Normative Ethics
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By In NDPR Discussion Forum, Normative Ethics Comments (12)

NDPR Discussion Forum on Owen Flanagan’s The Geography of Morals

Welcome to our discussion thread on Owen Flanagan’s The Geography of Morals, recently reviewed by Regina Rini for NDPR. We have invited Owen and Regina to provide any comments they’d like on either the book or the review, and we hope other readers of PEA Soup will chime in with thoughts on either the book or the review as well.

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By In Ideas, Normative Ethics, Political Philosophy, Practical reasons, Reasons and rationality Comments (8)

Conversion Stories

Much is made these days of ideological bubbles and commitment cocoons (OK, I made up that one), in which people stick to their beliefs regardless of any “evidence” or “reasoning” otherwise. But, let’s admit it, it’s hard to change your mind about something you’ve been committed to solely based on your assessment of reasons. This is true even for — perhaps especially for — professional philosophers.

It might be worth hearing, then, about your true conversion stories and the role contrary reasons played for you: What moral/political view were you committed to — perhaps even published about — that you abandoned solely in the face of good reasons otherwise? Were the reasons available to you all along and you just saw them in a newly salient light, or were they new reasons to you? Have you “backslid”? Have you gone on to publish on the contrary view? (See my conversion story below the fold.)

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By In Discussions, Normative Ethics, P&PA Discussions, Value Theory Comments (24)

Philosophy and Public Affairs Discussion at PEA Soup: Theron Pummer’s “Whether and Where to Give” with a critical précis by Johann Frick

Welcome to what we expect to be an engaging and productive discussion of Theron Pummer‘s “Whether and Where to Give.” The paper appears in the Winter 2016 issue of Philosophy and Public Affairs, and it is available through open access here. Our conversation begins below with a critical précis by Johann Frick. Please join in the discussion!

Précis by Johann Frick:

It is a pleasure to kick off our discussion of Theron Pummer’s excellent and thought-provoking article “Whether and Where to Give” (Philosophy & Public Affairs, 2016). I will begin with a brief synopsis of some of Theron’s main claims, followed by some critical comments and questions.

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By In Discussions, JMP Discussions, Normative Ethics Comments (32)

Journal of Moral Philosophy Discussion at PEA Soup: Molly Gardner’s “On the Strength of the Reason Against Harming,” with a critical précis by Fiona Woollard

Welcome to what will surely be an incredibly interesting and productive discussion of Molly Gardner‘s excellent paper “On the Strength of the Reason Against Harming.” This paper was published in the first issue of this year’s Journal of Moral Philosophy. They have kindly provided free access to the paper, which can be viewed or downloaded here. Fiona Woollard has written a critical précis, which is included below. Please join today’s discussion!

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By In Ideas, Moral Psychology, Normative Ethics, Reasons and rationality Comments (15)

Can psychopaths make judgments of worth?

There’s a longstanding dispute about whether psychopaths are morally responsible. For our purposes, just stipulate that psychopaths are blind to moral reasons, that is, they lack moral, or normative, competence. There’s not much disagreement on this point (for psychopaths who score very highly on the Hare Checklist). The disagreement, instead, is over whether normative competence is necessary for moral responsibility. Suppose a psychopath sees that hitting you with a baseball bat will cause you pain, but he does it anyway because it’s fun. So, it’s thought, he judges hitting you to be worth doing, and he also judges that your interests don’t matter. Isn’t that sufficient to ground apt moral blame, and so sufficient for his being morally responsible?

Or so a school of thought goes (represented by Tim Scanlon, Angela Smith, Matt Talbert, and Pamela Hieronymi). What matters is that the psychopath at least has the rational capacity to form judgments of worth, i.e., make evaluative judgments of reasons. If he does, then it doesn’t matter if he’s blind to one subset of reasons; he’s still blameworthy for judging that the bad thing is worth doing and judging that other considerations don’t matter.

I want to try out an argument against this stance and see what you think.

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By In Normative Ethics, Uncategorized Comments (2)

Favorite papers on: Perfectionism or Neo-Aristotealian Ethics

Hoping folks will share with the group their favorite papers on the topic of Perfectionism or Neo-Aristotelian Ethics. Perhaps people might add what level they think the paper is most appropriate for (grad seminar, undergrad intro, etc.). A short explanation of what the paper says or what makes it great might be useful as well.

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By In Metaethics, Normative Ethics, Uncategorized Comments (6)

Favorite readings on: Subjectivism

Hoping folks will share with the group their favorite papers on the topic of subjectivism. Perhaps people might add what level they think the paper is most appropriate for (grad seminar, undergrad intro, etc.). A short explanation of what the paper says or what makes it great might be useful as well.

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