It’s an unexpected honor to be included in this series along
with greats like Tom Hurka, Tim Scanlon, Sally Haslanger, Elizabeth Anderson, Nomy
Arpaly, and David Enoch, so let me start by thanking Dale and
the Daves for including me. This summer,
between moving house and trying to enjoy some time with my daughter, who just
had her first birthday, I’m trying to spend some time reflecting on my work so
far, and how it fits together. So I
thought that the best way to open this discussion would be to say something
general, and then open up the discussion to questions on any topic whatsoever.
I’ve been recently interested in subjectivism and how serious the objections to it are in the end. In part, this is a project of thinking how well or badly off the view comes out when we compare it to expressivism. In this post, I am interested in the claim that subjectivism makes morality objectionably dependent on our attitudes. The strategy which subjectivists have often recently adopted is to try to argue that subjectivists can usually give similar responses to objections as expressivists. Here, I want to use this strategy to explore the mind-dependence objection.
Russ Shafer-Landau has just announced a Call for Papers for a new paper
competition: the Marc Sanders Prize in Metaethics. The winner of the prize will receive $8,000, present his or
her paper at the upcoming Wisconsin Metaethics Workshop
(https://sites.google.com/site/wiscmew/), and have the winning
paper included in a forthcoming volume of Oxford Studies in
Metaethics. Details below the fold.
This conference will be in Los Angeles on May 20-22, 2013. Note that the deadline for submitting an abstract is extended by one week to Jan 8th.
Keynote Speaker: Angelika Kratzer (UMass-Amherst)
Invited Speakers: John Broome (Oxford) Jeff Horty (Maryland) Frank Jackson (ANU/Princeton) Paul Portner (Georgetown)
Seven additional speakers will be selected on the basis of submitted abstracts. All three-page abstracts submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
by January 8th , 2013 will receive full consideration.
I'm in the midst of writing for a general audience about what I'm calling the 'Asymmetry Challenge' for (pure, noncognitivist) expressivism. The Challenge is to jointly solve the Sentential Mood, Truth-Aptness, and Asymmetric Embedding problems. These three problems are often recognized individually, though I think that jointly solving them is more difficult than many appreciate.
The source of the Asymmetry Challenge lies in the expressivist view that the moral sentences we typically use to express desire-like states or to prescribe behavior have important features that other kinds of sentences lack, even though these latter kinds of sentences paradigmatically express desire-like states or prescribe behavior. Moral sentences, unlike these other kinds of sentences, are declarative, truth-apt, and embeddable into a wider array of complex, linguistic constructions. But what feature could moral sentences have that these others sentences lack—again, especially when moral sentences function so much like these other types of sentences—that warrants this asymmetry? I'm hoping some of you may have suggestions or questions that might help me as I write my way through the Challenge.
I'm pleased to announce a call for abstracts for the next St. Louis Conference on Reasons and Rationality, sponsored by UMSL and Washington University. Many PEA Soupers have participated the past three years.
May 19 – 21, 2013 Moonrise Hotel in St Louis, MO
Keynote Speaker: Michael Smith (Princeton)
St. Louis Annual Conference on Reasons and Rationality (SLACRR) provides a forum for new work on practical and theoretical reason, broadly construed. Please submit an abstract of 750-1500 words by December 31, 2012 to SLACRR (at) gmail.com. In writing your abstract, please bear in mind that full papers should suitable for a 30 minute presentation.
What to Submit
SLACRR includes papers in ethics, epistemology, and other areas of philosophy that deal with reasons, reasoning, or rationality. For instance, we would be interested in papers exploring such questions as:
• What is the relation between reasons for actions and reasons for beliefs? • What are the sources of our reasons for belief? • How are features of one’s psychology relevant to reasons? • What is the relation between reasons and what we ought to do or believe? • What is the relation between reasons and value? • Are the requirements of practical and theoretical rationality normative? • What is the relation between individual rationality and collective rationality?
For more information, see http://www.umsl.edu/~slacrr/
I am teaching a graduate-level metaethics survey course this semester and would like to give my students a flowchart to help them keep track of the field. I've seen a couple around but none were quite what I was looking for. So I'm making my own. I'm posting it here in the hopes that (selfishly) I get feedback and (somewhat less selfishly) others will be able to make use of it. The current draft is here:
Deontic or normative modality is a subject of common interest for researchers in several fields, including moral philosophy, linguistics, formal logic, and metaethics. However, over the last three decades, research in these different fields has largely been conducted independently, and researchers have often ignored work in the other fields as having no bearing on the concerns of their own field. But recent work has begun to bring these fields together in fruitful ways. This conference is motivated by the view that ethical, linguistic, logical, and metaethical enquiry into deontic modality can all profitably learn from one another. It aims to bring together leading and creative thinkers in each field in the belief that we may all benefit from each others’ expertise, advancing our collective understanding of this subject.
The conference will be held in Los Angeles on May 20-22, 2013, at the University of Southern California. The Keynote Speaker will be Angelika Kratzer (University of Massachusetts-Amherst). Invited speakers include John Broome (Oxford), Jeff Horty (University of Maryland College Park), Frank Jackson (Australian National University/Princeton University), and Paul Portner (Georgetown University). Seven additional speakers will be selected on the basis of submitted abstracts.