David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Investigations 32 (3):206-243 (2009)
I develop an anti-theory view of ethics. Moral theory (Kantian, utilitarian, virtue ethical, etc.) is the dominant approach to ethics among academic philosophers. But moral theory's hunt for a single Master Factor (utility, universalisability, virtue . . .) is implausibly systematising and reductionist. Perhaps scientism drives the approach? But good science always insists on respect for the data, even messy data: I criticise Singer's remarks on infanticide as a clear instance of moral theory failing to respect the data of moral perceptions and moral intuitions. Moral theory also fails to provide a coherent basis for real-world motivation, justification, explanation, and prediction of good and bad, right and wrong. Consider for instance the marginal place of love in moral theory, compared with its central place in people's actual ethical outlooks and decision making. Hence, moral theory typically fails to ground any adequate ethical outlook. I propose that it is the notion of an ethical outlook that philosophical ethicists should pursue, not the unfruitful and distorting notion of a moral theory.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
T. D. J. Chappell (2001). Understanding Human Goods. Mind 110 (437):196-199.
Timothy Chappell (2008). Moral Perception. Philosophy 83 (4):421-437.
John Finnis (1980/1979). Natural Law and Natural Rights. Oxford University Press.
Harry G. Frankfurt (1988). The Importance of What We Care About: Philosophical Essays. Cambridge University Press.
Berys Gaut (1993). Moral Pluralism. Philosophical Papers 22 (1):17-40.
Citations of this work BETA
Timothy Chappell (2012). Reflections on How We Live, by Annette Baier. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, Ix + 275 Pp. ISBN 978-0-19-957036-2 Hb £26.00. [REVIEW] European Journal of Philosophy 20 (3):502-507.
Alan Cribb (2011). Beyond the Classroom Wall: Theorist-Practitioner Relationships and Extra-Mural Ethics. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):383-396.
Similar books and articles
Bernard J. Hodgson (2001). Michalos and the Theory of Ethical Theory. Journal of Business Ethics 29 (1-2):19 - 23.
Garrett Cullity (1999). Virtue Ethics, Theory, and Warrant. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2 (3):277-294.
Elijah Millgram (2005). Ethics Done Right: Practical Reasoning as a Foundation for Moral Theory. Cambridge University Press.
Christine Swanton (2003). Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View. Clarendon Press.
Michael Slote (2004). Moral Sentimentalism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (1):3-13.
Stanley B. Cunningham (2008). Reclaiming Moral Agency: The Moral Philosophy of Albert the Great. Catholic University of America Press.
Jason Brennan (2008). Beyond the Bottom Line: The Theoretical Goals of Moral Theorizing. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 28 (2):277-296.
Raymond de Vries (2011). The Uses and Abuses of Moral Theory in Bioethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):419-430.
R. Jay Wallace, Moral Motivation. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads88 ( #21,116 of 1,696,294 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #77,991 of 1,696,294 )
How can I increase my downloads?