Does moral theory drive philosophy of action?Here’s what I mean.A main question of philosophy of action is what an action is.It seems to me that the answer to this question is strongly influenced by what type of moral theory one accepts.
Desire Satisfactionism is true. (UDS, is roughly, the view that how
well one's life is going for oneself is determined by the extent to
which one's desires are satisfied or frustrated.) I have some naive
questions about harm given UDS, and some parallel questions about the
badness of death. More below the fold.
We are pleased to announce that Michelle Mason has accepted our invitation to be a contributor here at PEA Soup. Michelle is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota and specializes in ethics, moral psychology, and theories of practical reason. It's great to have you aboard, Michelle!
Our US readers are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.The inaugurators of this holiday conceived of it as a time for giving thanks to God for the various good things of this life.In a secular culture—or rather, for secular people—is there anything to be retained of the day’s original purpose?Many people think there is something to be said for maintaining a general attitude of thankfulness, but towards no one in particular.Is this conceivable?And even if it is, is it desirable?
Talking of perhaps irrational features of the philosophical
world, sometimes I’m worried that there are certain kinds of double standards
in our community. What goes for you, does not go for me, what goes for those
people, does not go for certain other group, and so on. I agree with many comments
in the previous thread that in assessing normative and metaethical views we
cannot but accept certain moral ‘truisms’, normative bedrocks. But, I often
wonder whether these bedrocks are given the same weight in different debates. If
this is not the case, then I’d like to know why.
Expressivism, or more generally moral anti-realism, is an area of tremendous philosophical endeavor these days, despite being counterintuitive to plain persons and a research program which has a history of making progress only at the cost of eliminating distinctions between itself and its rivals.(OK, so I tipped my hand there.)Why is it so popular?What are the fundamental motivations behind it, and which is/are primary?Or in other words, why do so many smart people think they can’t be moral realists?I can think of four motivations, but I couldn’t say which is uppermost in people’s minds.Since there are no doubt plenty of anti-realists who read this blog, maybe they can improve my understanding.
After having contributed one whole substantive post to this blog, I’m now going to take selfish advantage of the power of this public forum to request our readers’ help with an issue I’ve been working on.I have an idea that seems original to me, but want to be sure I’m not overlooking important work already developed in the literature.
By no means am I an expert on either Locke or Hobbes.But my understanding is that the scholarly consensus is that these two philosophers offer us very different, and mutually incompatible understandings of the State of Nature (SoN).I think the assumption of mutual incompatibility is mistaken, and that that this has important implications for contemporary moral and political debate.
Advocates of moral dilemmas claim that there are possible cases in which no action open to an agent is morally permissible.If we translated this into Gibbard-speak, it would come out roughly, “Sometimes there’s nothing it is okay to do.”But such a claim cannot express a plan or system of plans for action; in every situation, you wind up doing something.So the moral dilemmatists’ claim is on Gibbard’s view something like analytically false (he calls it “inconsistent”), and anyone who made such a claim would be deeply confused.However, advocates of moral dilemmas seem to understand what they’re saying; they don’t seem to suffer from fundamental confusion, even if they are wrong.How should we explain this?