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Meta-Ethics

Edited by Daniel Star (Boston University)
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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. added 2015-05-15
    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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. added 2015-05-13
    Knut Olav Skarsaune (forthcoming). Book Review: David Enoch, Taking Morality Seriously. [REVIEW] Utilitas.
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  16. 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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  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. added 2015-05-08
    Thomas Pölzler (forthcoming). Climate Change Inaction and Moral Nihilism. Ethics, Policy and Environment.
    The effects of anthropogenic climate change may be devastating. Nevertheless, most people do not seem to be seriously concerned. We consume as much as we always did, drive as much as we always did, eat as much meat as we always did. What can we do to overcome this collective apathy? In order to be able to develop effective measures, we must first get clear about the causes of climate change inaction. In this paper I ask whether moral nihilism (the (...)
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  20. added 2015-05-07
    Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.) (forthcoming). Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics. Oxford University Press.
    Contents: 1.'Introduction: Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics' Neil Sinclair & Uri D. Leibowitz. Part I: Evolutionary Debunking Arguments 2.'Genealogy and Reliability' Justin Clarke-Doane. 3.'Explaining the Reliability of Moral Beliefs' Folke Tersman. 4.'Genealogical Explanations of Chance and Morals' Toby Handfield. 5.'Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Religion and Morality' Erik J. Wielenberg. 6.‘An Assumption of Extreme Significance’: Moore, Ross and Spencer on Ethics and Evolution' Hallvard Lillehammer. 7.'Reply: Confessions of a Modest Debunker' Richard Joyce. Part II: Indispensability Arguments. 8.'Moral Explanation for Moral Anti-Realism' (...)
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  21. added 2015-05-07
    Christian Miller (forthcoming). Does the CAPS Model Improve Our Understanding of Personality and Character? In Jonathan Webber & Alberto Masala (eds.), From Personality to Virtue. Oxford University Press.
    The goal of this chapter is to offer the first detailed critical assessments of the CAPS model from a philosophical perspective. I will argue for the following claim: using technical language, the CAPS model re-describes and finds supporting evidence for basic platitudes of commonsense folk psychology.
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  22. added 2015-05-04
    Gideon Yaffe (2014). Hart's Choices. In C. G. Pulman (ed.), Hart on Responsibility.
  23. added 2015-05-04
    Erasmus Mayr (2014). Hart, Punishment and Excusing Conditions. In C. G. Pulman (ed.), Hart on Responsibility.
  24. added 2015-05-04
    Larry Alexander (2014). Hart and Punishment for Negligence. In C. G. Pulman (ed.), Hart on Responsibility.
  25. added 2015-05-04
    Neil Levy (2007). Neuroethics: Challenges for the 21st Century. Cambridge University Press.
    Neuroscience has dramatically increased understanding of how mental states and processes are realized by the brain, thus opening doors for treating the multitude of ways in which minds become dysfunctional. This book explores questions such as when is it permissible to alter a person's memories, influence personality traits or read minds? What can neuroscience tell us about free will, self-control, self-deception and the foundations of morality? The view of neuroethics offered here argues that many of our new powers to read (...)
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  26. added 2015-05-03
    Claudio Gnoli (forthcoming). The Value Added of Organized Information: From Floridi to Bennett. In Dextre Clarke Stella (ed.), Knowledge organization: making a difference: proceedings ISKO biennial conference, London, July 2015.
    Recently, Floridi has proposed that ethics be centered on the notion of information, which would represent a value in itself. As anything contains information in some form, this stance would imply that anything has intrinsic value. While this perspective is intriguing as it would make information science an even more important domain, it needs to be refined by distinguishing between different levels of organized information. Instances of matter, of life, of minds, of civil society, and of cultural heritage all are (...)
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  27. added 2015-04-27
    Kevin Reuter, Lara Kirfel, Raphael van Riel & Luca Barlassina (2014). The Good, the Bad, and the Timely: How Temporal Order and Moral Judgment Influence Causal Selection. Frontiers in Psychology 5:1-10.
    Causal selection is the cognitive process through which one or more elements in a complex causal structure are singled out as actual causes of a certain effect. In this paper, we report on an experiment in which we investigated the role of moral and temporal factors in causal selection. Our results are as follows. First, when presented with a temporal chain in which two human agents perform the same action one after the other, subjects tend to judge the later agent (...)
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  28. added 2015-04-25
    Nicholas Laskowski (2015). Non-Analytical Naturalism and the Nature of Normative Thought: A Reply to Parfit. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy:1-5.
    Metaethical non-analytical naturalism consists in the metaphysical thesis that normative properties are identical with or reducible to natural properties and the epistemological thesis that we cannot come to a complete understanding of the nature of normative properties via conceptual analysis alone. In On What Matters, Derek Parfit (2011) argues that non-analytical naturalism is either false or incoherent. In § 1, I show that his argument for this claim is unsuccessful, by showing that it rests on a tacit assumption about the (...)
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  29. added 2015-04-25
    Karin Boxer (2014). Hart's Senses of 'Responsibility'. In C. G. Pulman (ed.), Hart on Responsibility.
  30. added 2015-04-25
    Douglas Husak (2014). A Framework for Punishment: What is the Insight of Hart's 'Prolegomenon'? In C. G. Pulman (ed.), Hart on Responsibility.
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  31. added 2015-04-24
    Vuko Andric & Attila Tanyi (forthcoming). Multi-Dimensional Consequentialism and Degrees of Rightness. Philosophical Studies.
    In his recent book, The Dimensions of Consequentialism, Martin Peterson puts forward a new version of consequentialism that he dubs ‘multi-dimensional consequentialism’. The defining thesis of the new theory is that there are irreducible moral aspects that jointly determine the deontic status of an act. In defending his particular version of multi-dimensional consequentialism, Peterson advocates the thesis – he calls it DEGREE – that if two or more moral aspects clash, the act under consideration is right to some non-extreme degree. (...)
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  32. added 2015-04-23
    Stephen Yablo (2002). Red, Bitter, Best. [REVIEW] Philosophical Books 41 (1):13–23.
    Book reviewed in this article: -/- Jackson, F., From Metaphysics to Ethics .
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  33. added 2015-04-22
    Daan Evers, Is There Enough Evidence for Moral Error Theory?
    Jonas Olson defends a moral error theory in (2014). I will first argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral nonnaturalism in his own opinion. I will then argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral contextualism either (although the latter is not a matter of his own opinion). Stephen Finlay (2008) also provides an argument for the latter conclusion, but I will argue that it fails.
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  34. added 2015-04-20
    Nikil Mukerji & Julian Nida-Rümelin (forthcoming). Economic Rationality and the Optimization Trap. St. Gallen Business Review 2015 (1).
    The theme of this issue of the St. Gallen Business Review is "Harmony". For this reason, we would like to discuss whether two aspects of our life- world are in harmony, namely economic optimization and morality. What is the relation between them? According to a widely shared view, which is one aspect of the doctrine of "mainstream economics", the functioning of an economic system does not require moral behaviour on the part of the individual economic agent. In what follows, we (...)
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  35. added 2015-04-17
    Danny Frederick (2015). Book Review: Robert Audi, 'Moral Perception'. [REVIEW] Reason Papers 37 (1):164-69.
    I summarise Robert Audi's 'Moral Perception.' I concede that there is such a thing as moral perception. However, moral perceptions are culturally-relative, which refutes Audi’s claims that moral perception may ground moral knowledge and that it provides inter-subjectively accessible grounds which make ethical objectivity possible. Audi's attempt to avoid the refutation tends to convert rational disputes into ad hominem ones. I illustrate that with the example of the ethics of prostitution.
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  36. added 2015-04-17
    Wellington Amâncio Da Silva & Feliciano José Borralho de Mira (2015). Zizek e a violência da linguagem-O caso Charlie Hebdo como adormecimento do espaço simbólico dos sujeitos [Doi: 10.15440/arf. 2014.22995]. Aufklärung: Revista de Filosofia 2 (1):p--105.
    Neste paper analisamos o conceito de violência subjetiva e violência objetiva (violência “simbólica” da linguagem) a parti de Žižek (2014), tendo com contexto o caso Chalie Hebdo aqui brevemente investigado a partir de suas charges como instrumento de racionalidade dos instintos. Tal foi desenvolvida por meio dos conceitos de violência aqui apresentados. Como paradigma dessa racionalidade, buscamos inferir o animal político de Aristóteles (1998) em vista da sua similaridade nas representações do homem em Hobbes (2003), a partir dos acontecimentos acima (...)
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  37. added 2015-04-14
    Bart Streumer, Why Jonas Olson Cannot Believe the Error Theory Either.
    According to Jonas Olson, "a plausible moral error theory must be an error theory about all irreducible normativity". I agree. But unlike Olson, I think that we cannot believe this error theory. I first argue that Olson is wrong to think that reasons for belief need not be irreducibly normative. I then argue that if reasons for belief are irreducibly normative, we cannot believe an error theory about all irreducible normativity. I then show that if we cannot believe this error (...)
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  38. added 2015-04-12
    Vuko Andric & Attila Tanyi (forthcoming). Multidimensional Consequentialism and Risk. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.
    . In his new book, The Dimensions of Consequentialism, Martin Peterson proposes a version of multi-dimensional consequentialism according to which risk is one among several dimensions. We argue that Peterson’s treatment of risk is unsatisfactory. More precisely, we want to show that all problems of one-dimensional (objective or subjective) consequentialism are also problems for Peterson’s proposal, although it may fall prey to them less often. In ending our paper, we address the objection that our discussion overlooks the fact that Peterson’s (...)
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  39. added 2015-04-10
    John M. Doris (forthcoming). Doing Without (Arguing About) Desert. Philosophical Studies:1-10.
    This paper is a critical discussion of Manuel Vargas’ Building Better Beings, focusing on the treatment of desert therein. By means of an analogy between morality and sport, I examine some seemingly peculiar implications of Vargas’ teleological and revisionary account of desert. I also consider some general questions of philosophical methodology provoked by revisionary approaches.
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  40. added 2015-04-10
    Howard Nye (forthcoming). Directly Plausible Principles. In Christopher Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Palgrave MacMillan. 610-636.
    In this chapter I defend a methodological view about how we should conduct substantive ethical inquiries in the fields of normative and practical ethics. I maintain that the direct plausibility and implausibility of general ethical principles – once fully clarified and understood – should be foundational in our substantive ethical reasoning. I argue that, in order to expose our ethical intuitions about particular cases to maximal critical scrutiny, we must determine whether they can be justified by directly plausible principles. To (...)
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  41. added 2015-04-09
    Matt King & Joshua May (forthcoming). Moral Responsibility and Mental Illness. In N. Levy, M. Griffiths & K. Timpe (eds.), Routledge Companion to Free Will. Routledge.
    In this chapter, we explore how mental illness affects the aptness for attributing responsibility to individuals as well as the justification for holding them responsible for their acts. We begin in Section 2 by tackling some preliminaries, both to refine our guiding question and the parameters relevant to that inquiry. In Section 3, we consider when mental illness surely excuses. In Section 4, we consider conditions that don’t excuse agents from responsibility. Section 5 looks at how the answer to the (...)
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  42. added 2015-04-08
    J. Neil Otte (2015). Experimental Philosophy, Robert Kane, and the Concept of Free Will. Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1):281-296.
    Trends in experimental philosophy have provided new and compelling results that are cause for re-evaluations in contemporary discussions of free will. In this paper, I argue for one such re-evaluation by criticizing Robert Kane’s well-known views on free will. I argue that Kane’s claims about pre-theoretical intuitions are not supported by empirical findings on two accounts. First, it is unclear that either incompatibilism or compatibalism is more intuitive to nonphilosophers, as different ways of asking about free will and responsibility reveal (...)
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  43. added 2015-04-06
    T. Boyer, C. Mayo-Wilson & M. Weisberg (eds.) (forthcoming). Scientific Collaboration and Collective Knowledge.
  44. added 2015-04-06
    Annelies Monseré, Incommensurable Aims in the Philosophy of Art.
    This article argues that philosophers of art wrongly aim for their definitions of art to be both descriptively and normatively adequate, for the method that is used to achieve both aims, namely the method of reflective equilibrium, is not applicable to the project of defining art. Therefore, in order to facilitate genuine debate regarding definitions of art, philosophers must abandon the method of reflective equilibrium and determine which approach, be it descriptive or normative, deems more appropriate.
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  45. added 2015-04-06
    Andrew T. Forcehimes, Putting Reasons First: A Defense of Normative Non-Naturalism.
    Against non-analytic naturalism and quietist realism, I defend a robust form of non-naturalism. The argument proceeds as follows: In the face of extensional underdetermination, quietist realism cannot non-question-beggingly respond to alternative accounts that offer formally identical but substantively different interpretations of what reasons are. They face what we might call the reasons appropriation problem. In light of this problem, quietists ought to abandon their view in favor of robust realism. By permitting substantive metaphysical claims we can then argue, based on (...)
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  46. added 2015-04-06
    Z. J. Goldberg (2015). Group Agency: The Possibility, Design, and Status of Corporate Agents. Philosophical Quarterly 65 (259):280-282.
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  47. added 2015-04-06
    Nathaniel Jezzi, Constructivism in Metaethics.
    Recent defenders of metaethical constructivism (like Christine Korsgaard, Sharon Street, Aaron James, and Carla Bagnoli) argue that this view can be shown to represent a new, free-standing alternative to familiar approaches in metaethics. If they are correct, traditional discussions in metaethics have overlooked an important position, one that is supposed to adequately explain the nature of our ethical thinking and practice while avoiding the kinds of objections that traditional views struggle with. However, what form constructivism should take and whether constructivists (...)
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  48. added 2015-04-06
    Edmund Wall (2015). Natural Morality, Descriptivism, and Non-Cognitivism. Philosophia 43 (1):233-248.
    I attempt to identify a problem running through the foundation of R. M. Hare’s ethical prescriptivism and the more recent sentimentalism/ethical expressivism of Simon Blackburn. The non-cognitivism to which Hare and Blackburn’s approaches are committed renders them unable to establish stable contents for basic moral principles and, thus, incapable of conducting a logical analysis of moral terms or statements. I argue that objective-descriptive-natural ethical theories are in a much better position to provide a satisfying account of the logical analysis of (...)
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  49. added 2015-04-06
    Timothy Grainger, Failings of Strong Moral Particularism.
    In this paper I will be investigating the possibilities involved with and the consequences of accepting a particularist approach to ethics. Such particularist approaches that reject the use of principles in moral decision making are becoming more popular in contemporary ethical debates underlining modern care ethics, feminist relational ethics, contextualism, and Maclntyre's virtue ethics among others. I will argue that extreme particularism that utterly rejects principles as defended by Jonathan Dancy is an untenable position that does not capture how humans (...)
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  50. added 2015-04-06
    Simon Blackburn (2015). Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Philosophical Studies 172 (4):843-853.
    In this paper I explore the points of similarity and difference that distinguish expressivists such as myself from the position known as Cornell realism. I argue that there are considerable overlaps of doctrine, although these doctrines are arrived at in very different ways. I urge that Cornell realism can only benefit by taking on some of the commitments of expressivism.
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