Does Morality Have a Point?

Ethical Perspectives 22 (1):151-195 (2015)
Abstract
Proceeding from the assumption that moral discourse is best conceived of as a practice in the technical sense specified by John Rawls, this article discusses whether it is possible, adequate or even necessary to take up a legislative perspective on the constitutive rules of the said practice. There seem to be two principal legislative manoeuvres with respect to practices, namely rendering the practice under consideration compatible with a practice that is more important and evaluating the constitutive rules of the practice with respect to its point, purpose or telos. I explore two projects in normative ethics that offer an affirmative answer regarding the possibility of moral legislation and that make use of the respective manoeuvres, namely neo-Hobbesian contractarianism and rule -consequentialism. I then inquire into the merits of a position that draws upon broadly Wittgensteinian considerations and denies the existence of such a thing as a legislative perspective on morality.
Keywords moral practice  moral legislation  moral change  constitutive rules  teleological autonomy  Ludwig Wittgenstein  Brad Hooker  Ethical Naturalism  function of morality
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