Moral Philosophy Seminar (Monday - Week 8, HT22)

moral philosophy

Taking advice requires not just the acceptance of a truth, but also the will to do as the advisor recommends. It is a conative as well as a cognitive matter. What about giving advice? Is it simply cognitive matter, or is it also a conative matter? More precisely, does advice paradigmatically express the will of the advisor, in addition to their beliefs about what to do? I will argue that the answer to this question is ‘yes’. And I will show how the failure to appreciate the conative character of such advice obscures a central vice of the hypocrite. Correlatively, an account that recognizes its conative character makes it possible to explain why we view someone who doesn’t practice what they preach as (among other things) a phony or a fraud. More generally, a study of hypocrisy promises to be a fruitful vantage point from which to examine the relation between words and deeds.

Moral Philosophy Seminar Convenor: Jeremy Fix