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Profile: Pekka Väyrynen (University of Leeds)
  1. Pekka Väyrynen, Doubts About Moral Perception.
    This paper argues against the claim that at least some moral properties can figure in the contents of perceptual experience. I'll grant that perceptual experience is cognitively permeable and that its contents admit some higher level properties. But a property can make a phenomenological difference to an overall experience E without figuring in the content of a perceptual experience which E has as a part. I'll suggest that a different explanation of putative cases of moral perception is more general and (...)
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  2. Pekka Väyrynen (forthcoming). Reasons and Moral Principles. In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity.
    This paper is a survey of the generalism-particularism debate and related issues concerning the relationship between normative reasons and moral principles.
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  3. Pekka Väyrynen (2014). Essential Contestability and Evaluation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy (3):1-18.
    Evaluative and normative terms and concepts are often said to be ?essentially contestable?. This notion has been used in political and legal theory and applied ethics to analyse disputes concerning the proper usage of terms like democracy, freedom, genocide, rape, coercion, and the rule of law. Many philosophers have also thought that essential contestability tells us something important about the evaluative in particular. Gallie (who coined the term), for instance, argues that the central structural features of essentially contestable concepts secure (...)
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  4. Pekka Väyrynen (2014). Shapelessness in Context. Noûs 48 (3):573-593.
  5. Pekka Väyrynen (2013). Grounding and Normative Explanation. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):155-178.
    This paper concerns non-causal normative explanations such as ‘This act is wrong because/in virtue of__’ (where the blank is often filled out in non-normative terms, such as ‘it causes pain’). The familiar intuition that normative facts aren't brute or ungrounded but anchored in non-normative facts seems to be in tension with the equally familiar idea that no normative fact can be fully explained in purely non-normative terms. I ask whether the tension could be resolved by treating the explanatory relation in (...)
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  6. Pekka Väyrynen (2013). Thick Concepts and Underdetermination. In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Thick Concepts. Oxford University Press.
    Thick terms and concepts in ethics (e.g. selfish, cruel and courageous) somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. The non-evaluative aspects of thick terms and concepts underdetermine their extensions. Many writers argue that this underdetermination point is best explained by supposing that thick terms and concepts are semantically evaluative in some way such that evaluation plays a role in determining their extensions. This paper argues that the extensions of thick terms and concepts are underdetermined by their meanings in toto, irrespective of (...)
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  7. Pekka Väyrynen (2013). The Lewd, the Rude and the Nasty: A Study of Thick Concepts in Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    In addition to thin concepts like the good, the bad and the ugly, our evaluative thought and talk appeals to thick concepts like the lewd and the rude, the selfish and the cruel, the courageous and the kind -- concepts that somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. Thick concepts are almost universally assumed to be inherently evaluative in content, and many philosophers claimed them to have deep and distinctive significance in ethics and metaethics. In this first book-length treatment of thick (...)
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  8. Pekka Väyrynen (2012). Thick Concepts: Where's Evaluation? In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 7. Oxford University Press. 235-70.
    This paper presents an alternative to the standard view that the evaluations that the so-called "thick" terms and concepts in ethics may be used to convey belong to their sense or semantic meaning. I describe a large variety of linguistic data that are well explained by the alternative view that the evaluations that (at least a very wide range of) thick terms and concepts may be used to convey are a certain kind of defeasible implications of their utterances which can (...)
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  9. Pekka Väyrynen (2011). A Wrong Turn to Reasons? In Michael Brady (ed.), New Waves in Metaethics. Palgrave Macmillan.
    This paper argues that the recent metaethical turn to reasons as the fundamental units of normativity offers no special advantage in explaining a variety of other normative and evaluative phenomena, unless perhaps a form of reductionism about reasons is adopted which is rejected by many of those who advocate turning to reasons.
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  10. Pekka Väyrynen (2011). Moral Particularism. In Christian B. Miller (ed.), Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum. 478-483.
    This paper is a survey of the generalism-particularism debate in ethics.
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  11. Pekka Väyrynen (2011). Thick Concepts and Variability. Philosophers' Imprint 11 (1):1-17.
    Some philosophers hold that so-called "thick" terms and concepts in ethics (such as 'cruel,' 'selfish,' 'courageous,' and 'generous') are contextually variable with respect to the valence (positive or negative) of the evaluations that they may be used to convey. Some of these philosophers use this variability claim to argue that thick terms and concepts are not inherently evaluative in meaning; rather their use conveys evaluations as a broadly pragmatic matter. I argue that one sort of putative examples of contextual variability (...)
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  12. Pekka Väyrynen (2009). A Theory of Hedged Moral Principles. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 4. Oxford University Press. 91-132.
    This paper offers a general model of substantive moral principles as a kind of hedged moral principles that can (but don't have to) tolerate exceptions. I argue that the kind of principles I defend provide an account of what would make an exception to them permissible. I also argue that these principles are nonetheless robustly explanatory with respect to a variety of moral facts; that they make sense of error, uncertainty, and disagreement concerning moral principles and their implications; and that (...)
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  13. Pekka Väyrynen (2009). Normative Appeals to the Natural. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):279 - 314.
    Surprisingly, many ethical realists and anti-realists, naturalists and not, all accept some version of the following normative appeal to the natural (NAN): evaluative and normative facts hold solely in virtue of natural facts, where their naturalness is part of what fits them for the job. This paper argues not that NAN is false but that NAN has no adequate non-parochial justification (a justification that relies only on premises which can be accepted by more or less everyone who accepts NAN) to (...)
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  14. Pekka Väyrynen (2009). Objectionable Thick Concepts in Denials. Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):439-469.
    So-called "thick" moral concepts are distinctive in that they somehow "hold together" evaluation and description. But how? This paper argues against the standard view that the evaluations which thick concepts may be used to convey belong to sense or semantic content. That view cannot explain linguistic data concerning how thick concepts behave in a distinctive type of disagreements and denials which arise when one speaker regards another's thick concept as "objectionable" in a certain sense. The paper also briefly considers contextualist, (...)
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  15. Pekka Väyrynen (2008). Slim Epistemology with a Thick Skin. Philosophical Papers 37 (3):389-412.
    The distinction between “thick” and “thin” value concepts, and its importance to ethical theory, has been an active topic in recent meta-ethics. This paper defends three claims regarding the parallel issue about thick and thin epistemic concepts. (1) Analogy with ethics offers no straightforward way to establish a good, clear distinction between thick and thin epistemic concepts. (2) Assuming there is such a distinction, there are no semantic grounds for assigning thick epistemic concepts priority over the thin. (3) Nor does (...)
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  16. Pekka Väyrynen (2008). Some Good and Bad News for Ethical Intuitionism. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):489–511.
    The core doctrine of ethical intuitionism is that some of our ethical knowledge is non-inferential. Against this, Sturgeon has recently objected that if ethical intuitionists accept a certain plausible rationale for the autonomy of ethics, then their foundationalism commits them to an implausible epistemology outside ethics. I show that irrespective of whether ethical intuitionists take non-inferential ethical knowledge to be a priori or a posteriori, their commitment to the autonomy of ethics and foundationalism does not entail any implausible non-inferential knowledge (...)
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  17. Pekka Väyrynen (2008). Usable Moral Principles. In Vojko Strahovnik, Matjaz Potrc & Mark Norris Lance (eds.), Challenging Moral Particularism. Routledge.
    One prominent strand in contemporary moral particularism concerns the claim of "principle abstinence" that we ought not to rely on moral principles in moral judgment because they fail to provide adequate moral guidance. I argue that moral generalists can vindicate this traditional and important action-guiding role for moral principles. My strategy is to argue, first, that, for any conscientious and morally committed agent, the agent's acceptance of (true) moral principles shapes their responsiveness to (right) moral reasons and, second, that if (...)
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  18. Jeff McMahan, Nick Bostrom, Toby Ord, Paul E. Hurley, Pekka Väyrynen & Jacob Ross (2006). 10. Joseph Raz, The Practice of Value Joseph Raz, The Practice of Value (Pp. 805-809). Ethics 116 (4).
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  19. Pekka Väyrynen (2006). Ethical Theories and Moral Guidance. Utilitas 18 (3):291-309.
    Let the Guidance Constraint be the following norm for evaluating ethical theories: Other things being at least roughly equal, ethical theories are better to the extent that they provide adequate moral guidance. I offer an account of why ethical theories are subject to the Guidance Constraint, if indeed they are. We can explain central facts about adequate moral guidance, and their relevance to ethical theory, by appealing to certain forms of autonomy and fairness. This explanation is better than explanations that (...)
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  20. Pekka Väyrynen (2006). Moral Generalism: Enjoy in Moderation. Ethics 116 (4):707-741.
    I defend moral generalism against particularism. Particularism, as I understand it, is the negation of the generalist view that particular moral facts depend on the existence of a comprehensive set of true moral principles. Particularists typically present "the holism of reasons" as powerful support for their view. While many generalists accept that holism supports particularism but dispute holism, I argue that generalism accommodates holism. The centerpiece of my strategy is a novel model of moral principles as a kind of "hedged" (...)
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  21. Pekka Väyrynen (2006). Resisting the Buck-Passing Account of Value. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. 295-324.
    I first distinguish between different forms of the buck-passing account of value and clarify my target in other respects on buck-passers' behalf. I then raise a number of problems for the different forms of the buck-passing view that I have distinguished.
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  22. Pekka Väyrynen (2004). Review of Christian Illies, The Grounds of Ethical Judgement: New Transcendental Arguments in Moral Philosophy. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (3).
    This is a review of Christian Illies: The Grounds of Ethical Judgement: New Transcendental Arguments in Moral Philosophy (Clarendon Press, 2003).
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  23. Pekka Väyrynen (2004). Particularism and Default Reasons. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (1):53-79.
    This paper addresses a recent suggestion that moral particularists can extend their view to countenance default reasons (at a first stab, reasons that are pro tanto unless undermined) by relying on certain background expectations of normality. I first argue that normality must be understood non-extensionally. Thus if default reasons rest on normality claims, those claims won't bestow upon default reasons any definite degree of extensional generality. Their generality depends rather on the contingent distributional aspects of the world, which no theory (...)
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  24. Pekka Väyrynen (2002). Review of "Moral Particularism&Quot;. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 111 (3):478-483.
    This is a review of Moral Particularism, ed. Brad Hooker and Margaret Olivia Little (Clarendon Press, 2000).
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