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Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 4 TT09

Event Name Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 4 TT09
Start Date 18th May 2009 4:30pm
End Date 18th May 2009 6:30pm
Duration 2 hours

Stephan Finlay (University of Southern California), ' Metaethical Contextualism Defended ' to be held in the Lecture Room, 10 Merton Street, Oxford - Seminars in Moral Philosophy webpage


Epistemic and deontic judgments (involving modals like ‘must’, ‘may’, and ‘ought’) seem to be essentially relative to different sets of information, and it is a perennially popular view that deontic judgments are additionally relative to different standards or ends. There are three schools of thought on how to accommodate this relativity in the semantics of modals: contextualism, invariantism, and relativism. For many reasons contextualism is a natural and appealing view, but recently it has been the target of a barrage of objections. In this paper we defend a form of contextualism about deontic modals against these objections, and argue that they fail to show any advantage for contextualism’s rivals. Many of our points can be generalized for contextualist treatments of other kinds of terms, but here we limit our focus to the deontic case.

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