117-128.
    Carol Reed’s 1949 film The Third Man offers a richly metaphorical expression of the view that pragmatism, love, and morality are incommensurable perspectives from which to interpret the world. Harry Lime is a black market trader whose actions are constrained only by practical considerations. Anna Schmidt, Lime's former lover, understands what is morally wrong with what Lime does, but refuses to assist the police. In contrast, Holly Martins, an old friend from childhood, ultimately agrees to help trap Lime. These three (...)
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  6. added 2015-06-25
    Kristana Arp (2001). The Bonds of Freedom. Open Court.
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  7. added 2015-06-23
    F. Lösel & M. Schmucker (2004). Psychopathy, Risk Taking, and Attention: A Differentiated Test of the Somatic Marker Hypothesis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 113:522-529.
    A. R. Damasio's (1994) somatic marker hypothesis relates psychopathy to deficits in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Using the gambling task (A. Bechara, A. R. Damasio, H. Damasio, & S. Anderson, 1994), the authors tested this premise and the role of attention as a moderator. Forty-nine male prison inmates were assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist--Revised (R. D. Hare, 1991), the gambling task, and standardized tests on attention-concentration, and intelligence. Results revealed no general relation between psychopathy and gambling task performance. However, psychopathic (...)
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  8. added 2015-06-22
    Robyn Repko Waller & Russell L. Waller (forthcoming). Forking Paths and Freedom: A Challenge to Libertarian Accounts of Free Will. Philosophia:1-14.
    The aim of this paper is to challenge libertarian accounts of free will. It is argued that there is an irreconcilable tension between the way in which philosophers motivate the incompatibilist ability to do otherwise and the way in which they formally express it. Potential incompatibilist responses in the face of this tension are canvassed, and it is argued that each response is problematic. It is not claimed that incompatibilist accounts in general are incoherent, but rather that any incompatibilist account (...)
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  9. added 2015-06-19
    Gerald L. Hull, Tracking the Moral Truth: Debunking Street’s Darwinian Dilemma.
    Sharon Street’s 2006 article “A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value” challenges the epistemological pretensions of the moral realist, of the nonnaturalist in particular. Given that “Evolutionary forces have played a tremendous role in shaping the content of human evaluative attitudes” – why should one suppose such attitudes and concomitant beliefs would track an independent moral reality? Especially since, on a nonnaturalist view, moral truth is causally inert. I abstract a logical skeleton of Street’s argument and, with its aid, (...)
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  10. added 2015-06-19
    Gerald L. Hull, Tracking the Moral Truth: Debunking Street’s Darwinian Dilemma.
    Sharon Street’s 2006 article “A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value” challenges the epistemological pretensions of the moral realist, of the nonnaturalist in particular. Given that “Evolutionary forces have played a tremendous role in shaping the content of human evaluative attitudes” – why should one suppose such attitudes and concomitant beliefs would track an independent moral reality? Especially since, on a nonnaturalist view, moral truth is causally inert. I abstract a logical skeleton of Street’s argument and, with its aid, (...)
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  11. added 2015-06-18
    Catherine Legg (2014). “Logic, Ethics and the Ethics of Logic”,. In T. Thellefsen B. Sorensen (ed.), Charles Sanders Peirce in His Own Words. 271-278.
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  12. added 2015-06-17
    Ramon Das (forthcoming). Evolutionary Debunking of Morality: Epistemological or Metaphysical? Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    It is widely supposed that evolutionary debunking arguments against morality constitute a type of epistemological objection to our moral beliefs. In particular, the debunking force of such arguments is not supposed to depend on the metaphysical claim that moral facts do not exist. In this paper I argue that this standard epistemological construal of EDAs is highly misleading, if not mistaken. Specifically, I argue that the most widely discussed EDAs all make key and controversial metaphysical claims about the nature of (...)
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  13. added 2015-06-17
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2005). It's Not My Fault: Global Warming and Individual Moral Obligations. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Richard Howarth (eds.), Perspectives on Climate Change. Elsevier. 221–253.
    A survey of various candidates shows that there is no defensible moral principle that shows that individuals have an obligation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
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  14. added 2015-06-16
    Gregor Flock, Solving the Is-Ought Problem.
    One of the most prolific and well-known debates in ethics and especially metaethics concerns the question of whether or not (and if so how) moral ought-beliefs can be derived from descriptive is-beliefs. In this paper I will propose the following two respective theses: That there is no unbridgable ontological, logical or semantical ʻgap’ between Is and Ought since moral cognitivism is true (thesis I) and that Ought consequently can be and routinely is derived from Is (thesis II). In order to (...)
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  15. added 2015-06-15
    Thomas Pölzler (forthcoming). Moral Disagreement, Anti-Realism, and the Worry About Overgeneralization. In Christian Kanzian, Josef Mitterer & Katharina Neges (eds.), Proceedings of the 38th International Wittgenstein Symposium.
    According to the classical argument from moral disagreement, the existence of widespread or persistent moral disagreement is best explained by, and thus inductively supports the view that there are no objective moral facts. One of the most common charges against this argument is that it “overgeneralizes”: it implausibly forces its proponents to deny the existence of objective facts about certain matters of physics, history, philosophy, etc. as well (companions in guilt), or even about its own conclusion or its own soundness (...)
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  16. added 2015-06-14
    Thaddeus Metz (forthcoming). Review of Todd May, A Significant Life. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    Approx. 2000 word review of Todd May's _A Significant Life: Human Meaning in a Silent Universe_ (University of Chicago Press).
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  17. added 2015-06-13
    Thomas Pölzler (forthcoming). Review of Erik J. Wielenberg’s “Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism”. [REVIEW] Ethical Perspectives.
    Erik Wielenberg’s new book Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism aims at defending a non-theistic of ‘robust normative realism’: the metaethical view that normative properties exist, and have four features: (1) objectivity, (2) non-naturalness, (3) irreducibility, and (4) causal inertness. In my review I criticize that Wielenberg does not address semantic issues which are crucial both to defending robust normative realism, and to assessing the empirical claims he makes. Moreover, and relatedly, I suggest that Wielenberg’s main (...)
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  18. added 2015-06-13
    Alexander Jackson (forthcoming). From Relative Truth to Finean Non-Factualism. Synthese:1-19.
    This paper compares two ‘relativist’ theories about deliciousness: truth-relativism, and Kit Fine’s non-factualism about a subject-matter. Contemporary truth-relativism is presented as a linguistic thesis; its metaphysical underpinning is often neglected. I distinguish three views about the obtaining of worldly states of affairs concerning deliciousness, and argue that none yields a satisfactory version of truth-relativism. Finean non-factualism about deliciousness is not subject to the problems with truth-relativism. I conclude that Finean non-factualism is the better relativist theory. As I explain, non-facualism about (...)
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  19. added 2015-06-13
    James Dreier (2015). Can Reasons Fundamentalism Answer the Normative Question? In Gunnar Björnsson, Caj Strandberg, Ragnar Francén Olinder, John Eriksson & Fredrik Björklund (eds.), Motivational Internalism. Oxford University Press.
  20. added 2015-06-13
    James Dreier (2015). Another World. In Robert Johnson & Michael Smith (eds.), Passions and Projections Themes from the Philosophy of Simon Blackburn. Oxford University Press. 155-171.
    The metaethics and metametaethics of Scanlon's "Reasons Fundamentalism".
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  21. added 2015-06-11
    Ralph Wedgwood (forthcoming). Review of Being Realistic About Reasons, by T. M. Scanlon. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly.
    This is a review of T. M. Scanlon's book "Being Realistic about Reasons", which is based on the Locke Lectures that Scanlon gave in Oxford in 2009.
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  22. added 2015-06-11
    Ralph Wedgwood (2014). Moral Disagreement Among Philosophers. In Michael Bergmann & Patrick Kain (eds.), Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution. Oxford University Press. 23-39.
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  23. added 2015-06-10
    Matthew Braddock (forthcoming). Debunking Arguments From Insensitivity. International Journal for the Study of Skepticism.
    Heightened awareness of the origins of our moral judgments pushes many in the direction of moral skepticism, in the direction of thinking we are unjustified in holding our moral judgments on a realist understanding of the moral truths. A classic debunking argument fleshes out this worry: the best explanation of our moral judgments does not appeal to their truth, so we are unjustified in holding our moral judgments. But it is unclear how to get from the explanatory premise to the (...)
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  24. added 2015-06-10
    Stephen Ingram (2015). After Moral Error Theory, After Moral Realism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 53 (2):227-248.
    Moral abolitionists recommend that we get rid of moral discourse and moral judgement. At first glance this seems repugnant, but abolitionists think that we have overestimated the practical value of our moral framework and that eliminating it would be in our interests. I argue that abolitionism has a surprising amount going for it. Traditionally, abolitionism has been treated as an option available to moral error theorists. Error theorists say that moral discourse and judgement are committed to the existence of moral (...)
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  25. added 2015-06-08
    Seth Shabo (2015). Review of Bruce Waller's The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2015 (April).
  26. added 2015-06-07
    Jeffrey A. Gauthier (1999). Hegel and the Problem of Particularity in Moral Judgment. Women's Philosophy Review 22:58-79.
    Barbara Herman's account of rules of moral salience goes far in explaining how Kantian moral theory can integrate historically emergent normative criticisms such as that offered by feminists. The ethical motives that initially lead historical agents to expand our moral categories, however, are often at odds with Kant's (and Herman's) theory of moral motivations. I argue that Hegel offers a more accurate account of ethical motivation under oppressive conditions.
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  27. added 2015-06-05
    Tomas Bogardus (forthcoming). Only All Naturalists Should Worry About Only One Evolutionary Debunking Argument. Ethics.
    Do the facts of evolution generate an epistemic challenge to moral realism? Some think so, and many “evolutionary debunking arguments” have been discussed in the recent literature. But they are all murky right where it counts most: exactly which epistemic principle is meant to take us from evolutionary considerations to the skeptical conclusion? Here, I will identify several distinct species of evolutionary debunking argument in the literature, each one of which relies on a distinct epistemic principle. Drawing on recent work (...)
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  28. added 2015-06-05
    Matt King (2015). Manipulation Arguments and the Standing to Blame. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (1):1-20.
    The majority of recent work on the moral standing to blame (the idea that A may be unable to legitimately blame B despite B being blameworthy) has focused on blamers who themselves are blameworthy. This is unfortunate, for there is much to learn about the standing to blame once we consider a broader range of cases. Doing so reveals that challenged standing is more expansive than previously acknowledged, and accounts that have privileged the fact that the blamers are themselves morally (...)
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  29. added 2015-06-05
    Alexander A. Guerrero (2015). Deliberation, Responsibility, and Excusing Mistakes of Law. Jurisprudence 6 (1):81-94.
  30. added 2015-06-04
    Gregg D. Caruso (forthcoming). Free Will Skepticism and Criminal Behavior: A Public Health-Quarantine Model. Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1).
    One of the most frequently voiced criticisms of free will skepticism is that it is unable to adequately deal with criminal behavior and that the responses it would permit as justified are insufficient for acceptable social policy. This concern is fueled by two factors. The first is that one of the most prominent justifications for punishing criminals, retributivism, is incompatible with free will skepticism. The second concern is that alternative justifications that are not ruled out by the skeptical view per (...)
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  31. added 2015-06-04
    Alexander Hyun & Eric Sampson (2014). On Believing the Error Theory. Journal of Philosophy 111 (11):631-640.
    In his recent article entitled ‘Can We Believe the Error Theory?’ Bart Streumer argues that it is impossible (for anyone, anywhere) to believe the error theory. This might sound like a problem for the error theory, but Streumer argues that it is not. He argues that the un-believability of the error theory offers a way for error theorists to respond to several objections commonly made against the view. In this paper, we respond to Streumer’s arguments. In particular, in sections 2-4, (...)
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  32. added 2015-06-02
    Matthew Haug (2014). Must Naturalism Lead to a Deflationary Meta-Ontology? Metaphysica 15 (2):347-367.
    Huw Price has argued that naturalistic philosophy inevitably leads to a deflationary approach to ontological questions. In this paper, I rebut these arguments. A more substantive, less language-focused approach to metaphysics remains open to naturalists. However, rebutting one of Price’s main arguments requires rejecting Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment. So, even though Price’s argument is unsound, it reveals that naturalists cannot rest content with broadly Quinean, “mainstream metaphysics,” which, I suggest, naturalists also have independent reasons to reject.
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  33. added 2015-05-29
    Neil Sinhababu (forthcoming). Virtue, Desire, and Silencing Reasons. In Iskra Fileva (ed.), Perspectives on Character. Oxford University Press.
    John McDowell claims that virtuous people recognize moral reasons using a perceptual capacity that doesn't include desire. I show that the phenomena he cites are better explained if desire makes us see considerations favoring its satisfaction as reasons. The salience of moral considerations to the virtuous, like the salience of food to the hungry, exemplifies the emotional and attentional effects of desire. I offer a desire-based account of how we can follow uncodifiable rules of common-sense morality and how some reasons (...)
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  34. added 2015-05-28
    David Shoemaker (2015). Responsibility From the Margins. Oxford University Press.
    David Shoemaker presents a new pluralistic theory of responsibility, based on the idea of quality of will. His approach is motivated by our ambivalence to real-life cases of marginal agency, such as those caused by clinical depression, dementia, scrupulosity, psychopathy, autism, intellectual disability, and poor formative circumstances. Our ambivalent responses suggest that such agents are responsible in some ways but not others. Shoemaker develops a theory to account for our ambivalence, via close examination of several categories of pancultural emotional responsibility (...)
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  35. added 2015-05-27
    Charlie Kurth (2013). Review of Kieran Setiya’s Knowing Right From Wrong. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2013.
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  36. added 2015-05-24
    Kevin Lynch (forthcoming). Willful Ignorance and Self-Deception. Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    Willful ignorance is an important concept in criminal law and jurisprudence, though it has not received much discussion in philosophy. When it is mentioned, however, it is regularly assumed to be a kind of self-deception. In this article I will argue that self-deception and willful ignorance are distinct psychological kinds. First, some examples of willful ignorance are presented and discussed, and an analysis of the phenomenon is developed. Then it is shown that current theories of self-deception give no support to (...)
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  37. added 2015-05-23
    François Jaquet & Hichem Naar (forthcoming). Moral Beliefs for the Error Theorist? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.
    The moral error theory holds that moral claims and beliefs, because they commit us to the existence of illusory entities, are systematically false or untrue. It is an open question what we should do with moral thought and discourse once we have become convinced by this view. Until recently, this question had received two main answers. The abolitionist proposed that we should get rid of moral thought altogether. The fictionalist, though he agreed we should eliminate moral beliefs, enjoined us to (...)
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  38. added 2015-05-22
    Sylvia Burrow (2014). Martial Arts and Moral Life. In Graham Priest Damon Young (ed.), Martial Arts and Philosophy: Engagement. Routledge.
    A key point of feminist moral philosophy is that social and political conditions continue to work against women’s ability to flourish as moral agents. By pointing to how violence against women undermines both autonomy and integrity I uncover a significant means through which women are undermined in society. My focus is on violence against women as a pervasive, inescapable social condition that women can counter through self-defence training.
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  39. added 2015-05-20
    Thomas Pölzler (forthcoming). Moral Judgements and Emotions: A Less Intimate Relationship Than Recently Claimed. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 35.
    It has long been claimed that moral judgements are dominated by reason. In recent years, however, the tide has turned. Many psychologists and philosophers now hold the view that there is a close empirical association between moral judgements and emotions. In particular, they claim that emotions (1) co-occur with moral judgements, (2) causally influence moral judgements, (3) are causally sufficient for moral judgements, and (4) are causally necessary for moral judgements. At first sight these hypotheses seem well-supported. In this paper (...)
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  40. added 2015-05-19
    Neal A. Tognazzini (2015). The Strains of Involvement. In Randolph Clarke, Michael McKenna & Angela M. Smith (eds.), The Nature of Moral Responsibility. Oxford University Press. 19-44.
    Analytic philosophers have a tendency to forget that they are human beings, and one of the reasons that P. F. Strawson’s 1962 essay, “Freedom and Resentment”, has been so influential is that it promises to bring discussions of moral responsibility back down to earth. Strawson encouraged us to “keep before our minds...what it is actually like to be involved in ordinary interpersonal relationships”, which is, after all, the context in which questions about responsibility arise in the first place. In this (...)
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  41. added 2015-05-19
    Randolph Clarke, Michael McKenna & Angela M. Smith (2015). The Nature of Moral Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    What is it to be morally responsible for something? Recent philosophical work reveals considerable disagreement on the question. Indeed, some theorists claim to distinguish several varieties of moral responsibility, with different conditions that must be satisfied if one is to bear responsibility of one or another of these kinds. -/- Debate on this point turns partly on disagreement about the kinds of responses made appropriate when one is blameworthy or praiseworthy. It is generally agreed that these include "reactive attitudes" such (...)
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  42. added 2015-05-19
    D. Justin Coates & Neal A. Tognazzini, Blame. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    In this entry we provide a critical review of recent work on the nature and ethics of blame, including issues of moral standing.
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  43. added 2015-05-19
    Neal A. Tognazzini (2013). Responsibility. In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell. 4592-4602.
    In this encyclopedia entry I sketch the way contemporary theorists understand moral responsibility -- its varieties, its requirements, and its puzzles.
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  44. added 2015-05-15
    Susan Sauvé Meyer (1998). Moral Responsibility: Aristotle and After. In Stephen Everson (ed.), Companions to Ancient Thought Volume 4: Ethics. Cambridge University Press. 211-240.
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  45. added 2015-05-14
    Gerald Hull, Tracking the Moral Truth: Debunking Street’s Darwinian Dilemma.
    Sharon Street’s 2006 article “A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value” challenges the epistemological pretensions of the moral realist, of the nonnaturalist in particular. Given that “Evolutionary forces have played a tremendous role in shaping the content of human evaluative attitudes” – why should one suppose such attitudes and concomitant beliefs would track an independent moral reality? Especially since, on a nonnaturalist view, moral truth is causally inert. I abstract a logical skeleton of Street’s argument and, with its aid, (...)
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  46. added 2015-05-14
    Hallvard Lillehammer (forthcoming). An Assumption of Extreme Significance: Moore, Ross and Spencer on Ethics and Evolution. In Uri Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics. Oxford University Press.
    In recent years there has been a growing interest among mainstream Anglophone moral philosophers in the empirical study of human morality, including its evolution and historical development. This chapter compares these developments with an earlier point of contact between moral philosophy and the moral sciences in the early decades of the Twentieth century, as manifested in some of the less frequently discussed arguments of G. E. Moore and W. D. Ross. It is argued that a critical appreciation of Moore and (...)
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  47. added 2015-05-13
    Caleb Dewey, Naturalism Favours Utilitarianism.
    Ever since the founding of utilitarianism, philosophers have noted that naturalists (among others) have a particular affinity towards utilitarianism. In 1999, Jon Mendle explored whether naturalism actually implied utilitarianism and found that it did not. However, implication is not the only way for naturalism to favour utilitarianism. In this essay, I define utilitarianism in terms of practical reason, which I call ``the utilitarian backstory''. This backstory demonstrates that naturalism creates conditions in which rationality subsumes utilitarianism, making non-utilitarian ethics irrational. In (...)
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  48. added 2015-05-11
    Guy Fletcher (2014). Moral Utterances, Attitude Expression, and Implicature. In Guy Fletcher & Mike Ridge (eds.), Having it Both Ways: Hybrid Theories in Meta-Normative Theory. OUP.
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  49. added 2015-05-11
    Samuel H. Pillsbury (2013). Why Psychopaths Are Responsible. In Kent A. Kiehl & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Handbook on Psychopathy and Law. Oxford University Press. 297-318.
  50. added 2015-05-11
    Paul Litton (2013). Criminal Responsiblity and Psychopathy: Do Psychopaths Have a Right to Excuse? In Kent A. Kiehl & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Handbook on Psychopathy and Law. Oxford University Press. 275-296.
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