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Meta-Ethics

Edited by Daniel Star (Boston University)
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  1. added 2016-05-29
    Marcus Arvan, Errata - Rightness as Fairness: A Moral and Political Theory.
  2. added 2016-05-29
    Amrei Bahr & Markus Seidel (2016). Rule-Following and A Priori Biconditionals - A Sea of Tears? In Simon Derpmann & David Schweikard (eds.), Philip Pettit: Five Themes from his Work. Springer 19-31.
  3. added 2016-05-28
    Dohrn, Counterfactuals and Two Kinds of Ought. GAP 8 Proceedings.
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  4. added 2016-05-28
    Dohrn, Counterfactuals and Two Kinds of Ought. GAP 8.
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  5. added 2016-05-28
    Daniel Dohrn, Modals Vs. Morals. Blackburn on Conceptual Supervenience. GAP 7 Proceedings.
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  6. added 2016-05-28
    Dohrn, Modals vs. Morals. Blackburn on Conceptual Supervenience. GAP 8 Proceedings.
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  7. added 2016-05-27
    Laura Schlingloff & Richard Moore (forthcoming). Do Chimpanzees Conform to Cultural Norms? In Kristin Andrews Jacob Beck (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Animal Mind. Routledge
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  8. added 2016-05-27
    Sem de Maagt (forthcoming). Reflective Equilibrium and Moral Objectivity. Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Ever since the introduction of reflective equilibrium in ethics, it has been argued that reflective equilibrium either leads to moral relativism, or that it turns out to be a form of intuitionism in disguise. Despite these criticisms, reflective equilibrium remains the most dominant method of moral justification in ethics. In this paper, I therefore critically examine the most recent attempts to defend the method of reflective equilibrium against these objections. Defenders of reflective equilibrium typically respond to the objections by saying (...)
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  9. added 2016-05-27
    Tomasz Żuradzki, Moralna niepewność w argumentacji bioetycznej. Filozofia W Praktyce.
    Niektórzy twierdzą, że nawet jeśli ktoś nie wierzy, że embriony lub płody ludzkie mają jakiś szczególnie wyróżniony status moralny, to z ostrożności powinien traktować je tak, jak gdyby miały pełny status moralny. Pokażę, dlaczego takie rozumowanie jest niepoprawne.
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  10. added 2016-05-25
    Blaine Snow, Waking Up and Growing Up: Two Forms of Human Development.
    This paper contrasts two relatively independent forms of human development: waking up, the process and practices of psychospiritual awakening , and growing up, the process of moving from lesser narcissistic and ethnocentric self-identities towards mature postconventional self-identities with greater degrees of inclusion, perspective-taking, caring, and compassion. Each is a unique type of growth, contemplative and transformative, with different ways of engaging and differing goals and results. The former is about transcending or deconstructing the ego and the latter about building, strengthening, (...)
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  11. added 2016-05-25
    Samuel Murray (forthcoming). Responsibility and Vigilance. Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    My primary target in this paper is a puzzle that emerges from the conjunction of several seemingly innocent assumptions in action theory and the metaphysics of moral responsibility. The puzzle I have in mind is this. On one widely held account of moral responsibility, an agent is morally responsible only for those actions or outcomes over which that agent exercises control. Recently, however, some have cited cases where agents appear to be morally responsible without exercising any control. This leads some (...)
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  12. added 2016-05-24
    Erman Kaplama (2016). The Cosmological Aesthetic Worldview in Van Gogh’s Late Landscape Paintings. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 12 (1):218-237.
    Some artworks are called sublime because of their capacity to move human imagination in a different way than the experience of beauty. The following discussion explores how Van Gogh’s The Starry Night along with some of his other late landscape paintings accomplish this peculiar movement of imagination thus qualifying as sublime artworks. These artworks constitute examples of the higher aesthetic principles and must be judged according to the cosmological-aesthetic criteria for they manage to generate a transition between ethos and phusis (...)
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  13. added 2016-05-21
    Luke Taylor (2016). Can Robert Adams Survive Moral Twin Earth? Journal of Religious Ethics 44 (2):334-351.
    Richard Boyd and Robert Adams have both developed semantic accounts of moral terms based on Hilary Putnam's causal regulation theory for natural kind terms, according to which the terms in question refer to the properties which predominantly causally regulated the terms. However, Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons have mounted an objection to Boyd's semantics—their Moral Twin Earth argument. If this argument is successful against Boyd then it might be thought that it should also be successful against Adams, given the (...)
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  14. added 2016-05-18
    Gerald Hull, A Normative Approach to Moral Realism.
    The realist belief in robustly attitude-independent evaluative truths – more specifically, moral truths – is challenged by Sharon Street’s essay “A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value”. We know the content of human normative beliefs and attitudes has been profoundly influenced by a Darwinian natural selection process that favors adaptivity. But if simple adaptivity can explain the content of our evaluative beliefs, any connection they might have with abstract moral truth would seem to be purely coincidental. She continues the (...)
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  15. added 2016-05-18
    Katharina Nieswandt (forthcoming). Anscombe on the Sources of Normativity. Journal of Value Inquiry 2016:1-23.
    Anscombe is usually seen as a critic of “Modern Moral Philosophy.” I attempt a systematic reconstruction and a defense of Anscombe’s positive theory. -/- Anscombe’s metaethics is a hybrid of social constructivism and Aristotelian naturalism. Her three main claims are the following: (1) We cannot trace all duties back to one moral principle; there is more than one source of normativity. (2) Whether I have a certain duty will often be determined by the social practices of my community. For instance, (...)
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  16. added 2016-05-17
    Gregg Caruso (forthcoming). Moral Responsibility and the Strike Back Emotion: Comments on Bruce Waller’s The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility. Syndicate Philosophy 1 (1).
    In The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility (2015), Bruce Waller sets out to explain why the belief in individual moral responsibility is so strong. He begins by pointing out that there is a strange disconnect between the strength of philosophical arguments in support of moral responsibility and the strength of philosophical belief in moral responsibility. While the many arguments in favor of moral responsibility are inventive, subtle, and fascinating, Waller points out that even the most ardent supporters of moral responsibility (...)
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  17. added 2016-05-17
    Billy Dunaway (2016). Realism and Objectivity. In Tristram Mcpherson David Plunkett (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge
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  18. added 2016-05-11
    John Danaher (forthcoming). Robots, Law and the Retribution Gap. Ethics and Information Technology.
    We are living through an era of increased robotisation. Some authors have already begun to explore the impact of this robotisation on legal rules and practice. In doing so, many highlight potential liability gaps that might arise through robot misbehaviour. Although these gaps are interesting and socially significant, they do not exhaust the possible gaps that might be created by increased robotisation. In this article, I make the case for one of those alternative gaps: the retribution gap. This gap arises (...)
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  19. added 2016-05-11
    Neil Sinclair (forthcoming). On the Connection Between Normative Reasons and the Possibility of Acting for Those Reasons. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-13.
    According to Bernard Williams, if it is true that A has a normative reason to Φ then it must be possible that A should Φ for that reason. This claim is important both because it restricts the range of reasons which agents can have and because it has been used as a premise in an argument for so-called ‘internalist’ theories of reasons. In this paper I rebut an apparent counterexamples to Williams’ claim: Schroeder’s example of Nate. I argue that this (...)
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  20. added 2016-05-10
    Alex Silk (forthcoming). Having It Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern Metaethics1. Analysis:anw031.
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  21. added 2016-05-10
    Michael J. Deem (2016). Dehorning the Darwinian Dilemma for Normative Realism. Biology and Philosophy:1-20.
    Normative realists tend to consider evolutionary debunking arguments as posing epistemological challenges to their view. By understanding Sharon Street’s ‘Darwinian dilemma’ argument in this way, they have overlooked and left unanswered her unique scientific challenge to normative realism. This paper counters Street’s scientific challenge and shows that normative realism is compatible with an evolutionary view of human evaluative judgment. After presenting several problems that her adaptive link account of evaluative judgments faces, I outline and defend an evolutionary byproduct (...)
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  22. added 2016-05-09
    Lajos L. Brons (2016). Facing Death From a Safe Distance: Saṃvega and Moral Psychology. Journal of Buddhist Ethics 23:83-128.
    Saṃvega is a morally motivating state of shock that— according to Buddhaghosa—should be evoked by meditating on death. What kind of mental state it is exactly, and how it is morally motivating is unclear, however. This article presents a theory of saṃvega—what it is and how it works—based on recent insights in psychology. According to dual process theories there are two kinds of mental processes organized in two" systems" : the experiential, automatic system 1, and the rational, controlled system 2. (...)
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  23. added 2016-05-08
    Antti Kauppinen (forthcoming). Empathy and Moral Judgment. In Heidi Maibom (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Empathy. Routledge
    Empathic feelings seem to causally influence our moral judgments at least sometimes. But is empathy necessary for our ability to make moral judgments? And it is a good thing if our judgments are based on empathy? This chapter examines the contemporary debate on these issues.
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  24. added 2016-05-06
    Andrew Moon (forthcoming). Debunking Morality: Lessons From the EAAN Literature. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper explores evolutionary debunking arguments as they arise in metaethics against moral realism and in philosophy of religion against naturalism. Both literatures have independently grappled with the question of which beliefs one may use to respond to a potential defeater. In this paper, I show how the literature on the argument against naturalism can help clarify and bring progress to the literature on moral realism with respect to this question. Of note, it will become clear that the objection that (...)
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  25. added 2016-05-06
    Max Barkhausen (2016). Reductionist Moral Realism and the Contingency of Moral Evolution. Ethics 126 (3):662-689.
    Reductionist forms of moral realism, such as naturalist realism, are often thought immune to epistemological objections that have been raised against nonnaturalist realism in the form of reliability worries or evolutionary debunking arguments. This article establishes that reductionist realist views can only explain the reliability of our moral beliefs at the cost of incurring repugnant first-order conclusions.
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  26. added 2016-05-05
    J. L. Dowell (forthcoming). Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language. Mind:fzv148.
  27. added 2016-05-05
    Laura Specker Sullivan (2016). Uncovering Metaethical Assumptions in Bioethical Discourse Across Cultures. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 26 (1):47-78.
    Much of bioethical discourse now takes place across cultures. This does not mean that cross-cultural understanding has increased. Many cross-cultural bioethical discussions are marked by entrenched disagreement about whether and why local practices are justified. In this paper, I argue that a major reason for these entrenched disagreements is that problematic metaethical commitments are hidden in these cross-cultural discourses. Using the issue of informed consent in East Asia as an example of one such discourse, I analyze two representative positions in (...)
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  28. added 2016-05-04
    Johan E. Gustafsson (2016). Consequentialism with Wrongness Depending on the Difficulty of Doing Better. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):n/a-n/a.
    Moral wrongness comes in degrees. On a consequentialist view of ethics, the wrongness of an act should depend, I argue, in part on how much worse the act's consequences are compared with those of its alternatives and in part on how difficult it is to perform the alternatives with better consequences. I extend act consequentialism to take this into account, and I defend three conditions on consequentialist theories. The first is consequentialist dominance, which says that, if an act has better (...)
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  29. added 2016-05-02
    Michael D. Doan (2016). Responsibility for Collective Inaction and the Knowledge Condition. Social Epistemology 30.
    When confronted with especially complex ecological and social problems such as climate change, how are we to think about responsibility for collective inaction? Social and political philosophers have begun to consider the complexities of acting collectively with a view to creating more just and sustainable societies. Some have recently turned their attention to the question of whether more or less formally organized groups can ever be held morally responsible for not acting collectively, or else for not organizing themselves (...)
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  30. added 2016-04-30
    Nathan Stout (forthcoming). Reasons-Responsiveness and Moral Responsibility: The Case of Autism. Journal of Ethics:1-18.
    In this paper, I consider a novel challenge to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza’s reasons-responsiveness theory of moral responsibility. According to their view, agents possess the control necessary for moral responsibility if their actions proceed from a mechanism that is moderately reasons-responsive. I argue that their account of moderate reasons-responsiveness fails to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for moral responsibility since it cannot give an adequate account of the responsibility of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Empirical evidence suggests that (...)
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  31. added 2016-04-28
    Leslie Allan, A Defence of Emotivism.
    As a non-cognitivist analysis of moral language, Charles Stevenson's sophisticated emotivism is widely regarded by moral philosophers as a substantial improvement over its historical antecedent, radical emotivism. None the less, it has come in for its share of criticism. In this essay, Leslie Allan responds to the key philosophical objections to Stevenson's thesis, arguing that the criticisms levelled against his meta-ethical theory rest largely on a too hasty reading of his works.
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  32. added 2016-04-26
    Luca Ferrero, Inescapability Revisited.
    According to constitutivism, the objective authority of practical reason is to be grounded in the constitutive features of agency. In this paper, I offer a brief survey of the basic structure of constitutive argument about objectivity and consider how constitutivism might dispel the worry that it can only ground a *conditional* kind of authority. In response to Enoch's original shmagency challenge, in the past I argued that the inescapability of agency shows that we should not be worried by challenges that (...)
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  33. added 2016-04-25
    Jan Willem Wieland (forthcoming). Willful Ignorance. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-15.
    Michelle Moody-Adams suggests that “the main obstacle to moral progress in social practices is the tendency to widespread affected ignorance of what can and should already be known.” This explanation is promising, though to understand it we need to know what willful (affected, motivated, strategic) ignorance actually is. This paper presents a novel analysis of this concept, which builds upon Moody-Adams (1994) and is contrasted with a recent account by Lynch (2016).
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  34. added 2016-04-25
    Justin Morton (forthcoming). A New Evolutionary Debunking Argument Against Moral Realism. Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) claim that evolution has influenced our moral faculties in such a way that, if moral realism is true, then we have no positive moral knowledge. I present several popular objections to the standard version of this argument, then give a new EDA that has clear advantages in responding to these objections. Whereas the Standard EDA argues that evolution has selected for many moral beliefs with certain contents, this New EDA claims that evolution has selected for one (...)
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  35. added 2016-04-22
    Leonhard Menges (forthcoming). The Emotion Account of Blame. Philosophical Studies:1-17.
    For a long time the dominant view on the nature of blame was that to blame someone is to have an emotion toward her, such as anger, resentment or indignation in the case of blaming someone else and guilt in the case of self-blame. Even though this view is still widely held, it has recently come under heavy attack. The aim of this paper is to elaborate the idea that to blame is to have an emotion and to defend (...)
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  36. added 2016-04-21
    Isidora Stojanovic (forthcoming). Relativism. In David Plunkett & Tristram McPherson (eds.), The Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge
    Although relativism may be said to be one of the oldest doctrines in philosophy, dating back to the teachings of Protagoras in the 5th century B.C., when it comes to contemporary philosophy, there is no consensus on what makes a view qualify as "relativist". The problem is particularly accute in metaethics, since most of the views that up to a decade ago were described as “relativist” would be more accurately described as "contextualist" or even “expressivist” in light of the distinctions (...)
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  37. added 2016-04-15
    John Eriksson & Ragnar Francén Olinder (forthcoming). Non-Cognitivism and the Classification Account of Moral Uncertainty. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    ABSTRACTIt has been objected to moral non-cognitivism that it cannot account for fundamental moral uncertainty. A person is derivatively uncertain about whether an act is, say, morally wrong, when her certainty is at bottom due to uncertainty about whether the act has certain non-moral, descriptive, properties, which she takes to be wrong-making. She is fundamentally morally uncertain when her uncertainty directly concerns whether the properties of the act are wrong-making. In this paper we advance a new reply to the objection (...)
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  38. added 2016-04-13
    Eleonora Severini (forthcoming). Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Moral Niche. Philosophia:1-11.
    The so-called Evolutionary Debunking Arguments are arguments that appeal to the evolutionary genealogy of our beliefs to undermine their justification. When applied to morality, such arguments are intended to undermine moral realism. In this paper I will discuss Andreas Mogensen’s recent effort to secure moral realism against EDAs. Mogensen attempts to undermine the challenge provided by EDAs in metaethics through the distinction between proximate and ultimate causes in biology. The problem with this move is that the proximate/ultimate distinction (...)
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  39. added 2016-04-13
    Carla Bagnoli (forthcoming). Vulnerability and the Incompleteness of Practical Reason. In Christine Strahele (ed.), Vulnerability in Context. Routledge chapter 4.
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  40. added 2016-04-11
    Gunnar Björnsson (forthcoming). Outsourcing the Deep Self: Deep Self Discordance Does Not Explain Away Intuitions in Manipulation Arguments. Philosophical Psychology:1-17.
    According to manipulation arguments for incompatibilism, manipulation might undermine an agent’s responsibility even when the agent satisfies plausible compatibilist conditions on responsibility. According to Sripada, however, empirical data suggest that people take manipulation to undermine responsibility largely because they think that the manipulated act is in discord with the agent’s “deep self,” thus violating the plausible compatibilist condition of deep self concordance. This paper defends Sripada’s general methodological approach but presents data that strongly suggest that, contrary to Sripada’s contention, (...)
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  41. added 2016-04-11
    Subhasis Chattopadhyay (2016). Review of Giorgio Agamben's Pilate and Jesus. [REVIEW] Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India 121 (4):431-33.
    This review shows Agamben as (mis)reading Dante and misunderstanding the Jesus event.
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  42. added 2016-04-10
    Yishai Cohen (forthcoming). Fischer's Deterministic Frankfurt-Style Argument. Erkenntnis:1-20.
    According to the Dilemma Defense, it is question-begging against the incompatibilist defender of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) to assume that the agent in a deterministic Frankfurt-style case (FSC) cannot do otherwise in light of causal determinism, but is nevertheless morally responsible. As a result, Fischer (Philos Rev 119:315–336, 2010; Analysis 73:489–496, 2013) attempts to undermine PAP in a different manner via a deterministic FSC. More specifically, Fischer attempts to show that if causal determinism rules out an agent’s moral (...)
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  43. added 2016-04-10
    Edgar Dahl (2003). Das Recht des Stärkeren. Aufklärung Und Kritik 7:84-88.
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  44. added 2016-04-09
    Douglas W. Portmore, Uncertainty, Indeterminacy, and Agent-Centered Constraints.
    Commonsense morality includes various agent-centered constraints, including ones against killing unnecessarily, breaking a promise, and punishing the innocent. However, it’s not always clear whether, had an agent φ-ed, she would have violated a constraint. And sometimes the reason for this is not that we lack knowledge of the relevant facts, but that there is no fact about whether her φ-ing would have constituted a constraint-violation. What, then, is a constraint-accepting theory (i.e., a theory that accepts that there are such constraints) (...)
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  45. added 2016-04-09
    Douglas W. Portmore (forthcoming). Maximalism and Moral Harmony. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Maximalism is the view that an agent is permitted to perform a certain type of action (say, baking) if and only if she is permitted to perform some instance of this type (say, baking a pie), where φ-ing is an instance of ψ-ing if and only if φ-ing entails ψ-ing but not vice versa. Now, the aim of this paper is not to defend maximalism, but to defend a certain account of our options that when combined with maximalism results in (...)
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  46. added 2016-04-08
    Zachary J. Goldberg (2016). Evil, "Evil", and Taking Responsibility. In Birgit Recki (ed.), Wozu ist das Böse gut? Mentis
    This essay will address the question for what good or purpose is evil. First, an examination of the use-mention distinction between evil and “evil” produces two distinct questions: what good is the presence of evil in the world, and what good is the concept of evil as part of our ethical vocabulary describing human interaction. By severing all logically necessary connections between evil and greater goods, we discover that the answer to the first question—what good is evil in the world—is (...)
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  47. added 2016-04-07
    Errol Lord (forthcoming). On the Intellectual Conditions for Responsibility: Acting for the Right Reasons, Conceptualization, and Credit. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    In this paper I'm interested in the prospects for the Right Reasons theory of creditworthiness. The Right Reasons theory says that what it is for an agent to be creditworthy for X-ing is for that agent to X for the right reasons. The paper has a negative goal and a positive goal. The negative goal is to show that a class of Right Reasons theories are doomed. These theories all have a Conceptualization Condition on acting for the right reasons. Conceptualization (...)
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  48. added 2016-04-07
    Marcus Arvan (2016). Rightness as Fairness: A Moral and Political Theory. Palgrave MacMillan.
    This book argues that moral philosophy should be based on seven scientific principles of theory selection. It then argues that a new moral theory—Rightness as Fairness—satisfies those principles more successfully than existing theories. Chapter 1 explicates the seven principles of theory-selection, arguing that moral philosophy must conform them to be truth-apt. Chapter 2 argues those principles jointly support founding moral philosophy in known facts of empirical moral psychology: specifically, our capacities for mental time-travel and modal imagination. Chapter 2 then (...)
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  49. added 2016-04-03
    H. Clark Barrett, Alexander Bolyanatz, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Daniel M. T. Fessler, Simon Fitzpatrick, Michael Gurven, Joseph Henrich, Martin Kanovsky, Geoff Kushnick, Anne Pisor, Brooke A. Scelza, Stephen Stich, Chris von Rueden, Wanying Zhao & Stephen Laurence (forthcoming). Small-Scale Societies Exhibit Fundamental Variation in the Role of Intentions in Moral Judgment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    Intent and mitigating circumstances play a central role in moral and legal assessments in large-scale industrialized societies. Al- though these features of moral assessment are widely assumed to be universal, to date, they have only been studied in a narrow range of societies. We show that there is substantial cross-cultural variation among eight traditional small-scale societies (ranging from hunter-gatherer to pastoralist to horticulturalist) and two Western societies (one urban, one rural) in the extent to which intent and mitigating circumstances influence (...)
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  50. added 2016-04-01
    Eric Vogelstein (forthcoming). A New Moral Sentimentalism. Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-23.
    This paper argues for a novel sentimentalist realist metaethical theory, according to which moral wrongness is analyzed in terms of the sentiments one has most reason to have. As opposed to standard sentimentalist views, the theory does not employ sentiments that are had in response to morally wrong action, but rather sentiments that antecedently dispose people to refrain from immoral behavior, specifically the sentiments of compassion and respect.
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