This paper analyzes in some detail what an ethics of love would be like if interpreted rigorously as an ethics of being rather than of doing. It delineates the metaethical structure of such an ethics and suggests the characteristics of love appropriate to the structure. The author then indicates some problems that arise for such an ethical theory.
It is well known that Sidgwick finished his examination of “the methods of ethics” in some difficulty. Just what that difficulty was and how he came to be in it, we shall see in due course. This paper is written in the conviction that what he was doing is worth looking at again in the context of contemporary discussion.
In this paper I tee off from a footnote in prichard's article, "is moral philosophy based on a mistake?" in it he contrasts living under the aegis of moral obligation and moral goodness with living under the aegis of virtue. Using prichard's terms I try to say what an ethics of virtue as versus one of duty and moral goodness would be like. Then I try to see what prichard's case against the former and for the latter would be like, (...) And to indicate my own sympathies in the matter. (shrink)
This essay, one of the last that Frankena wrote, provides a scrupulously detailed exploration of the various possible meanings of one of Sidgwick's most famous footnotes in the Methods Long intrigued by what Sidgwick had in mind when he said that he would explain how it came about that for moderns it is not tautologous to claim that one's own good is one's only reasonable ultimate end, Frankena uses this note as a point of departure for a penetrating review of (...) Sidgwick's insights and ambiguities on the differences between ancient and modern ethics. (shrink)
There has been much impatience with what R. S. Peters calls “the endless talk about the aims of education,” but this talk continues to go on, and we are invited to add to it on this happy occasion. Indeed, those who deny that education has ends or that educators must have aims seem always to end up talking about much the same thing in a slightly different idiom. At any rate, I am quite ready, at least on this occasion, to (...) assume that there are values or goals which it is the business of education to promote, whether they are external, imposed, and far-off, or internal, autonomous, and nearby. I shall also assume that the values or goals which education is to promote consist of certain abilities, dispositions, habits, or traits. To have a single term for them I shall call them ‘dispositions’, taking this word, not in the narrower ordinary ‘sunny disposition’ sense, but in the wider one common among philosophers. So far as I am aware, there is really only one view that might reject the concept of dispositions in this sense, namely existentialism, and, as we shall see, even it seems to advocate our developing certain dispositions or, if you prefer, choosing certain postures. (shrink)
Kantian ethics is both very much alive and very much under attack in recent moral philosophy, and so I propose to review some of the discussion, though I must say in advance that my review will have to be incomplete and oversimplified in various ways.
I begin with a note about moral goodness as a quality, disposition, or trait of a person or human being. This has at least two different senses, one wider and one narrower. Aristotle remarked that the Greek term we translate as justice sometimes meant simply virtue or goodness as applied to a person and sometimes meant only a certain virtue or kind of goodness. The same thing is true of our word “goodness.” Sometimes being a good person means having all (...) the virtues, or at least all the moral ones; then goodness equals the whole of virtue. But sometimes, being a good person has a narrower meaning, namely, being kind, generous, and so forth. Thus, my OED sometimes equates goodness with moral excellence as a whole and sometimes with a particular moral excellence, viz., kindness, beneficence, or benevolence; and the Bible, when it speaks of God as being good sometimes means that God has all the virtues and sometimes only that he is kind, mereiful, or benevolent. When Jesus says, “Why callest thou me good: None is good, save one, that is God,” he seems to be speaking of goodness in the inclusive sense, but when the writer of Exodus has God himself say that he is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” God is using “goodness” in the narrower sense in which it means benevolence, for he goes on to make it clear that he is also just and severe. Similarly, “good will” may mean either “morally good will” in general, as it does in Kant, or it may mean only “benevolent will,” as it usually does; in “men of good will” it is perhaps ambiguous. (shrink)
The Carus Lectures appear above in the form in which they were read, but with the addition of a number of passages, some longer and some shorter, which were omitted in the reading. I think that my presentation of Clause 3 is the only other important change made in the printed version. Except for this change, the lectures as here printed stand essentially as they were written in 1973. The manuscript has been out of my hands since 1974 and would (...) not satisfy me now, even apart from the faults pointed out by my three critics. My lectures need to be both clarified and corrected. They were written in a state of some excitement, not only because I had been invited to give the Carus Lectures, but also because I thought I had hit upon certain interesting newish questions and answers. I was a bit carried away by this, and hence was not so clear or rigorous as I should have been. I therefore welcome this opportunity to rethink what I said and to make some of the needed clarifications and corrections. Because of the nature of this occasion, however, I shall limit myself almost wholly to dealing with points raised by my critics, without going on to revise what I said about Anscombe, Foot, Taylor, or others, in the ways in which I would now wish to. To the three critics I am especially grateful for their willingness to take what I said as seriously as they do. I am not so sure that I can defend my line of thought as I was six years ago, but I shall still try to say what I can about and for it, being not yet quite convinced that I should give it up. (shrink)
Some centuries ago most moral philosophy was written by theologians, almost none of it by professional philosophers in our sense, and one of the questions most debated was whether morality could or could not be founded on “an independent bottom”, that is, on a basis other than that provided by revealed religion. This was a many-sided question and would be interesting to discuss in the sense or senses in which it was then taken. In a way, I assumed an affirmative (...) answer to part of it when I began with a definition of morality that makes no reference to the will of God as a ground for its normative judgments. Now I wish to say something more about it in terms rather different from those used by the theologians. I must do so because of what transpired in the previous lectures. In the first I began by assuming a material or nonformalist definition of morality as stated in Clauses 1 and 2, argued that such a definition does not entail either a teleological or a poietic view of morality, and put in a plug for a nonpoietic view such as was held by at least some Mainliners. In the second I contended that the Main Line in moral philosophy is essentially correct - that the Oughts or normative judgments of morality are not hypothetical or otherwise agent-referential, even if they are not institutional, thus confirming a nonpoietic theory of morality. What this points to on my present question is the position I should like to hold: that morality is bottomed on autonomous substantive normative judgments that are moral and noninstrumental, that is, that it rests on nonordinary and non-institutional normative judgments made from the moral point of view, or on moral grounds as defined by Clause 2. (shrink)
Morality has been getting a great deal of looking at in recent years by philosophers, theologians, psychologists, social scientists, journalists, and novelists, as well as by people, especially students, women, and young people, on the street. Much of this investigation has been aimed at redesigning morality or developing a ‘new morality’, and some of it at doing away with morality entirely and replacing it with something else, with the something elses ranging all the way from love, through religion, sincerity, authenticity, (...) and doing one's own thing, to selfishness. New-moralism and amoralism seem to be widespread, the first often being seen as an antidote to the second. At any rate, many are convinced that morality, at least modern morality, Christian or non-Christian, has been based on a mistake, or on a number of mistakes, though there are different views about what these are. Among others, moral philosophers have also been looking at morality, especially in the form of an inquiry into its definition, meaning, or nature, and into its logic, categories, and justification, but usually with some aloofness from the fray, thinking of themselves rather as elucidating morality than as revising or replacing it, leaving the driving to others, or taking for granted that morality is essentially sound as it stands, though sometimes defending it or at least studying the logic of the question ‘Why should I be moral?’. (shrink)
Today, as so often in the past, there is much ado about morality. Theologians, psychologists, social scientists, journalists, novelists, students, drop-outs, women's libbers, and people on the street are all asking pointed questions about it. Some are for de-moralizing society and the individual, asking either whether an individual should try to be moral or to assume a morality if he has it not, and if so why; or even whether our society should have a morality at all or has any (...) right to have one - asking in short, whether we should not “kick” the moral habit we have cultivated for so long. For those who reply that we should, there is the further question what is to take the place of morality, and the answers range from love, through religion, sincerity, authenticity, and doing one's own thing, to selfishness, an enlarged system of law and order, or just nothing at all. Those who think we should keep morality, on the other hand, often argue for a “new morality,” looking for a new moral wine and even for new bottles to put it in. Non-moralism and new-moralism are in the air, along with more than the usual intimations of immorality, and it is with them, and only indirectly with the immorality, that I am now concerned. (shrink)
In response to Hauerwas, Frankena explores the nature of a moral virtue and the relation between virtue and obligation. He argues that those notions are not related in all the ways Hauerwas suggests and that the ties that do link them can be understood on the basis of an ethical analysis that gives primacy to moral obligation. In response to both Hauerwas and Carney, he examines the relation between morality and religion and argues that his analysis of the concept of (...) morality allows an adequate understanding of both systems of thought. (shrink)