Ethical Externalism and the Moral Sense

This paper examines Hutcheson’s moral sense theory’s attack on internalism and his defense of an innovative version of externalism. I show that Hutcheson’s distinction between exciting and justifying reasons supports a type of externalist theory not anticipated by Brink, Smith, or McDowell. In Moral Sense Externalism, moral judgment relies upon the perceptions of a moral sense, and the felt quality of these perceptions introduces to judgment an affective dimension. Thus feeling is a constituitive part of what it is to have a justifying reason for a moral act even when it is not the direct motive to action
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_2002_20
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