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Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 5 MT12

Event Name Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 5 MT12
Start Date 5th Nov 2012 4:30pm
End Date 5th Nov 2012 6:30pm
Duration 2 hours

Speaker: Patrick Todd (Munich/Innsbruck)

Title: The Perfection of Morality

Venue: Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, OX2 6GG

Abstract: There are various standard ways of objecting to first-order moral theories like Kantianism and utilitarianism, or moral principles such as that ‘ought implies can’. The most familiar way, of course, is simply to appeal to intuitions about cases: utilitarianism (say) implies that the doctor ought to kill the one to save the five, and this is counterintuitive. But there are other ways philosophers have objected to such moral theses. In particular, we sometimes may judge of a given moral thesis, not only that it isn’t true, but that it would be (in a sense to be explained) bad if it were true. But that it would be bad that a moral thesis is true can seem, oddly, to give us reason to think that it isn’t true. There are various instances of this sort of argument in moral theory, but the picture of morality motivating these objections remains unclear, and underexplored. In this paper, I claim that these sorts of arguments are motivated by an implicit commitment to what I call the perfection of morality – the thesis that if there is non-outweighed moral value in morality being a certain way, then morality is that way. Once we see it for what it is, the question of the perfection of morality becomes one of the most fundamental – and most ignored – questions in moral theory.

Webpage: Seminars in Moral Philosophy

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