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Reasons for All Seasons: An Outline of Rationalist View of Moral Concepts
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to provide an adequate view of moral concepts. The major obstacle that stands in the way of providing such a view is the problem of combining two general features of moral judgments that seem to be constitutive of their meaning, namely objectivity and practical significance. The thesis offers an argument intended to show that these features can be successfully combined, and suggests how they can be combined. Part I explains the main problem that arises in connection with attempts to reconcile the objectivity and practical significance of moral judgments. It also contains a critical discussion of two ethical views that may be proposed as a solution to this problem. The first of these views is ethical naturalism and the second is ethical rationalism, which construes moral concepts in terms of practical rational requirements. It is argued that the former view is incapable of solving the reconciliation problem, while the later seems to be much more promising in this respect. Part II provides an extensive argument in favour of the conceptual cogency of ethical rationalism. In addition, this part of the book offers a derivation of objective standards of correctness applying to our ends, and explains why desires conforming to such standards can serve as good, albeit defeasible, reasons for holding moral beliefs. Part III is devoted to demonstrating that moral judgments, construed in line with the rationalist analysis defended in Part III, can be known to be true (or false). In essence, this demonstration of moral objectivity comes down to two things. First, it is explained what makes it the case that certain objectively determinable rational requirements apply to us as reflective agents. Second, it is explained when we are epistemically justified in judging that a certain particular rational requirement applies to us.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Filosofiska institutionen , 2001. , 252 p.
Keyword [en]
Philosophy, moral concepts, the Reconciliation Problem, ethical rationalism, rational requirements, reflective agency, the Aristokantian proposal, generic deontic rules
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
Practical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1544ISBN: 91-506-1525-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1544DiVA: diva2:161133
Public defence
2001-12-14, Room IV, University Main Building, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2001-11-22 Created: 2001-11-22Bibliographically approved

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