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Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 4 HT11

Event Name Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 4 HT11
Start Date 7th Feb 2011 4:30pm
End Date 7th Feb 2011 6:30pm
Duration 2 hours
Description

Michael Smith (Princeton) 'Naturalism, Absolutism, Relativism' to be held in the Lecture Room, 10 Merton Street, Oxford - Seminars in Moral Philosophy webpage

Abstract

Gilbert Harman begins his essay "Is There a Single True Morality?" by telling us that "[a]s far back as [he] can remember thinking about it, it has always seemed to [him] obvious that the dictates of morality arise from some sort of convention or understanding among people, that different people arrive at different understandings, and that there are no basic moral demands that apply to everyone". Having said this, however, he immediately admits that this opinion isn't shared by many of his philosophical colleagues, and he goes on to explore the issue that divides them. Harman's hypothesis is that they have different attitudes towards naturalism. Naturalism, he tells us, decisively favours the view that basic moral demands apply only to some. He therefore spends the bulk of his paper trying to make out that connection. This is an extremely important conclusion, if it is correct, so my aim is to consider the arguments that Harman provides to support his hypothesis. Contrary to Harman, I argue that the view that moral demands apply only to some gains no support from naturalism, and I attempt to identify where the real source of support for that view lies.

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