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.
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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)