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By In Metaethics Comments (13)

For S***’s Sake!

UPDATE!! SCIENTIFIC PROOF THAT A SUBSTANTIVE PROPERTY OF FINAL VALUE IS A PHILOSOPHER'S FANTASY (AND THAT EVEN PHILOSOPHERS DON'T TRULY BELIEVE IT).

(Sorry for the sensationalism, but suddenly one needs to compete for an audience around here!  And I think I "buried the lead" in my original post.)…

I thought I’d take this opportunity to present one of the crazier ideas I’ve been working on.  In the spirit of Philippa Foot’s “Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives” (1972) and like-minded philosophers, I’ve argued (e.g. in my forthcoming book, Confusion of Tongues) that thin normative words like ‘good’ and ‘ought’ are essentially relativized to ends or goals (what I call an “end-relational” theory).  So any logically complete sentence of the form ‘p is good’ is implicitly relativized to some relevant end: ‘p is good [for e]’, which I’ve interpreted as meaning roughly that p promotes/ raises the probability of e, or: e is more likely given p than given not-p.

This view encounters an obvious objection from final value: judgments about what is good “for its own sake”.  What should an end-relational theory say about ‘good for its own sake’?

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By In News and Events Comments Off on USC Deontic Modality Workshop

USC Deontic Modality Workshop

Los Angeles, May 20-22, 2013

Deontic or normative modality is a subject of common interest for researchers in several fields, including moral philosophy, metaethics, linguistic semantics, and deontic logic.  This workshop brings together leading and creative thinkers in each of these fields in order to advance our collective understanding of this subject.  The keynote address will be given by Angelika Kratzer (Umass-Amherst); other talks will be given by John Broome (Oxford), Frank Jackson (Princeton/ANU), Jeff Horty (Maryland), Paul Portner (Georgetown), Cleo Condoravdi & Sven Lauer (Stanford), Dan Lassiter (Stanford), Aynat Rubinstein (Georgetown), Jennifer Carr (MIT), Paul McNamara (New Hampshire), Joshua Knobe & Zoltan Szabo (Yale), and Malte Willer (Chicago).  Additionally, selected work by other innovative scholars will be featured in a poster session.  The full program can be viewed here.

Registration is free; to register please email finlay@usc.edu no later than May 1, and also indicate if you wish to attend the conference dinner on Tuesday, May 21.  For further information email either Mark Schroeder (maschroe@usc.edu) or Steve Finlay (finlay@usc.edu).

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By In News and Events Comments Off on CFP: Felician Ethics Conference

CFP: Felician Ethics Conference

The seventh
annual meeting of the Felician Ethics Conference will be held at the Rutherford
Campus of Felician College on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 223 Montross Ave,
Rutherford, NJ 07070

Plenary Speaker:
Robert Audi
John A. O’Brien
Professor of Philosophy
University of
Notre Dame

Submissions on
any topic in moral philosophy (broadly construed) are welcome, not exceeding 25
minutes' presentation time (approximately 3,000 words). Please send submissions
(completed papers, no abstracts or proposals, please) via email in
format suitable for blind review by Feb. 15, 2013 to: felicianethicsconference@gmail.com.

Submissions are
invited for a Special Session devoted to Catholic Social Teaching, not
exceeding 25 minutes’ presentation time (approximately 3000 words), in format
suitable for blind review, by Feb. 15, 2013. Please indicate that the paper is
intended for the Special Session. (Please limit submit submissions either
to the Special Session or to the main session; no double submissions, please.)

Please direct any
questions about the conference to Irfan Khawaja, (201) 559-6000 (x6288),
or felicianethicsconference@gmail.com.

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By In Metaethics, News and Events Comments (1)

Final CFA/ Deadline Extension: USC Deontic Modality Workshop

This conference will be in Los Angeles on May 20-22, 2013.  Note that the deadline for submitting an abstract is extended by one week to Jan 8th.

Keynote Speaker:
Angelika Kratzer (UMass-Amherst)

Invited Speakers:
John Broome (Oxford)
Jeff Horty (Maryland)
Frank Jackson (ANU/Princeton)
Paul Portner (Georgetown)

Seven additional speakers will be selected on the basis of submitted abstracts.  All three-page abstracts submitted to maschroe@usc.edu or finlay@usc.edu
by January 8th , 2013 will receive full consideration.

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By In Metaethics, News and Events Comments Off on Call for Abstracts: Deontic Modality Workshop at USC, May 2013

Call for Abstracts: Deontic Modality Workshop at USC, May 2013

Deontic or normative modality is a subject of common interest for researchers in several fields,
including moral philosophy, linguistics, formal logic, and metaethics.  However, over the last three decades, research in these different fields has largely been conducted independently, and researchers have often ignored work in the other fields as having no bearing on the concerns of their own field.  But recent work has begun to bring these fields together in fruitful ways.  This conference is motivated by the view that ethical, linguistic, logical, and metaethical enquiry into deontic modality can all profitably learn from one another.  It aims to bring together leading and creative thinkers in each field in the belief that we may all benefit from each others’ expertise, advancing our collective understanding of this subject.

The conference will be held in Los Angeles on May 20-22, 2013, at the University of Southern California.  The Keynote Speaker will be Angelika Kratzer (University of Massachusetts-Amherst).  Invited speakers include John Broome (Oxford), Jeff Horty (University of Maryland College Park), Frank Jackson (Australian National University/Princeton University), and Paul Portner (Georgetown University).  Seven additional speakers will be selected on the basis of submitted abstracts.

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By In Metaethics, News and Events Comments (1)

Moral Realism Discussion at TAR?

I thought I might direct people’s attention to Brian Weatherson’s blog, Thoughts, Arguments and Rants, where the journal Philosophy Compass is trying out a new experiment: discussion forums for their recently published articles. I’m pleased that they’ve chosen my survey paper on the moral realism debate as one of three articles for this experiment. They’ve made access to the article free for this purpose. So far it seems that the experiment isn’t meeting with much success.

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By In Moral Psychology Comments (14)

Because I Have To

One venerable objection against the principle that all motivation derives from desire points to the motive of duty, or practical necessity, as phenomenological evidence of its falsity. Supposedly, the experience of doing something because you have to (or, per Kant, the experience of being able to do something because you have to) is qualitatively distinct from the experience of doing something motivated by desire.

I think, however, that this phenomenological character of the motive of duty can be explained in a way fully compatible with the Motivation-by-Desire Principle. Here I’ll try to explain how. In part, what I’m looking for from this post (other than the usual insightful criticism from fellow Pea-Soupers) is a sense of whether this project is interesting enough to spend any time on.

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