David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (2):285-296 (2005)
In The Triumph of Practice over Theory in Ethics James Sterba is not concerned merely to show that there is much convergence in the practical application of Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Aristotelian virtue ethics. His project is the much more ambitious one of arguing that the theories do not really diverge very much at the theoretical level, and thus supplying an explanation for the apparent convergence at the practical level. Although I applaud him for the boldness, some might even say audacity, of the attempt, I do not think he succeeds. I focus my critique on Sterba’s use of two principles that are crucial to his arguments, the principle of non-question-beggingness, and the “ought implies can” principle. I also criticize his arguments for a biocentric position in his disagreement with Singer over the status of nonsentient life
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