A defense of two optimistic claims in ethical theory

Philosophical Studies 112 (1):1-30 (2003)
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Abstract

I aim to show that (i) there are good ways to argue about what has intrinsic value; and (ii) good ethical arguments needn't make ethical assumptions. I support (i) and(ii) by rebutting direct attacks, by discussing nine plausible ways to argue about intrinsic value, and by arguing for pains intrinsic badness without making ethical assumptions. If (i) and (ii) are correct, then ethical theory has more resources than many philosophers have thought: empirical evidence, and evidence bearing on intrinsic value. With more resources, we can hope to base all of our moral beliefs on evidence rather than on, say, emotion or mere intuition.

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Stuart Rachels
University of Alabama

Citations of this work

Evolutionary Debunking Arguments.Guy Kahane - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):103-125.
Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Value.Michael J. Zimmerman - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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The Value of Autonomy in Medical Ethics.Jukka Varelius - 2006 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 9 (3):377-388.
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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Principia Ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Morals by Agreement.David P. Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.

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