Abstract The focal objection of Nietzsche?s critique of morality is that morality is disvaluable because antagonistic to the highest forms of human excellence. Recent advances in Nietzsche commentary have done much to unpack this objection ? an objection which, at first blush, shares certain affinities with worries developed by a number of more recent morality critics. Some, though, have sought to disassociate Nietzsche from these more recent critics, claiming that his critique is directed mainly against moralized culture and that it (...) cannot be successfully reapplied to moral theory. The aim of this paper is to show that there is a viable Nietzschean objection to obligation-centred moral theory ? and, in particular, to those undermanding versions that resist the more recent morality critics? worries. The paper develops two sets of arguments, according to which (respectively) complying with an undemanding moral theory is both inimical to and incompatible with realizing Nietzschean excellence. Thus, even undemanding moral theories generate the effects to which Nietzsche objects. (shrink)
What is the relation between what we ought to do, on the one hand, and our epistemic access to the ought-giving facts, on the other? In assessing this, it is common to distinguish ‘objective’ from ‘subjective’ oughts. Very roughly, on the objectivist conception what an agent ought to do is determined by ought-giving facts in such a way that does not depend on the agent’s beliefs about, or epistemic access to, those facts; whereas on the subjectivist conception, what an agent (...) ought to do depends on his beliefs. This paper defends the need for, and explicates, a third category of ‘ought’: ‘warranted oughts’. Section 1 introduces the distinction between objective and subjective ‘oughts’. Sections 2–3 draw attention to some serious problems with each. Section 4 examines, though rejects, a recent attempt to replace subjective ‘oughts’ with objective ‘wide-scope oughts’ operating on belief-action combinations. Section 5 explicates the notion of a warranted ‘ought’ and defends the account against some possible objections. The resulting a picture is one in which an adequate analysis of practical normativity requires both objective and warranted ‘oughts’. Section 6 concludes by responding to a worry about countenancing both. (shrink)
Abstract A significant portion of recent literature on Nietzsche is devoted to his metaethical views, both critical and positive. This article explores one aspect of his positive metaethics. The specific thesis defended is that Nietzsche is, or is plausibly cast as, a reasons internalist. This, very roughly, is the view that what an agent has normative reason to do depends on that agent's motivational repertoire. Section I sketches some of the metaethical terrain most relevant to Nietzsche's organising ethical project, his (...) ?revaluation of all values?, and lays out three ?design-requirements? that an adequate account of Nietzsche's metaethical views must satisfy. Section II introduces the basic internalist position. Sections III?IV provide textual support for the internalist reading of Nietzsche, with Section V showing how it meets each of the design-requirements. Section VI concludes by showing how the internalist apparatus also illuminates Nietzsche's views about the process of revaluing values. (shrink)
In this paper we examine a recent version of an old controversy within climbing ethics. Our organising topic is the ‘bolting’ of climbing routes, in particular the increasing bolting of routes in those wilderness areas climbing traditionalists have customarily believed should remain bolt-free. The issues this raises extend beyond the ethical, however, encompassing a wider normative field that concerns individual ideals, the values and goals of different climbing practices and communities, as well as various aesthetic and environmental matters. This makes (...) any assessment of the acceptability of bolting a complex affair, requiring not only the identification of relevant considerations and arguments but also some way to evaluate their comparative significance. (shrink)
This paper clarifies how to be an error theorist about morality. It takes as its starting point John Mackie’s error theory of the categoricity of moral obligation, defending Mackie against objections from both naturalist moral realists and minimalists about moral discourse. However, drawing upon minimalist insights, it argues that Mackie’s focus on the ontological status of moral values is misplaced, and that the underlying dispute between error theorist and moralist is better conducted at the level of practical reason.
A common view of the relation between oughts and reasons is that you ought to do something if and only if that is what you have most reason to do. One challenge to this comes from what Jonathan Dancy calls ‘enticing reasons.’ Dancy argues that enticing reasons never contribute to oughts and that it is false that if the only reasons in play are enticing reasons then you ought to do what you have most reason to do. After explaining how (...) enticing reasons supposedly work and why accepting them may appear attractive, I firstly show why we are not committed to accepting them into our conceptual framework and then argue that no reasons work in the way enticing reasons are claimed to. Thus we should reject the category of enticing reasons entirely. (shrink)
forthcoming in M. McNamee (ed) Philosophy, Risk and Adventure Sports, Routledge The final draft of a co-authored article with Simon Robertson (Leeds). In this paper we examine a recent version of an old controversy within climbing ethics. Our organising topic is the ‘bolting’….
This paper responds to Susan Hurley’s attempt to undermine the adequacy of the distinction at the heart of the internalism–externalism debate about reasons for action. The paper shows that Hurley’s argument fails and then, more positively, indicates a neat way to characterize the distinction.