Moral Philosophy Seminar (Monday - Week 1, HT19)

Moral Philosophy Seminar

Moral Philosophy Seminar

Wouldn't it be sad or depressing if an error theory about morality or practical reasons were true? In this paper, I defend an extreme version of this reaction, which I'll call 'nihilistic despair' -- despair at the supposed truth of some irrealist metaethical view.

I first defend the cogency of such despair, against an argument by Guy Kahane that it is a muddle. Second, I give an account of what features of nihilism and internalism about reasons, respectively, could be depressing. Third, though it might sound a little paradoxical, I'll consider what advice we might give to someone in the grip of nihilistic despair.


Members of the audience are invited to join the speaker and the convenor for drinks and dinner at a local restaurant following the talk (at their own expense). Please contact Ed Lamb at edward.lamb@philosophy.ox.ac.uk to reserve a place. There will obviously be some limit on the number of people who can attend.  In future terms the event time may be changed to 15.00, which would make it possible for all to go to pre-dinner drinks. Please let Ed Lamb know if this change of time would make you more or less likely to attend.

List of site pages