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Meta-Ethics

Edited by Daniel Star (Boston University)
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  1. added 2016-07-27
    Michael R. Kelly (2013). A Reading of Two Sources of Morality and Religion, or Bergsonian Wisdom, Emotion, and Integrity. In P. Adroin, S. Gontarski & L. Pattison (eds.), Understanding Bergson, Understanding Modernism. Bloomsbury
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  2. added 2016-07-26
    Erick Ramirez (forthcoming). Neurosurgery for Psychopaths? The Problems of Empathy and Neurodiversity. American Journal of Bioethics: Ajob.
    I argue that deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a bad approach for incarcerated psychopaths for two reasons. First, given what we know about psychopathy, empathy, and DBS, it is unlikely to function as an effective treatment for the moral problems that characterize psychopathy. Second, considerations of neurodiversity speak against seeing psychopathy as a mental illness in the first place.
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  3. added 2016-07-26
    Jihan Lyou (2015). Biologicization of Ethics: Beyond Naturalistic Fallacy and Counter-Naturalistic Fallacy. Journal of Ethics 1 (103):1-30.
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  4. added 2016-07-26
    Michael Augros & Christopher Oleson (2013). St. Thomas and the Naturalistic Fallacy. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 13 (4):637-661.
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  5. added 2016-07-26
    Kurt Holukoff, Igniting the Deontic Consequence Relation: Dilemmas, Trumping, and the Naturalistic Fallacy.
    In this work, Kurt Holukoff examines three formal approaches to representing valid inferences in reasoning regarding obligation and its cognates: deontic logic. He argues that an appropriate formalization of deontic logic should take genuine moral dilemmas seriously, be capable of representing trumping-like reasoning, and not make the naturalistic fallacy valid as a matter of logic. The three systems he investigates are, the Standard Deontic logic, a Relevant Deontic logic, and Schotch and Jennings’ multiple moral accessibility relations Deontic logic. The Standard (...)
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  6. added 2016-07-24
    Joshua Schechter (forthcoming). Explanatory Challenges in Metaethics. In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge
    There are several important arguments in metaethics that rely on explanatory considerations. Gilbert Harman has presented a challenge to the existence of moral facts that depends on the claim that the best explanation of our moral beliefs does not involve moral facts. The Reliability Challenge against moral realism depends on the claim that moral realism is incompatible with there being a satisfying explanation of our reliability about moral truths. The purpose of this chapter is to examine these and related arguments. (...)
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  7. added 2016-07-21
    E. Taku (2016). AN INTIMATE INSIGHT ON PSYCHOPATHY AND A NOVEL HERMENEUTIC PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE. SSRN Electronic Journal 9 (7):entire issue.
    This paper is rather a profound hermeneutic enunciation putting into question our present understanding of psychopathy. It further articulates, in complement, a novel theoretical and methodological conceptualisation for a hermeneutic psychological science. Methodology-wise, it puts into question a traditional more or less categorical and mechanical approach to the social and behavioural sciences as it strives to introduce a creative and insightful approach for the articulation of ideas. It rather seeks to construe the scientific method as being more about falsifiability and (...)
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  8. added 2016-07-20
    Gunnar Björnsson (forthcoming). The Significance of Ethical Disagreement for Theories of Ethical Thought and Talk. In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge
    This chapter has two sections, each focusing on a distinct way in which ethical disagreement and variations in ethical judgment matter for theories of ethical thought and talk. In the first section, we look at how the variation poses problems for both cognitivist and non-cognitivist ways of specifying the nature of ethical judgments. In the second, we look at how disagreement phenomena have been taken to undermine cognitivist accounts, but also at how the seeming variation in cognitive and non-cognitive contents (...)
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  9. added 2016-07-20
    Nate Jackson (2016). Moral Particularism and the Role of Imaginary Cases: A Pragmatist Approach. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 8 (1):237-259.
    I argue that John Dewey’s analysis of imagination enables an account of learning from imaginary cases consistent with Jonathan Dancy’s moral particularism. Moreover, this account provides a more robust account of learning from cases than Dancy’s own. Particularism is the position that there are no, or at most few, true moral principles, and that competent reasoning and judgment do not require them. On a particularist framework, one cannot infer from an imaginary case that because a feature has a particular moral (...)
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  10. added 2016-07-19
    Danielle Bromwich (2013). Motivational Internalism and the Challenge of Amoralism. European Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):n/a-n/a.
    Motivational internalism is the thesis that captures the commonplace thought that moral judgements are necessarily motivationally efficacious. But this thesis appears to be in tension with another aspect of our ordinary moral experience. Proponents of the contrast thesis, motivational externalism, cite everyday examples of amoralism to demonstrate that it is conceptually possible to be completely unmoved by what seem to be sincere first-person moral judgements. This paper argues that the challenge of amoralism gives us no reason to reject or modify (...)
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  11. added 2016-07-19
    David Copp (1995). Moral Obligation and Moral Motivation. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (sup1):187-219.
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  12. added 2016-07-19
    W. D. Falk (1948). VIII.—“Ought” and Motivation. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 48 (1):111-138.
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  13. added 2016-07-18
    James E. Bruce (2013). Rights in the Law: The Importance of God's Free Choices in the Thought of Francis Turretin. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
  14. added 2016-07-14
    Jason R. Fisette (forthcoming). Hume on the Stoic Rational Passions and "Original Existences.". Journal of the History of Philosophy.
    I argue that Hume’s characterization of the passions as “original existences” is shaped by his preoccupation with Stoicism, and is not (as most commentators suppose) a ridiculous or trifling remark. My argument has three parts. First, I show that Hume’s description of the passions as “original existences” is properly understood as part of his argument against the possibility of passions caused by reason alone (rational passions). Second, I establish that Hume was responding to the Stoics, who claimed that a rational (...)
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  15. added 2016-07-14
    Nate Jackson (2016). John Dewey and the Possibility of Particularist Moral Education. Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1):215-224.
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  16. added 2016-07-14
    John-Michael Kuczynski (2016). Emotivism. JOHN-MICHAEL KUCZYNSKI.
    Emotivism is the doctrine that ethical beliefs are nothing more than projections of emotion. In this concise study, it is shown that emotions themselves embody ethical beliefs and that, for that reason, emotivism implicitly presupposes the truth of a non-emotivism conception of ethical truth and therefore fails.
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  17. added 2016-07-13
    Jussi Suikkanen (forthcoming). Non-Realist Cognitivism, Truth and Objectivity. Acta Analytica:1-20.
    In On What Matters, Derek Parfit defends a new metaethical theory, which he calls non-realist cognitivism. It claims that normative judgments are beliefs; that some normative beliefs are true; that the normative concepts that are a part of the propositions that are the contents of normative beliefs are irreducible, unanalysable and of their own unique kind; and that neither the natural features of the reality nor any additional normative features of the reality make the relevant normative beliefs true. The aim (...)
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  18. added 2016-07-12
    Lorenzo Greco (forthcoming). A Powerless Conscience: Hume on Reflection and Acting Conscientiously. British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
    If one looks for the notion of conscience in Hume, there appears to be a contrast between the standard, loose use of it that can be found in his The History of England, and the stricter use of it Hume makes in his philosophical works such as A Treatise of Human Nature and An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals. It is my belief that, notwithstanding the alleged problems Hume’s philosophy raises for a notion such as conscience, it is nonetheless (...)
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  19. added 2016-07-11
    Christian Piller (2015). What Is Goodness Good For? In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics Vol 4. 179-209.
  20. added 2016-07-11
    Christian Piller (2003). The New Realism in Ethics. In Thomas Baldwin (ed.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870-1945. 377-388.
  21. added 2016-07-09
    Robert Cowan (2016). C.D. Broad on Moral Sense Theories in Ethics. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Virtual Issue: Methods of Ethics (3):168-183.
    C.D. Broad’s Reflections stands out as one of the few serious examinations of Moral Sense Theory in twentieth century analytic philosophy. It also constitutes an excellent discussion of the interconnections that allegedly exist between questions concerning what Broad calls the ‘logical analysis’ of moral judgments and questions about their epistemology. In this paper I make three points concerning the interconnectedness of the analytical and epistemological elements of versions of Moral Sense Theory. First, I make a general point about Broad’s association (...)
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  22. added 2016-07-07
    Christine Clavien & Chloë FitzGerald (forthcoming). The Evolution of Moral Intuitions and Their Feeling of Rightness. In Joyce R. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy.
    Despite the widespread use of the notion of moral intuition, its psychological features remain a matter of debate and it is unclear why the capacity to experience moral intuitions evolved in humans. We first survey standard accounts of moral intuition, pointing out their interesting and problematic aspects. Drawing lessons from this analysis, we propose a novel account of moral intuitions which captures their phenomenological, mechanistic, and evolutionary features. Moral intuitions are composed of two elements: an evaluative mental state and a (...)
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  23. added 2016-07-06
    Jan Willem Wieland (forthcoming). Responsibility for Strategic Ignorance. Synthese:1-21.
    Strategic ignorance is a widespread phenomenon. In a laboratory setting, many participants avoid learning information about the consequences of their behaviour in order to act egoistically. In real life, many consumers avoid information about their purchases or the working conditions in which they were produced in order to retain their lifestyle. The question is whether agents are blameworthy for such strategically ignorant behaviour. In this paper, I explore quality of will resources, according to which agents are blameworthy, roughly, depending on (...)
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  24. added 2016-07-02
    Tomasz Żuradzki (2016). Meta-Reasoning in Making Moral Decisions Under Normative Uncertainty. In Dima Mohammed & Marcin Lewiński (eds.), Argumentation and Reasoned Action. College Publications 1093-1104.
    I analyze recent discussions about making moral decisions under normative uncertainty. I discuss whether this kind of uncertainty should have practical consequences for decisions and whether there are reliable methods of reasoning that deal with the possibility that we are wrong about some moral issues. I defend a limited use of the decision theory model of reasoning in cases of normative uncertainty.
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  25. added 2016-07-01
    Yusuke Kaneko (2016). Logic of My Mind (Kokoro no ronri). Koyo Publishing Company.
    Although written in Japanese, this book becomes a landmark of my works so far: that on Zangwill (Kaneko, 2011), that on Utilitarianism (2013), and so on. The novelty shown in it is a formalization of traditional philosophy including Kant (its practical philosophy), Utilitarianism (Hume, Bentham, and Mill), and furthermore, Descartes. I try to locate these traditional thoughts within modern forms which I make in the name of "practical syllogism." This attempt would open up a new approach to ethical motivation.
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  26. added 2016-06-30
    Gustav Alexandrie (2015). Recension av Ann Heberlein, Etik: människa, moral, mening. [REVIEW] Filosofisk Tidskrift 36 (1):43-48.
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  27. added 2016-06-28
    Syed Danish Ali, Philosophical & Sociological Inquires in Material Aspects of the Human Life Namely Risk, Finance and Insurance.
    Given how much importance there is of economics and finance in our lives as humans (materialist side is foremost as per Marx), it should be given more importance by Philosophy and Sociology. This brief report is meant to highlight few research paradigms available in Philosophy and Sociology to give its proper social context and provide deep underlying of Risk, Insurance and Finance.
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  28. added 2016-06-25
    Richard Yetter Chappell, Moral Symmetry and Two Dimensional Semantics.
    This paper explores how insights from two-dimensional semantics can be brought to bear on debates surrounding (realist) metaethical naturalism. It defends two central claims. (1) A plausible principle of 2-D symmetry for normative terms provides us with reason to reject standard forms of synthetic metaethical naturalism. (2) Moore's Open Question Argument can be powerfully revived within the framework of 2-D semantics. I approach these issues by diagnosing how Attitudinal Semanticists' use of 2-D semantics--to account for moral objectivity--goes wrong. I argue (...)
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  29. added 2016-06-25
    Juliano Santos do Carmo, Flávia Carvalho, Clademir Araldi, Carlos Miraglia, Alberto Semeler, Adriano Naves de Brito, Sofia Stein, Marco Azevedo & Nythamar de Oliveira (2013). Naturalism: Contemporary Perspectives. NEPFIL Online | Dissertatio's Series of Philosophy.
    The basic assumption present in these articles is that naturalism is highly compatible with a wide range of relevant philosophical questions and that, regardless of the classical problems faced by the naturalist, the price paid in endorsing naturalism is lower than that paid by essentialist or supernaturalist theories. Yet, the reader will find a variety of approaches, from naturalism in Moral Philosophy and Epistemology to naturalism in the Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind and of the Aesthetics.
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  30. added 2016-06-24
    Parker Crutchfield (2016). The Epistemology of Moral Bioenhancement. Bioethics 30 (6):389-396.
    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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  31. added 2016-06-22
    Cameron Boult (forthcoming). Epistemic Conditions on "Ought": E=K as a Case Study. Acta Analytica:1-22.
    In The Norm of Belief, John Gibbons claims that there is a “natural reaction” to the general idea that one can be normatively required to Ø when that requirement is in some sense outside of one’s first person perspective or inaccessible to one. The reaction amounts to the claim that this isn’t possible. Whether this is a natural or intuitive idea or not, it is difficult to articulate exactly why we might think it is correct. To do so, we need (...)
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  32. added 2016-06-21
    Leslie Allan, Is Morality Subjective?
    Subjectivists claim that the absence of a theological or metaphysical grounding to moral judgements renders them all as simply statements about our subjective wants and preferences. Leslie Allan argues that the subjectivists' case rests on a misunderstanding of the nature of moral objectivity. He presents the view that subjectivists mistakenly counterpoise the ideal of moral objectivity with the expression of individual preferences. Being objective in moral deliberation, Allan argues, should be regarded instead as the antithesis of parochial and biased reasoning. (...)
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  33. added 2016-06-21
    Leslie Allan, Is Morality Subjective? – A Reply to Critics.
    Leslie Allan defends his thesis that ethics is objective in the sense of requiring moral agents to offer impartial reasons for acting. Radical subjectivists have attacked this requirement for impartiality on a number of grounds. Some critics make the charge that Allan's thesis is simply a version of subjectivism in disguise. He responds by showing how a broadly naturalist view of ethics accommodates objective moral constraints. Allan also counters cases in which impartiality is purportedly not morally required and considers the (...)
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  34. added 2016-06-21
    Gunnar Björnsson, Contextualism in Ethics. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
    In more than one way, context matters in ethics. Most clearly, the moral status of an action might depend on context: though it is typically wrong not to keep a promise, some contexts make it permissible. More radically, proponents of moral particularism (see PARTICULARISM) have argued that a reason for an action in one context is not guaranteed to be even a defeasible reason in every context: whether it counts against an act that it breaks a promise or inflicts pain (...)
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  35. added 2016-06-21
    Daniel Star (forthcoming). Précis of Knowing Better. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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  36. added 2016-06-21
    Daniel Star (forthcoming). Replies to Cuneo, Driver, and Littlejohn. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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  37. added 2016-06-20
    Alejandro Farieta (2015). Aproximaciones éticas al problema del free rider: consecuencialismo, deontología y ética de la virtud. Discusiones Filosóficas 16 (27):147-161.
    In contemporary ethics, the free rider problem occurs when in a group of people who work for a common aim, someone takes advantage of the collective work and makes a comparatively lower effort than the rest of the group, receiving the same benefits. The problem consists in avoiding this behavior that, intuitively, is considered undesirable. This essay presents an analysis of the problem from three different perspectives in moral education: consequentialism, deontologic proceduralism and virtue ethics. I show the weaknesses of (...)
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  38. added 2016-06-19
    Ray Scott Percival (1998). Thoughts About Russell's Thoughts. [REVIEW] Times Higher Education.
    This collection of essays by acclaimed philosophers explores Bertrand Russell's influence on one of the dominant philosophical approaches of this century. Michael Dummett argues that analytical philosophy began with Gottlob Frege's analysis of numbers. Frege had begun by inquiring about the nature of number, but found it more fruitful to ask instead about the meanings of sentences containing number words. Russell was to exploit this method systematically. I reflect on the essays of Charles R. Pigden, David Lewis as an exponent (...)
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  39. added 2016-06-16
    Robert Kane (forthcoming). Moral Responsibility, Reactive Attitudes and Freedom of Will. Journal of Ethics:1-18.
    In his influential paper, “Freedom and Resentment,” P. F. Strawson argued that our ordinary practices of holding persons morally responsible and related reactive attitudes were wholly “internal” to the practices themselves and could be insulated from traditional philosophical and metaphysical concerns, including concerns about free will and determinism. This “insulation thesis” is a controversial feature of Strawson’s influential paper; and it has had numerous critics. The first purpose of this paper is to explain my own reasons for thinking that our (...)
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  40. added 2016-06-16
    Terence Cuneo & Christos Kyriacou (forthcoming). Defending the Moral/Epistemic Parity. In C. McHugh J. Way & D. Whiting (eds.), Metaepistemology.
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  41. added 2016-06-14
    Caroline T. Arruda (2016). What Kind of Theory is the Humean Theory of Motivation? Ratio 29 (2).
    I consider an underappreciated problem for proponents of the Humean theory of motivation. Namely, it is unclear whether is it to be understood as a largely psychological or largely metaphysical theory. I show that the psychological interpretation of HTM will need to be modified in order to be a tenable view and, as it will turn out, the modifications required render it virtually philosophically empty. I then argue that the largely metaphysical interpretation is the only a plausible interpretation of HTM's (...)
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  42. added 2016-06-13
    Joshua Shepherd & Neil Levy (forthcoming). Consciousness and Morality. In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford University Press
    It is well known that the nature of consciousness is elusive, and that attempts to understand it generate problems in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, psychology, and neuroscience. Less appreciated are the important – even if still elusive – connections between consciousness and issues in ethics. In this chapter we consider three such connections. First, we consider the relevance of consciousness for questions surrounding an entity’s moral status. Second, we consider the relevance of consciousness for questions surrounding moral responsibility for action. (...)
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  43. added 2016-06-13
    Daniel Fogal (forthcoming). Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, by Stephen Finlay. [REVIEW] Ethics.
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  44. added 2016-06-11
    Colin McLear (2016). Review of Robert Brandom, From Empiricism to Expressivism. [REVIEW] Ethics 126 (3):808–816.
  45. added 2016-06-10
    Matthew Fisher, Joshua Knobe, Brent Strickland & Frank C. Keil (2016). The Influence of Social Interaction on Intuitions of Objectivity and Subjectivity. Cognitive Science 40 (5):n/a-n/a.
    We present experimental evidence that people's modes of social interaction influence their construal of truth. Participants who engaged in cooperative interactions were less inclined to agree that there was an objective truth about that topic than were those who engaged in a competitive interaction. Follow-up experiments ruled out alternative explanations and indicated that the changes in objectivity are explained by argumentative mindsets: When people are in cooperative arguments, they see the truth as more subjective. These findings can help inform research (...)
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  46. added 2016-06-08
    Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (2016). Reasons and Guidance. Analytic Philosophy 57 (2):n/a-n/a.
    Many philosophers accept a response constraint on normative reasons: that p is a reason for you to φ only if you are able to φ for the reason that p. This constraint offers a natural way to cash out the familiar and intuitive thought that reasons must be able to guide us, and has been put to work as a premise in a range of influential arguments in ethics and epistemology. However, the constraint requires interpretation and faces putative counter-examples due (...)
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  47. added 2016-06-06
    Caroline T. Arruda (forthcoming). The Varieties of Moral Improvement, Or Why Metaethical Constructivism Must Explain Moral Progress. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-22.
    Among the available metaethical views, it would seem that moral realism—in particular moral naturalism—must explain the possibility of moral progress. We see this in the oft-used argument from disagreement against various moral realist views. My suggestion in this paper is that, surprisingly, metaethical constructivism has at least as pressing a need to explain moral progress. I take moral progress to be, minimally, the opportunity to access and to act in light of moral facts of the matter, whether they are mind-independent (...)
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  48. added 2016-06-06
    Nicholas Southwood (forthcoming). Constructivism About Reasons. In D. Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press
    Given constructivism’s enduring popularity and appeal, it is perhaps something of a surprise that there remains considerable uncertainty among many philosophers about what constructivism is even supposed to be. My aim in this article is to make some progress on the question of how constructivism should be understood. I begin by saying something about what kind of theory constructivism is supposed to be. Next, I consider and reject both the standard proceduralist characterization of constructivism and also Sharon Street’s ingenious standpoint (...)
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  49. added 2016-06-06
    Nicholas Southwood (forthcoming). Does "Ought" Imply "Feasible"? Philosophy and Public Affairs.
    Many of us feel internally conflicted in the face of certain normative claims that make infeasible demands: say, normative claims that demand that agents do what, given deeply entrenched objectionable character traits, they cannot bring themselves to do. On the one hand, such claims may seem false on account of demanding the infeasible, and insisting otherwise may seem to amount to objectionable unworldliness – to chasing “pies in the sky.” On the other hand, such claims may seem true in spite (...)
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  50. added 2016-06-06
    Nicholas Southwood (2015). The Relevance of Human Nature. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9.
    The so-called "Human Nature Constraint" holds that if an agent is unable, due to features of human nature, to bring herself to act in a certain way, then this suffices to block or negate the claim that the agent is required to act in that way. David Estlund (2011) has recently mounted a forceful objection to the Human Nature Constraint. I argue that Estlund’s objection fails – but instructively, in a way that gives Estlund resources for a different way of (...)
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