‘Internalism’ is used in metaethics for a cluster of claims which bear a family resemblance. They tend to link, in some distinctive way—typically modal, mereological, or causal—different parts of the normative realm, or the normative and the psychological. The thesis of this paper is that much metaethical mischief has resulted from philosophers’ neglect of the distinction between two different features of such claims. The first is the modality of the entire claim. The second is the relation between the items specified (...) in the claim. In part one I explain this distinction and the problems neglecting it may cause. In part two I show that it has been neglected, and has caused those problems, at least with respect to one version of internalism. That is judgment internalism, which claims that moral beliefs are necessarily related to pro- or con-attitudes; e.g., that if you believe you ought to x you must have some motivation to x. The considerations standardly adduced in favor of judgment internalism support only a version which lacks the metaethical implications typically attributed to it, at least so far as anyone has shown. Proponents and opponents of judgment internalism fail to realize this because of their neglect of the modality/relation distinction. I illustrate by considering discussions of judgment internalism by RussShafer-Landau, Simon Blackburn, James Dreier, David Brink, and others. (shrink)
G. E. Moore famously argued on the basis of semantic intuitions that moral properties are not reducible to natural properties, and therefore that moral predicates refer to nonnatural properties. This clearly represents a version of “moral realism,” but it is a testament to the strength of naturalist intuitions in contemporary philosophical debate that, insofar as one accepts Moore’s arguments, this is typically seen as a boon for antirealists rather than realists. For many philosophers worry that putative nonnatural properties would be (...) too metaphysically and epistemologically queer to be admissible into our ontology. These philosophers conclude that if moral properties cannot be understood as natural properties, then it is more reasonable to abandon commitment to moral properties than to follow Moore into nonnaturalism. -/- In this dialectical milieu, three positions have become popular. Naturalists argue that Moorean arguments are bunk; moral properties can be understood as natural properties. Constructivists argue that Moore was right that moral properties cannot be understood as objective natural properties—that is, the properties that are logically independent of the attitudes of human agents—however, quasi‐objective moral properties can be constructed out of the attitudes of human agents. And noncognitivists argue that moral predicates are nonreferential, and so the best understanding of moral discourse is one which does not construe it as committed to the existence of moral properties. -/- Russ Shafer‐Landau’s new book is distinctive in that it argues against each of these three popular positions while developing and defending a contemporary nonnaturalist version of moral realism. (shrink)
In 1903 G.E. Moore celebrated a robust nonnaturalistic form of moral realism with the publication of his Principia Ethica. Subsequent years have witnessed the development and refinement of a number of views motivated at least in part by a deep resistance to the metaphysical and epistemological commitments of nonnaturalism. Over time, Moore’s view arguably has become the position of last resort for philosophers working in metaethics. Exactly one hundred years later, analytic metaethics has come full circle with the publication of (...)RussShafer-Landau’s Moral Realism: A Defence. Shafer-Landau confidently elaborates and defends a form of nonnaturalism about moral facts and properties, and conjoins his moral metaphysics with an anti-Humean theory of motivation, motivational externalism, reasons externalism, moral rationalism, and a hybrid of selfevident justification and reliabilism in moral epistemology. Needless to say, Shafer-Landau’s book is highly ambitious with respect to both the number of controversial theses it tries to defend as well as the antecedent skepticism it attempts to overcome. Regardless of whether its arguments are ultimately successful, Moral Realism deserves to be taken very seriously by anyone interested in metaethics, moral psychology, and the philosophy of action.1 In what follows, I will consider all five parts of Moral Realism in order, offering a brief summary of some of the main ideas in each section as well as raising a few objections (although without being able, in the space available, to do justice to all or even the majority of the interesting arguments with which the book is filled). (shrink)
In this essay I distinguish between a synchronic view of base property exemplification and a diachronic one. I argue that only a diachronic view of base property exemplification can substantiate a ban on morally mixed worlds. I then argue that one of Robert Mabrito’s recent criticisms of RussShafer-Landau’s moral realism fails on either a synchronic or a diachronic view.
In his "Reply to Iddo Landau," Edmund Wall responds to the authors critique of some of the views expressed in his "Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Communication." The present article concentrates on what the author takes to be the main problem in Walls definition: by requiring that any act, even if intentional and cruel in nature, needs to be repeated to count as sexual harassment, Wall allows too much leeway and renders permissible a wide range of intentional, mean, and harmful actions (...) that most, including, the author believes, Wall himself, would like to outlaw. The article considers Walls linguistic and nonlinguistic responses to this critique and finds them problematic. Key Words: sexual harassment discrimination law ethics feminism. (shrink)
Abstract This article revisits a reduced model of cardiac electro-physiology which was proposed to understand the genesis of unidirectional block pathology and of ectopic foci. We underline some specificities of the model from the viewpoint of dynamical systems and bifurcation theory. We point out that essentially the same properties are shared by a simpler system more accessible to analysis. With this simpler system, it becomes possible to give a new presentation of the phenomenon in a phase plane with time moving (...) slow manifolds. This presentation can be of interest both for cardiac electro-physiologists and for mathematicians. Content Type Journal Article Category Regular Article Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s10441-012-9158-0 Authors L. El Alaoui, Université Paris 13, C.N.R.S., U.M.R. 7539, L.A.G.A, 99 avenue Jean-Baptiste Clément, 93430 Villetaneuse, France J.-P. Francoise, Laboratoire Jacques-Louis Lions, UMR 7598 CNRS, Université P.-M. Curie, Paris 6, 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris, France M. Landau, Laboratoire Jacques-Louis Lions, UMR 7598 CNRS, Université P.-M. Curie, Paris 6, 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris, France Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342. (shrink)
Moral Realism is a systematic defence of the idea that there are objective moral standards. RussShafer-Landau argues that there are moral principles that are true independently of what anyone, anywhere, happens to think of them. His central thesis, as well as the many novel supporting arguments used to defend it, will spark much controversy among those concerned with the foundations of ethics.
Since September 11, 2001, many people in the United States have been more inclined to use the language of good and evil, and to be more comfortable with the idea that certain moral standards are objective (true independently of what anyone happens to think of them). Some people, especially those who are not religious, are not sure how to substantiate this view. Whatever Happened to Good and Evil? provides a basis for exploring these doubts and ultimately defends the objectivity of (...) ethics. Engaging and accessible, it is the first introduction to meta-ethics written especially for students and general readers with no philosophical background. Focusing on the issues at the foundation of morality, it poses such questions as: How can we know what is right and wrong? Does ethical objectivity require God? Why should I be moral? Where do moral standards come from? What is a moral value, and how can it exist in a scientific world? Do cultural diversity and persistent moral disagreement support moral skepticism? Writing in a clear and lively style and employing many examples to illustrate theoretical arguments, RussShafer-Landau identifies the many weaknesses in contemporary moral skepticism and devotes considerable attention to presenting, and critiquing, the most difficult objections to his view. Also included in the book are a helpful summary of all the major arguments covered, as well as a glossary of key philosophical terms. Whatever Happened to Good and Evil? is ideal for a variety of philosophy courses and compelling reading for anyone interested in ethics. (shrink)
Reply to Shafer-Landau, Mcpherson, and Dancy Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9659-0 Authors Mark Schroeder, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In this paper I offer two arguments designed to defend the existence of categorical reasons, which I define as those justifying considerations that obtain independently of their relation to an agent's commitments. The first argument is based on certain paradigm cases meant to reveal difficulties for practical instrumentalism—the view, as I define it here, that categorical reasons do not exist, because all reasons must serve the commitments of the agents to whom they apply. The second argument relies on considerations of (...) responsibility and blame to establish the existence of categorical reasons. (shrink)
Several philosophers have argued that if we examine our lives in context of the cosmos at large, sub specie aeternitatis, we cannot escape life's meaninglessness. To see our lives as meaningful, we have to shun the point of view of the cosmos and consider our lives only in the narrower context of the here and now. I argue that this view is incorrect: life can be seen as meaningful also sub specie aeternitatis. While criticizing arguments by, among others, Simon Blackburn, (...) Nicholas Rescher, and Thomas Nagel, I show that what determines assessments of the meaning of a life are the standards of meaningfulness one endorses rather than the size of the context in which that life is assessed. Employing non-demanding standards of meaningfulness to assess a life is compatible with examining it in the context of the cosmos at large. That is also the case if we accept Nagel's claim that to examine a life sub specie aeternitatis is to examine it externally, impersonally and objectively: life can be evaluated as meaningful also when under these perspectives if the standards of meaningfulness we adopt are not overly challenging. Nor does the contingency of our existence, realized sub specie aeternitatis, render our life meaningless. Contrary to a commonly accepted view, then, examining our lives sub specie aeternitatis does not necessitate that we see them as meaningless. (shrink)
There are striking parallels, largely unexplored in the literature, between skeptical arguments against theism and against moral realism. After sketching four arguments meant to do this double duty, I restrict my attention to an explanatory argument that claims that we have most reason to deny the existence of moral facts (and so, by extrapolation, theistic ones), because such putative facts have no causal-explanatory power. I reject the proposed parity, and offer reasons to think that the potential vulnerabilities of moral realism (...) on this front are quite different from those of the theist. Key Words: causal power explanatory power Gilbert Harman moral facts moral realism theism. (shrink)
Ethical Theory: An Anthology is an authoritative collection of key essays by top scholars in the field, addressing core issues including consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics, as well as traditionally underrepresented topics such as moral knowledge and moral responsibility. Brings together seventy-six classic and contemporary pieces by renowned philosophers, from classic writing by Hume and Kant to contemporary writing by Derek Parfit, Susan Wolf, and Judith Jarvis Thomson Guides students through key areas in the field, among them consequentialism, deontology, contractarianism, (...) and virtue ethics Includes coverage of metaethics, normative ethics, and practical ethics Reaches beyond traditional texts by also including important, but usually underrepresented, topics such as moral knowledge, moral standing, moral responsibility, and ethical particularism Raises questions about the status and rational authority of morality. (shrink)
A substantial collection of seminal articles, Foundations of Ethics covers all of the major issues in metaethics. Covers all of the major issues in metaethics including moral metaphysics, epistemology, moral psychology, and philosophy of language. Provides an unparalleled offering of primary sources and expert commentary for students of ethical theory. Includes seminal essays by ethicists such as G.E. Moore, Simon Blackburn, Gilbert Harman, Christine Korsgaard, Michael Smith, Bernard Williams, Jonathan Dancy, and many other leading figures of ethical theory.
This study examines the effects of ethical pressure on management accountants' perceptions of organizational-professional conflict, and related work outcomes. It was hypothesized that organizational pressure to engage in unethical behavior would increase perceived organizational-professional conflict, and that this perceived conflict would reduce organizational commitment and job satisfaction, and increase the likelihood of employee turnover. A survey was mailed to a random sample of Certified Management Accountants to assess perceptions of the relevant variables. The results of a structural equations model indicated (...) that, as hypothesized, ethical pressure was associated with higher levels of perceived organizational-professional conflict. Also as hypothesized, higher levels of conflict were associated with lower levels of organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Finally, lower levels of commitment and satisfaction were associated with higher turnover intentions. (shrink)
Over the past ten years or so, there has been a renewed interest in the moral education theory of punishment. The attractions of the theory are numerous, not least of which is that it offers hopes for a breakthrough in the apparently intractable debate between deterrence theorists and retributivists. Nevertheless, I believe there are severe problems with recent formulations of the theory. First, contemporary educationists all place great emphasis on autonomy, yet fail to show how continued respect for autonomy is (...) compatible with achievement of their stated punitive goals. Second, educationists have, and possibly must, take incarceration as the best available punitive sanction. Yet it is unclear how morally educative such a punishment will be. Third, contemporary educationists view punishment as a benefit to be conferred on an offender. But educationists have not succeeded in arguing that society is obligated to confer such benefits, nor have they adequately defended the Platonic moral psychology necessary to show that moral education is always a benefit to justly punished offenders. Fourth, contemporary educationists are hopeful that an indeterminate sentencing policy can be avoided, but I argue that such a policy is an ineliminable component of an educationist justification of punishment. Finally, I raise some doubts about the scope that educationist goals ought to have in any comprehensive theory of punishment. (shrink)
This paper replies to two arguments against marriage presented by Dan Moller (Philosophy 78, 2003: 79–91). One of Moller's arguments examines several ways in which the marriage promise could be explained, and shows that none of them is viable. The other argument suggests that marriage may not be a worthwhile enterprise since marriages frequently fail, in that they become loveless or end up in divorce. I argue that the marriage promise can be explained in a way unconsidered by Moller, which (...) renders the promise viable; and that notwithstanding the failure of many marriages, it still is, for some people, a worthwhile enterprise. (shrink)
The traditional conception of ethical theory sees it as the project of developing a coherent set of rules from which one can infer all determinate moral verdicts. I am not optimistic about the prospects for constructing such a theory. To explain this pessimism, we need to understand what moral rules are and what roles they might play in ethical theory.
I criticize an important argument of Michael Smith, from his recent book The Moral Problem (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994). Smith's argument, if sound, would undermine one form of moral externalism 2013 that which insists that moral judgements only contingently motivate their authors. Smith claims that externalists must view good agents as always prompted by the motive of duty, and that possession of such a motive impugns the goodness of the agent. I argue (i) that externalists do not (ordinarily) need to assign (...) moral agents such as a motive, and (ii) that possession of this motive, when properly understood, is morally admirable. (shrink)
The paper explores an egalitarian norm widely accepted today, which I call the Marital Non-Hierarchy Standard. According to this standard, marital relationships should be non-hierarchical; neither partner may be more dominant than the other. The Marital Non-Hierarchy Standard is exceptional: in almost all associations, including many financial, professional, educational and recreational ones, in almost all spheres of life, some hierarchies, within certain limits, are widely believed to be morally legitimate. I argue that in marital relations, too, some hierarchies should be (...) accepted as morally legitimate. It might be argued that marital relations should be loving, and love requires that lovers will have the same degree of power. However, contemporary analyses of love show that love is consistent with (some) hierarchies. It might also be argued that justice requires that lovers will have equal power. However, theories of distributive justice such as Rawls's, Sen's, Dworkin's, and almost all others allow some marital hierarchies. Thus, both the love requirement and the justice requirement allow some hierarchical marital relationships and conflict with the Marital Non-Hierarchy Standard. Until other justifications for this standard are presented, it is unclear why it should be endorsed. (shrink)