This paper outlines my theory of moral perception, extends the theory beyond its previous statements, and defends it from a number of objections posed in the literature. The paper distinguishes the perceptible from the perceptual; develops a structural analogy between perception and action; explains how moral perception, despite its normative status, can be causal in the way appropriate to genuine perception; clarifies the respects in which moral perception is representational; and indicates how it provides an objective basis for moral knowledge. In the light of this account of moral perception,…
I describe my engagement with Habermas’s ideas, and sketch a way of reading of Hegel that I take to be consonant with the deepest lessons I have learned from Habermas. I read Hegel as having a social, linguistic theory of normativity, and an exclusively retrospective conception of progress and the sense in which history exhibits teleological normativity.
The paper advances a broadly Wittgensteinian conception of the nature and limits of philosophy. It differs from Wittgenstein over the claims that (i) philosophical problems arise only when language is idling; (ii) that philosophy does not result in new knowledge: it does. But the new knowledge does not concern the nature of the world, but the character of our forms of description of the world, and its form is not discovery but realisation. (iii) in the domain of practical philosophy further considerations come into play that are not budgeted for…
The paper reexamines Moore’s early (1890s-1903) metaphysics and critically examines some recent discussion (Bell, MacBride) of both Moore’s metaphysics and the significance of the latter for his more well-known works of the early 20th century. In doing so it focuses on (1) the distinction between natural and non-natural properties, (2) problems regarding universals, relations, particulars, “tropes” and predication, and (3) the matter of “intentionality”—both as issues and as they arise in Moore’s early writings.
One Cheer for Autonomy-centered Perfectionism: An Arm’s-length Defense of Joseph Raz’s Perfectionism Against an Allegation of Internal Inconsistency
In the present article, I will concentrate sustainedly on a central strand of Jonathan Quong’s critique of Joseph Raz’s autonomy-centered liberal perfectionism. Rightly taking Raz to have offered the most elaborate and prominent version of autonomy-centered perfectionism in the contemporary debates over such matters, Quong devotes much of the first half of his book to contesting a number of Raz’s positions. This article will defend Raz against one of Quong’s chief objections, an allegation of internal inconsistency.
A traditional conception of ontology takes existence to be its proprietary subject matter—ontology is the study of what exists (§ 1). Recently, Jonathan Schaffer has argued that ontology is better thought of rather as the study of what is basic or fundamental in reality (§ 2). My goal here is twofold. First, I want to argue that while Schaffer’s characterization is quite plausible for some ontological questions, for others it is not (§ 3). More importantly, I want to offer a unified characterization of ontology that covers both existence and…
Empty names present Millianism with a well-known problem: it implies that sentences containing such names fail to express (fully determinate) propositions. The present paper argues that empty descriptions present Millianism with another problem. The paper describes this problem, shows why Millians should be worried, and provides a Millian-friendly solution. The concluding section draws some lessons about how all this affects Millianism and the problem of empty names.
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In some of its many forms, happiness is no emotion. But there is also an emotion of happiness which, like other emotions, has correctness conditions. The correctness conditions of happiness differ in several respects, formal and non-formal, from those of emotions such as admiration, fear and indignation. The account given here of the correctness conditions of happiness suggests an account of happiness as a species of satisfaction and an account of the relation between happiness and affective rationality or reason.