Authors
Sharon Street
New York University
Abstract
This paper explores two questions in moral philosophy that might at first seem unrelated. The first question is practical. While it’s not a truth we like to contemplate, each of us faces the eventual loss of everyone and everything we love. Is there a way to live in full awareness of that fact without falling into anxiety or depression, or resorting to one form or another of forgetfulness, denial or numbing out? The second question is metaethical. Is it possible to vindicate a strong form of ethical objectivity without positing anything metaphysically or epistemologically mysterious? In this paper, I sketch a partially Buddhist-inspired metaethical view that would, if it could be made to work, give a positive answer to both questions. The overall view is too much to defend in one paper, so I focus on developing one limited part of it. I begin by characterizing the general constructivist strategy for vindicating the objectivity of ethics. After briefly discussing Christine Korsgaard’s Kantian implementation of the strategy, I suggest an alternative implementation. I explore the idea that every agent necessarily faces what I call the problem of attachment and loss. I close with some speculative remarks about why, even though the problem of attachment and loss presents itself in a different substantive guise to each individual agent, it is still possible that the best solution to the problem is universal, and involves taking up an ethical perspective on the world.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1093/arisup/akw002
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,819
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.
Internal and External Reasons.Bernard Williams - 1979 - In Ross Harrison (ed.), Rational Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-113.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Constructivism in Metaethics.Carla Bagnoli - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Why Practice Philosophy as a Way of Life?Javier Hidalgo - 2020 - Metaphilosophy 51 (2-3):411-431.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What is Constructivism in Ethics and Metaethics?Sharon Street - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (5):363-384.
Attachment and Loss. Vol. 3. Loss, Sadness and Depression.M. P. M. Richards - 1981 - Journal of Biosocial Science 13 (3):369.
Constructivism in Metaethics.Carla Bagnoli - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Realism and Constructivism in Twentieth-Century Moral Philosophy.Christine M. Korsgaard - 2003 - Journal of Philosophical Research 28 (Supplement):99-122.
A Problem for Ambitious Metanormative Constructivism.Nadeem J. Z. Hussain - 2012 - In Jimmy Lenman & Yonatan Shemmer (eds.), Constructivism in Practical Philosophy. Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-09-16

Total views
266 ( #37,794 of 2,463,235 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
21 ( #38,257 of 2,463,235 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes