Thomas Scanlon influentially argues that, in the provision of reasons to act or believe, goodness and value ‘pass the buck’ to other properties. This paper first extends his arguments: if Scanlon shows that goodness and value pass the buck, then relevantly analogous arguments show that, contrary to Scanlon, duty and wrongness too pass this same buck. The paper then reverses Scanlon’s buck-passing arguments: if they show that goodness and value pass the reason-providing buck, then reasons themselves also pass the buck (...) for providing goodness, value, duty, and wrongness. What to make of all this? The paper argues for scepticism about the significance of Scanlon’s buck-passing arguments for ethics. (shrink)
If philosophical moral reflection tends to promote moral behavior, one might think that professional ethicists would behave morally better than do socially comparable non-ethicists. We examined three types of courteous and discourteous behavior at American Philosophical Association conferences: talking audibly while the speaker is talking (versus remaining silent), allowing the door to slam shut while entering or exiting mid-session (versus attempting to close the door quietly), and leaving behind clutter at the end of a session (versus leaving one's seat tidy). (...) By these three measures, audiences in ethics sessions did not appear to behave any more courteously than did audiences in non-ethics sessions. However, audiences in environmental ethics sessions did appear to leave behind less trash. (shrink)
This paper argues that individuals do, in a sense, own or have exclusive claims to control their personal information and body parts. It begins by sketching several arguments that support presumptive claims to informational privacy, turning then to consider cases which illustrate when and how privacy may be overridden by public health concerns.
There can be good reasons to doubt the authority of a group of scientists. But those reasons do not include lack of unanimity among them. Indeed, holding science to a unanimity or near-unanimity standard has a pernicious effect on scientific deliberation, and on the transparency that is so crucial to the authority of science in a democracy. What authorizes a conclusion is the quality of the deliberation that produced it, which is enhanced by the presence of a non-dismissible minority. Scientists (...) can speak as one in more ways than one. We recommend a different sort of consensus that is partly substantive and partly procedural. It is a version of what Margaret Gilbert calls “joint acceptance” – we call it “deliberative acceptance.” It capitalizes on there being a persistent minority, and thereby encourages accurate reporting of the state of agreement and disagreement among deliberators. (shrink)
This paper argues that many leading ethical theories are incomplete, in that they fail to account for both right and wrong. It also argues that some leading ethical theories are inconsistent, in that they allow that an act can be both right and wrong. The paper also considers responses on behalf of the target theories.
In this essay I consider the argument that Bernard Williams advances in ‘The Makropolus Case’ for the meaninglessness of immortality. I also consider various counter-arguments. I suggest that the more clearly these counter-arguments are targeted at the spirit of Williams's argument, rather than at its letter, the less clearly they pose a threat to it. I then turn to Nietzsche, whose views about the eternal recurrence might appear to make him an opponent of Williams. I argue that, properly interpreted, these (...) views in fact make him an ally. (shrink)
[A. W. Moore] There are criteria of ineffability whereby, even if the concept of ineffability can never serve to modify truth, it can sometimes (non-trivially) serve to modify other things, specifically understanding. This allows for a reappraisal of the dispute between those who adopt a traditional reading of Wittgenstein's Tractatus and those who adopt the new reading recently championed by Diamond, Conant, and others. By maintaining that what the nonsense in the Tractatus is supposed to convey is ineffable understanding, rather (...) than ineffable truth, we can do considerable justice to each of these readings. We can also do considerable justice to the Tractatus. /// [Peter Sullivan] Moore proposes to cut between 'traditional' and 'new' approaches to the Tractatus, suggesting that Wittgenstein's intention is to convey, through the knowing use of nonsense, ineffable understanding. I argue, first, that there is indeed room for a proposal of Moore's general kind. Secondly, though, I question whether Moore's actual proposal is not more in tune with Wittgenstein's later thought than with the attitude of the Tractatus. (shrink)
In this bold and innovative new work, Adrian Moore provides a refreshing but challenging new interpretation of Kant's moral philosophy and argues that it can enrich our understanding of a central problem in contemporary ethical debate: the problem of rationality. Noble in Reason, Infinite in Faculty is essential reading for all those interested in Kant, ethics and philosophy of religion.
The author begins with an outline of Bernard William's moral philosophy, within which he locates William's notorious doctrine that reflection can destroy ethical knowledge. He then gives a partial defence of this doctrine, exploiting an analogy between ethical judgements and tensed judgements. The basic idea is that what the passage of time does for the latter, reflection can do for the former: namely, prevent the re-adoption of an abandoned point of view (an ethical point of view in the one case, (...) a temporal point of view in the other). In the final section the author says a little about how reflection might do this. Footnotes1 This essay is derived from a lecture entitled ‘Bernard Williams’, delivered at Oxford University in 2000, in the series ‘Oxford Philosophers on Oxford Philosophers’, organized by Peter Hacker and David Wiggins. I am grateful to those who attended the lecture, and to Bernard Williams, for helpful comments. (shrink)
The question of realism - that is, whether God exists independently of human beings - is central to much contemporary theology and church life. It is also an important topic in the philosophy of religion. This book discusses the relationship between realism and Christian faith in a thorough and systematic way and uses the resources of both philosophy and theology to argue for a Christocentric narrative realism. Many previous defences of realism have attempted to model Christian belief on scientific theory (...) but Moore argues that this comparison is misleading and inadequate on both theological and philosophical grounds. Using Speech Act theory and the work of non-realists and Wittgensteinians, he offers a new account of the meaningfulness of Christian language; and uses this to develop a regulative conception of realism according to which God's independent reality is shown principally in Christ and, on this basis, through Christian practices and the lives of Christians. (shrink)
In this article I address the tension between evaluative surveillance and privacy against the backdrop of the current explosion of information technology. More specifically, and after a brief analysis of privacy rights, I argue that knowledge of the different kinds ofsurveillance used at any given company should be made explicit to the employees. Moreover, there will be certain kinds of evaluativemonitoring that violate privacy rights and should not be used in most cases.
In Michael Dummett's celebrated essay on Gödel's theorem he considers the threat posed by the theorem to the idea that meaning is use and argues that this threat can be annulled. In my essay I try to show that the threat is even less serious than Dummett makes it out to be. Dummett argues, in effect, that Gödel's theorem does not prevent us from "capturing" the truths of arithmetic; I argue that the idea that meaning is use does not require (...) that we be able to "capture" these truths anyway. Towards the end of my essay I relate what I have been arguing first to Dummett's concept of indefinite extensibility and then to some of Wittgenstein's remarks on Gödel's theorem. (shrink)
For over two thousand years thought about the infinite was dominated by Aristotelian hostility to the idea that the infinite could be a legitimate object of mathematical study. Then Cantor's work late in the nineteenth century seemed to overturn this orthodoxy. However, by highlighting ways in which infinitude still could not be brought under the control of mathematicians, Cantor's work may in fact have reinforced the orthodoxy.
Two of W. V. Quine''s most familiar doctrines are his endorsement of the distinction between underdetermination and indeterminacy, and his rejection of the distinction between analytic and synthetic truths. The author argues that these two doctrines are incompatible. In terms wholly acceptable to Quine, and based on the underdetermination/indeterminacy distinction, the author draws an exhaustive and exclusive distinction between two kinds of true sentences, and then argues that this corresponds to the traditional analytic/synthetic distinction. In an appendix the author expands (...) on one aspect of the underdetermination/indeterminacy distinction, as construed here, and discusses, in passing, some of Quine''s more general views on truth. (shrink)
A number of arguments have been put forward by D. Z. Phillips which purportedly establish that the problems that lie at the heart of the theological realism/nonrealism controversy are confused, and that realism itself is incoherent and may be refuted. These arguments are assessed and several different theories of realism are considered. The questions of the nature of religious belief and whether God is an object are addressed. Phillips' arguments are shown to fail to supply a substantial objection to any (...) interesting variety of theological realism. (shrink)
This volume presents a selection of the most important writings in the debate on the nature of meaning and reference which started one hundred years ago with Frege's classic essay "On Sense and Reference." Contributors include Bertrand Russell, P.F. Strawson, W.V. Quine, Donald Davidson, John McDowell, Michael Dummett, Hilary Putnam, Saul Kripke, David Wiggins, and Gareth Evans. The aim of this series is to bring together important recent writings in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a wide variety of (...) sources, mostly periodicals, which may not be conveniently available to the university student or the general reader. (shrink)
This historical study of the infinite covers all its aspects from the mathematical to the mystical. Anyone who has ever pondered the limitlessness of space and time, or the endlessness of numbers, or the perfection of God will recognize the special fascination of the subject. Beginning with an entertaining account of the main paradoxes of the infinite, including those of Zeno, A.W. Moore traces the history of the topic from Aristotle to Kant, Hegel, Cantor, and Wittgenstein.
A. W. Moore argues in this bold, unusual, and ambitious book that it is possible to think about the world from no point of view. His argument involves discussion of a very wide range of fundamental philosophical issues, including the nature of persons, the subject-matter of mathematics, realism and anti-realism, value, the inexpressible, and God. The result is a powerful critique of our own finitude.