Having posted on Mackie's argument from relativity some time ago, I'd like to return to it now and ask whether the argument (or at least what I think is the best version of it) is inconsistent with other components of Mackie's error theory.
In its simplest form, the argument claims that first-order moral disagreement is sufficiently deep and pervasive that the best explanation of this disagreement is that there are no objective moral facts to which we can appeal to settle such disagreement. In short, fundamental moral disagreement (disagreement at the level of basic moral principles or beliefs) is rationally intractable. If this is so, then moral disagreement cannot be traced to one party to the disagreement having the correct conception of the relevant moral facts, while the other has an incorrect conception.
good, or valuable, is not a property that itself provides a reason to respond
to a thing in certain ways. Rather, to be good or valuable is to have other
properties that constitute such reasons. (Scanlon 1998, 97)
Thus Scanlon is a proponent of the buck-passing
account of value (BPV) who accepts both the following negative thesis and the
following positive thesis:
Several of you might have heard of this excellent philosophical time waster before, but it's new to me (apparently it was first devised by Wilfrid Sellars): Identify three foods A, B, and C such that any two of these are complementary (taste good in combination) but the trio does not. So A and B must be complementary, B and C must be complementary, and A and C must be complementary, but A, B, and C must be foul when combined together. (It's harder than I thought!)
After Keith DeRose's recent post on the apparent end of ThePhilosopher's Annual, Brian Weatherson suggested that some blogs, such as PEA Soup, might help take over their task (see this Certain Doubts post for more discussion). For various reasons, we're not quite prepared to attempt to come up with the 10 best articles of the year, or even the 10 best ethics articles, but we do like the ideas of providing recommendations for good reading and recognizing quality work.
Accordingly, we thought it appropriate to solicit nominations for a new feature: PEA Soup's Notable Ethics Articles 2005-2006. (The last PA was apparently 2003, and we will miss '04, but because of the lag time at some journals, it seems appropriate to have it cover the two most recent years.) Again, this is not an attempt to divine the "best" ethics articles for these two years, but merely to recognize and recommend articles that PEA Soup participants find notable. Note that "PEA Soup participants" should be construed broadly. Even if you're just a reader who's been lurking out there, you are welcome to nominate.
So, please post, in the comments section here, your favorite articles in ethics (broadly construed) for 2005-2006. In order to keep this list relatively selective, please limit yourself to two nominations total. Also, please post your references in the following manner, in order to keep things manageable: Author, Article Title, Journal Title, Volume, Year, Pages. Comments will close January 31.
Congratulations in advance to everyone who makes the list!
I think Heath's previous excellent post on the problems of expressivism brings up another problem - a version of the Frege-Geach problem, or a new aspect of it, that I hadn't thought about. I'm sure someone has already spotted this and that there is an expressivist reply to it but I thought this would be worth putting up. It was fun to do anyway.
As regular readers of this blog will no doubt have noticed, I have a continuing fascination with expressivism.It both attracts and repels me, much like a David Lynch movie.I’ve been trying to figure out what it is, exactly, that I don’t like.
Consider, in this vein, Moral Beliefism.MB is a cognitivist view:it’s the view that when you make moral utterances, you are expressing your moral beliefs.Well, what realist could want more?But listen to the following dialogue between Mob (a MOral Beliefist) and Og (the Other Guy).Mob, like many metaethicists in professional mode, helpfully glosses all her moral utterances:
Mob:Torture is wrong.Of course, when I say that, I am just expressing my moral belief that torture is wrong.
Og:What do you mean you’re “just expressing your belief”?It’s not as if this kind of thing is morally optional.
Mob:No, of course it’s not optional.Of course, when I say that, I’m just expressing my belief that my belief that torture is wrong is not optional.
Og:Dude, torture is very very bad.
Mob:I totally agree!Of course, in agreeing with you, I am just expressing my belief that torture is very very bad.
Something has always bothered me about Parfit's treatment of Scanlon's contractualism both in his "Justifiability to Each Other" and in the new Climbing the Mountain. Finally after years of being troubled by this I think I'm starting to be able to put my finger on it.
I'm a huge fan of sixties and seventies soul. I also love many of these songs for their lyrics. Some of them offer philosophical insights in a style that few philosophers are able to even come close. Here's a great example from Stevie Wonder.