Hypotheticalism and the objectivity of morality
Mark Schroeder’s Slaves of the Passions defends a version of the Humean Theory of Reasons he calls “Hypotheticalism,” according to which all reasons an agent has for action are explained by desires that are in turn explained by reference to her psychology. This paper disputes Schroeder’s claim that his theory has the potential to allay long-standing worries about moral objectivity and normativity within a Humean framework because it fails to attain the requisite level of agent-neutrality for moral reasons. The particular problems, and their concomitant solutions, push us in the direction of a more modest ambition for the objectivity of this neo-Humean morality. Moreover, even if all the pieces of Schroeder’s theory are tweaked just enough to make a roughly universal morality practicable, the kind of universality gained might still omit some putatively desirable features of any moral system.
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