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Meta-Ethics

Edited by Daniel Star (Boston University)
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  1. added 2016-02-09
    Patrick Todd (forthcoming). Strawson, Moral Responsibility, and the "Order of Explanation": An Intervention. Ethics.
    P.F. Strawson’s (1962) “Freedom and Resentment” has provoked a wide ride range of responses, both positive and negative, and an equally wide range of interpretations. In particular, beginning with Gary Watson, some have seen Strawson as suggesting a point about the “order of explanation” concerning moral responsibility: it is not that it is appropriate to hold agents responsible because they are morally responsible, rather, it is ... well, something else. Such claims are often developed in different ways, but one thing (...)
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  2. added 2016-02-08
    Daniel Star (forthcoming). "From Outside of Ethics" Review, John Gibbons, *The Norm of Belief* (OUP, 2013). [REVIEW] Ethics.
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  3. added 2016-02-08
    Gabriel De Marco (forthcoming). Rescuing the Zygote Argument. Philosophical Studies.
    In a recent paper, Kristin Mickelson argues that Alfred Mele’s Zygote Argument, a popular argument for the claim that the truth of determinism would preclude free action or moral responsibility, is not valid. This sort of objection is meant to generalize to various manipulation arguments. According to Mickelson, the only way to make such arguments valid is to supplement them with an argument that is an inference to the best explanation. In this paper, I argue that (...)
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  4. added 2016-02-08
    Vladimir Chituc, Paul Henne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Felipe De Brigard (2016). Blame, Not Ability, Impacts Moral “Ought” Judgments for Impossible Actions: Toward an Empirical Refutation of “Ought” Implies “Can”. Cognition 150:20-25.
  5. added 2016-02-08
    Long Joseph (2015). Rightness = Right-Maker. Disputatio 7 (41):193-206.
    I have recently argued that if the causal theory of reference is true, then, on pain of absurdity, no normative ethical theory is true. In this journal, Michael Byron has objected to my <em>reductio</em> by appealing to Frank Jackson’s moral reductionism. The present essay defends my <em>reductio</em> while also casting doubt upon Jackson’s moral reductionism.
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  6. added 2016-02-08
    Long Joseph (2015). Rightness = Right-Maker. Disputatio 7 (41):193-206.
    I have recently argued that if the causal theory of reference is true, then, on pain of absurdity, no normative ethical theory is true. In this journal, Michael Byron has objected to my <em>reductio</em> by appealing to Frank Jackson’s moral reductionism. The present essay defends my <em>reductio</em> while also casting doubt upon Jackson’s moral reductionism.
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  7. added 2016-02-08
    Long Joseph (2015). Rightness = Right-Maker. Disputatio 7 (41):193-206.
    I have recently argued that if the causal theory of reference is true, then, on pain of absurdity, no normative ethical theory is true. In this journal, Michael Byron has objected to my <em>reductio</em> by appealing to Frank Jackson’s moral reductionism. The present essay defends my <em>reductio</em> while also casting doubt upon Jackson’s moral reductionism.
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  8. added 2016-02-08
    D. J. Bradley (2011). Functionalist Response-Dependence Avoids Missing Explanations. Analysis 71 (2):297-300.
    I argue that there is a flaw in the way that response-dependence has been formulated in the literature, and this flawed formulation has been correctly attacked by Mark Johnston’s Missing Explanation Argument (1993, 1998). Moving to a better formulation, which is analogous to the move from behaviourism to functionalism, avoids the Missing Explanation Argument.
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  9. added 2016-02-06
    Philipp Koralus & Mark Alfano (forthcoming). Reasons-Based Moral Judgment and the Erotetic Theory. In Jean-Francois Bonnefon & Bastian Tremoliere (eds.), Moral Inference.
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  10. added 2016-02-02
    Daihyun Chung, A Redemptive Analysis of Suffering.
    The notion of suffering carries with it aspects which are private and individual on the one hand and social and lingual on the other. I would pay attention to the latter part of the suffering notion, where the notion of suffering is recognized to be primitive by almost all the theories of human values. This primitive character allows a commensurable basis on the basis of which most plural theories share something in common to talk objectively to each other. In this (...)
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  11. added 2016-02-02
    Pierre-Yves Rochefort (2015). L'itinéraire phiosophique d'Hilary Putnam, des mathématiques à l'éthique. Dissertation, Université de Montréal
    In this dissertation I propose a new reading of the philosophical itinerary of Hilary Putnam on the matter of realism. In essence, my purpose is to argue that there is much more continuity than is normally understood, and even a degree of permanence, in the way in which Putnam has viewed the question of realism throughout his career. To arrive at this interpretation of Putnam I essentially followed two veins in his work. First, in a volume published in the early (...)
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  12. added 2016-02-02
    Pierre-Yves Rochefort (2015). Randall E. Auxier, Douglas R. Anderson et Lewis Edwin Hahn, The Philosophy of Hilary Putnam, Chicago Ill, Open Court, 2015, 948 p. [REVIEW] Philosophiques 42 (2):440-444.
  13. added 2016-02-01
    Benjamin Kiesewetter (forthcoming). How Reasons Are Sensitive to Available Evidence. In Conor McHugh, Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford University Press
    In this paper, I develop a theory of how claims about an agent’s normative reasons are sensitive to the epistemic circumstances of this agent, which preserves the plausible ideas that reasons are facts and that reasons can be discovered in deliberation and disclosed in advice. I argue that a plausible theory of this kind must take into account the difference between synchronic and diachronic reasons, i.e. reasons for acting immediately and reasons for acting at some later point in time. I (...)
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  14. added 2016-02-01
    Taraneh Javanbakht (2012). The political philosophy of Netism and its impacts. Journal of New Philosophy 4:15-17.
    In this paper, a new philosophical theory based on a new ethical theory is proposed. The Netism concerns the limitation of reason in the network of the tendencies of repetition. According to Netism, an agent's act is morally correct if and only if it does not contain the tendencies of repetition to damage poeple and him(her)self. The base of the decrease of these tendencies is not ethical but existential. Altougth not damaging is not equivalent to being useful, but the first (...)
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  15. added 2016-02-01
    Taraneh Javanbakht (2011). Ethics according to Rousseau and Voltaire. Journal of New Philosophy 1:34-37.
    In this paper, the ethics of Rousseau and Voltaire are compared.
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  16. added 2016-01-29
    Joshua May (forthcoming). Getting Less Cynical About Virtue. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Christian Miller (eds.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 5: Virtue & Happiness,. MIT Press
    This is a commentary on a paper by the social psychologist C. Daniel Batson. I too think virtue is rare, but not so rare as Batson seems to think, despite his ingenious experiments on "moral hypocrisy.".
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  17. added 2016-01-29
    Fritz J. McDonald (2012). Minimalism and Expressivism. Ethics in Progress 3:9-30.
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  18. added 2016-01-29
    Fritz J. McDonald (2009). Does Moral Discourse Require Robust Truth? Logos Architekton 3.
    It has been argued by several philosophers that a deflationary conception of truth, unlike more robust conceptions of truth, cannot properly account for the nature of moral discourse. This is due to what I will call the “quick route problem”: There is a quick route from any deflationary theory of truth and certain obvious features of moral practice to the attribution of truth to moral utterances. The standard responses to the quick route problem (...)
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  19. added 2016-01-27
    Roman Altshuler (forthcoming). Character, Will, and Agency. In Jonathan Webber & Alberto Masala (eds.), From Personality to Virtue: Essays on the Philosophy of Character. Oxford University Press 62-80.
    Character and the will are rarely discussed together. At most, philosophers working on the one mention the other in an eliminativist vein—if character is represented as something chosen, for example, it can be chalked up to the work of the will; if the will consists merely of a certain arrangement of mental states, it can be seen as little more than a manifestation of character. This mutual neglect appears perfectly justified. If both character and will are determinants of action, to (...)
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  20. added 2016-01-27
    Andres Luco (forthcoming). Morality or "False Consciousness"? How Moral Naturalists Can Answer Thrasymachus's Challenge. Journal of Philosophical Research 41.
    In Book I of Plato’s Republic, Thrasymachus famously maintains that ideas of morality and justice are nothing more than an ideology indoctrinated in “the weaker” to benefit “the stronger.” This is Thrasymachus’s challenge to morality: the thesis that some social arrangements, including some moral norms, are products of ‘false consciousness.’ False consciousness occurs when a dominant social group shapes the beliefs and desires of a subordinate group in such a way that the subordinates act for the benefit of the dominants, (...)
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  21. added 2016-01-27
    Thorsten Sander (forthcoming). The Case of the Disappearing Semicolon: Expressive-Assertivism and the Embedding Problem. Philosophia:1-21.
    Expressive-Assertivism, a metaethical theory championed by Daniel Boisvert, is sometimes considered to be a particularly promising form of hybrid expressivism. One of the main virtues of Expressive-Assertivism is that it seems to offer a simple solution to the Frege-Geach problem. I argue, in contrast, that Expressive-Assertivism faces much the same challenges as pure expressivism.
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  22. added 2016-01-25
    Adam Cureton (2014). Constructivism. In Michael Gibbons (ed.), Encyclopedia of Political Thought. Wiley-Blackwell
    The term “constructivism” names a family of political, moral and metaethical views that, in general terms, regard some or all normative claims as valid in virtue of being outcomes of a “procedure of construction” in which actual or hypothetical agents react to, choose, or otherwise settle on principles of justice, moral rules, values, etc. Traditionally, moral validity or justifiability was thought to depend on God, the Forms, or some other independent moral order. Various procedures of a different, epistemological, sort were (...)
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  23. added 2016-01-22
    Benjamin Kiesewetter (forthcoming). You Ought to Φ Only If You May Believe That You Ought to Φ. Philosophical Quarterly.
    In this paper I present an argument for the claim that you ought to do something only if you may believe that you ought to do it. More exactly, I defend the following principle about normative reasons: An agent A has decisive reason to φ only if she also has sufficient reason to believe that she has decisive reason to φ. I argue that this principle follows from the plausible assumption that it must be possible for an agent (...)
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  24. added 2016-01-21
    A. E. Denham (2015). Celan's Song: Pictures, Poetry and Epistemic Value. In John Gibson (ed.), Philosophy & Poetry. Oxford University Press
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  25. added 2016-01-21
    F. D. Worrell & A. E. Denham (2015). Fragments of the Self: Identity, Agency and Integration. In D. Moseley & G. Gala (eds.), Philosophy & Psychiatry. Routledge
  26. added 2016-01-13
    Steven Gross, Nicholas Tebben & Michael Williams (eds.) (2015). Meaning Without Representation: Essays on Truth, Expression, Normativity, and Naturalism. OUP.
    Much contemporary thinking about language is animated by the idea that the core function of language is to represent how the world is and that therefore the notion of representation should play a fundamental explanatory role in any explanation of language and language use. The chapters in this volume explore various ways this idea may be challenged as well as obstacles to developing various forms of anti- representationalism. Particular attention is given to deflationary accounts of truth, the role of language (...)
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  27. added 2016-01-12
    Craig K. Agule (2016). Resisting Tracing's Siren Song. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (1):1-24.
    Drunk drivers and other culpably incapacitated wrongdoers are often taken to pose a problem for reasons-responsiveness accounts of moral responsibility. These accounts predicate moral responsibility upon an agent having the capacities to perceive and act upon moral reasons, and the culpably incapacitated wrongdoers lack exactly those capacities at the time of their wrongdoing. Many reasons-responsiveness advocates thus expand their account of responsibility to include a tracing condition: The culpably incapacitated wrongdoer is blameworthy despite his incapacitation precisely because he is responsible (...)
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  28. added 2016-01-12
    Aleksandar Prnjat (2009). O Jezičko-Ekspresivnom Paternalizmu: Replika Mihailu Markoviću. Filozofija I Društvo 3 (20):247-250.
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  29. added 2016-01-11
    Antti Kauppinen (forthcoming). Sentimentalism, Blameworthiness, and Wrongdoing. In Karsten Stueber & Remy Debes (eds.), Ethical Sentimentalism. Cambridge University Press
    For ambitious metaphysical neo-sentimentalists, all normative facts are grounded in fitting attitudes, where fittingness is understood in naturalistic terms. In this paper, I offer a neo-sentimentalist account of blameworthiness in terms of the reactive attitudes of a morally authoritative subject I label a Nagelian Imp. I also argue that moral impermissibility is indirectly linked to blameworthiness: roughly, an act is morally impermissible if and only if and because it is not *possible* in the circumstances to adopt a plan of (...)
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  30. added 2016-01-11
    Erich Rast (2016). Harming Yourself and Others: A Note on the Asymmetry of Agency in Action Evaluations. Polish Journal of Philosophy, Vol. VIII, No. 2 (2014) (2):65-74.
    Principles are investigated that allow one to establish a preference ordering between possible actions based on the question of whether the acting agent himself or other agents will benefit or be harmed by the consequences of an action. It is shown that a combination of utility maximization, an altruist principle, and weak negative utilitarianism yields an ordering that seems to be intuitively appealing, although it does not necessarily reflect common everyday evaluations of actions.
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  31. added 2016-01-08
    Justin Clarke-Doane (forthcoming). Debunking Arguments: Mathematics, Logic, and Modal Security. In Robert Richards and Michael Ruse (ed.), Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics. Cambridge University Press
    I discuss the structure of genealogical debunking arguments. I argue that they undermine our mathematical beliefs if they undermine our moral beliefs. The contrary appearance stems from a confusion of arithmetic truths with (first-order) logical truths, or from a confusion of reliability with justification. I conclude with a discussion of the cogency of debunking arguments, in light of the above. Their cogency depends on whether information can undermine all of our beliefs of a kind, F, without giving us direct reason (...)
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  32. added 2016-01-06
    Nathaniel Sharadin (forthcoming). Checking the Neighborhood: A Reply to DiPaolo & Behrends on Promotion. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    In previous work I argued that purely probabilistic accounts of what it takes to promote a desire are mistaken. This is because, I argued, there are desires that it is possible to promote but impossible to probabilistically promote. In a recent article critical of my account, Joshua DiPaolo and Jeffrey Behrends articulate a methodological principle -- Check the Neighborhood -- and claim that respecting this principle rescues pure probabilism from my argument. In this reply, I accept the methodological principle (...)
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  33. added 2015-12-30
    Derek Baker (forthcoming). The Varieties of Normativity. In Tristram McPherson David Plunkett (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Taylor and Francis
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  34. added 2015-12-29
    Benj Hellie (forthcoming). Rationalization and the Ross Paradox. In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford UP
    'Post this letter!' does not entail 'Post this letter or drink up my wine!' (the Ross Paradox) because one can be in a state with the content of the former without being in a state with the content of the latter; in turn, because the latter can rationalize drinking up my wine but the former cannot; in turn, because practical rationalization flows toward one's present situation, in contrast with the flow of theoretical rationalization from one's present situation. Formally, this (...)
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  35. added 2015-12-26
    Thomas Pölzler (forthcoming). Revisiting Folk Moral Realism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology.
    Moral realists believe that there are objective moral truths. According to one of the most prominent arguments in favour of this view, ordinary people experience morality as realist-seeming, and we have therefore prima facie reason to believe that realism is true. Some proponents of this argument have claimed that the hypothesis that ordinary people experience morality as realist-seeming is supported by psychological research on folk metaethics. While most recent research has been thought to contradict this claim, four prominent earlier studies (...)
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  36. added 2015-12-26
    John Brunero (2013). Rational Akrasia. Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4):546-566.
    It is commonly thought that one is irrationally akratic when one believes one ought to F but does not intend to F. However, some philosophers, following Robert Audi, have argued that it is sometimes rational to have this combination of attitudes. I here consider the question of whether rational akrasia is possible. I argue that those arguments for the possibility of rational akrasia advanced by Audi and others do not succeed. Specifically, I argue that cases in which an akratic agent (...)
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  37. added 2015-12-23
    Parker Crutchfield (2015). The Epistemology of Moral Bioenhancement. Bioethics 30 (2):n/a-n/a.
    Moral bioenhancement is the potential practice of manipulating individuals’ moral behaviors by biological means in order to help resolve pressing moral issues such as climate change and terrorism. This practice has obvious ethical implications, and these implications have been and continue to be discussed in the bioethics literature. What have not been discussed are the epistemological implications of moral bioenhancement. This article details some of these implications of engaging in moral bioenhancement. The argument begins by making the distinction between moral (...)
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  38. added 2015-12-22
    Matthew Bedke (2014). A Menagerie of Duties? Normative Judgments Are Not Beliefs About Non-Natural Properties. American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3):189-201.
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  39. added 2015-12-21
    Derek Baker (forthcoming). Intuitions About Disagreement Do Not Support the Normativity of Meaning. Dialectica.
    Allan Gibbard (2012) argues that the term ‘meaning’ expresses a normative concept, primarily on the basis of arguments that parallel Moore’s famous Open Question Argument. This paper argues that Gibbard’s evidence for normativity rests on idiosyncrasies of the Open Question Argument, and that when we use related thought experiments designed to bring out unusual semantic intuitions associated with normative terms we fail to find such evidence. These thought experiments, moreover, strongly suggest there are basic requirements for a theory of meaning (...)
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  40. added 2015-12-21
    Ron Aboodi (2015). The Wrong Time to Aim at What's Right: When is De Dicto Moral Motivation Less Virtuous? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (3 pt 3):307-314.
    I argue that there are two contingent factors that can render an instantiation of de dicto moral motivation—which is typically characterized by the agent's conceiving of her goal in moral terms such as doing what's right—less virtuous than some alternative motivation that would lead to the same action: the circumstances are such that it would be more virtuous to be moved directly by certain non-deliberative dispositions ; or the circumstances are such that de dicto moral motivation has practical disadvantages.
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  41. added 2015-12-21
    Jeremy Fischer (2015). Pride and Moral Responsibility. Ratio 28 (4).
    Having the emotion of pride requires taking oneself to stand in some special relation to the object of pride. According to agency accounts of this pride relation, the self and the object of pride are suitably related just in case one is morally responsible for the existence or excellence of the object of one's pride. I argue that agency accounts fail. This argument provides a strong prima facie defence of an alternate account of pride, according to which the self and (...)
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  42. added 2015-12-21
    Jussi Suikkanen (2015). Review: Erik Wielenberg, Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism. [REVIEW] Ethics 126 (2):541-545.
    This article is a short book review of Erik Wielenberg's book Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism.
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  43. added 2015-12-17
    Frieder Vogelmann (2015). Der kleine Unterschied. Zu den Selbstverhältnissen von Verantwortung und Pflicht. Zeitschrift Für Praktische Philosophie 2 (2):121-164.
    Die Debatte um die Differenz von „Verantwortung“ und „Pflicht“ ist kein bloßer Streit um Wörter, geht es doch um Begriffe, für die der Anspruch erhoben wird, sie seien konstitutiv für moralische Normativität oder gar für Normativität per se. Doch welchen Unterschied macht es, die besondere Bindungskraft von Normativität über Verantwortung oder über Pflicht zu explizieren? Die Genealogie der philosophischen Reflexionen auf Verantwortung lokalisiert die Differenz zwischen Pflicht und Verantwortung in den jeweiligen Selbstverhältnissen, die mit diesen Begriffen verbunden werden. Die Analyse (...)
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  44. added 2015-12-15
    Jan Willem Wieland (2015). What's Special About Moral Ignorance? Ratio 28 (4).
    According to an influential view by Elizabeth Harman, moral ignorance, as opposed to factual ignorance, never excuses one from blame. In defense of this view, Harman appeals to the following considerations: that moral ignorance always implies a lack of good will, and that moral truth is always accessible. In this paper, I clearly distinguish these considerations, and present challenges to both. If my arguments are successful, sometimes moral ignorance excuses.
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  45. added 2015-12-14
    Emilian Mihailov (forthcoming). Is Deontology a Moral Confabulation? Neuroethics:1-13.
    Joshua Greene has put forward the bold empirical hypothesis that deontology is a confabulation of moral emotions. Deontological philosophy does not steam from "true" moral reasoning, but from emotional reactions, backed up by post hoc rationalizations which play no role in generating the initial moral beliefs. In this paper, I will argue against the confabulation hypothesis. First, I will highlight several points in Greene’s discussion of confabulation, and identify two possible models. Then, I will argue that the evidence does not (...)
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  46. added 2015-12-14
    Andres Luco (2013). Humean Moral Motivation. In Bert Musschenga & Anton van Harskamp (eds.), What Makes Us Moral? On the capacities and conditions for being moral. Springer 131-150.
    Moral motivation refers to the psychological causes that motivate or explain moral action. Moral action refers to action that complies with the requirements of morality. In this essay, I lay out alternative views on moral motivation, giving particular attention the way each view conceives of the explanatory link between practical reasoning and moral conduct. In trying to understand this link, philosophers look to moral judgment. The main rival accounts of the relationship between practical reasoning, moral judgment, and moral motivation can (...)
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  47. added 2015-12-09
    Sergio Tenenbaum (2005). Friendship and the Law of Reason: Baier and Kant on Love and Principles. In Williams Jenkins (ed.), Persons, Promises, and Practices. University of Notre Dame Press 250-280.
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  48. added 2015-12-07
    Matthew Braddock (forthcoming). Evolutionary Debunking: Can Moral Realists Explain the Reliability of Our Moral Judgments? Philosophical Psychology.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments, notably Sharon Street’s Darwinian Dilemma (2006), allege that moral realists have some explaining to do: explain the reliability of our moral judgments, given their evolutionary sources. David Copp (2008) and David Enoch (2010) take up the challenge. We argue on empirical grounds that realists have not met the challenge and moreover cannot do so. First, we sketch Street’s Darwinian Dilemma and characterize its explanatory challenge. Second, we characterize the explanations of Copp and Enoch, which were designed to (...)
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  49. added 2015-12-06
    Guy Kahane (forthcoming). If Nothing Matters. Noûs.
    The possibility that nothing really matters can cause much anxiety, but what would it mean for that to be true? Since it couldn’t be bad that nothing matters, fearing nihilism makes little sense. However, the consequences of belief in nihilism will be far more dramatic than often thought. Many metaethicists assume that even if nothing matters, we should, and would, go on more or less as before. But if nihilism is true in an unqualified way, it can’t be the case (...)
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  50. added 2015-12-03
    Thomas Pölzler (forthcoming). Further Problems with Projectivism. South African Journal of Philosophy.
    From David Hume onwards, many philosophers have argued that moral thinking is characterized by a tendency to “project” our own mental states onto the world. This metaphor of projection may be understood as involving two empirical claims: the claim that humans experience morality as a realm of objective facts (the experiential hypothesis), and the claim that this moral experience is immediately caused by affective attitudes (the causal hypothesis). Elsewhere I argued in detail against one form of the experiential hypothesis. My (...)
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