Anti-Theory

Edited by Nick Smyth (Fordham University, Fordham University)
About this topic
Summary "Anti-theory" is a label often applied to a group of ethical philosophers who, despite substantial disagreements in other areas, possess a shared skepticism towards the aspirations of moral theory.  They share a sense that moral theories--in virtue of trying to reduce all moral considerations to a very small set of general values or principles--cannot do justice to the complexity, particularity or "messiness" of ordinary life.  Insofar as moral theories aim to produce sets of reasons for action which aspire to rational authority over the lives of individual decision-makers, the anti-theorist claims that the moral theory must fail, and they will often (though, not always) point to some absurd or counterintuitive implication of a moral theory in support of that claim.
Key works The anti-theory movement is usually traced to Elizabeth Anscombe's seminal critique of modern moral philosophy in Anscombe 1958.  Following her, Foot 1958 and Winch 1965 offered arguments against the idea of a moral theory as it was then concieved.  Bernard Williams was by far the most influential and dedicated anti-theorist, see Williams 1976, Williams 1985, Smart & Williams 1973, and Williams & Nagel 1976.  Other important contributions to the genre include Wolf 1982, Stocker 1976 and Chapter 1 of MacIntyre 1983.
Introductions Clarke 1987
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116 found
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  1. The Right Wrong‐Makers.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):426-440.
    Right- and wrong-making features ("moral grounds") are widely believed to play important normative roles, e.g. in morally apt or virtuous motivation. This paper argues that moral grounds have been systematically misidentified. Canonical statements of our moral theories tend to summarize, rather than directly state, the full range of moral grounds posited by the theory. Further work is required to "unpack" a theory's criterion of rightness and identify the features that are of ground-level moral significance. As a result, it is not (...)
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  2. Whence the Demand for Ethical Theory?Damian Cueni & Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):135–46.
    Where does the impetus towards ethical theory come from? What drives humans to make values explicit, consistent, and discursively justifiable? This paper situates the demand for ethical theory in human life by identifying the practical needs that give rise to it. Such a practical derivation puts the demand in its place: while finding a home for it in the public decision-making of modern societies, it also imposes limitations on the demand by presenting it as scalable and context-sensitive. This differentiates strong (...)
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  3. Wittgenstein’s Moral Thought.Reshef Agam-Segal & Edmund Dain (eds.) - 2018 - Routledge.
    This book offers a radical reappraisal of the nature and significance of Wittgenstein’s thought about ethics from a variety of different perspectives. The book includes essays on Wittgenstein’s early remarks on ethics in the _Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,_ on his 1929 "Lecture on Ethics", and on various aspects of Wittgenstein’s later views on ethics in the _Philosophical Investigations_ and elsewhere. Together, the essays in this volume provide a comprehensive assessment of Wittgenstein’s moral thought throughout his work, its continuity and development between his (...)
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  4. ‘What Is Ethical Cannot Be Taught’ – Understanding Moral Theories as Descriptions of Moral Grammar”.Anne-Marie Soendergaard Christensen - 2018 - In Reshef Agam-Segal & Edmund Dain (eds.), Wittgenstein’s Moral Thought. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 175-199.
    Traditionally, the development of moral theories has been considered one of the main aims of moral philosophy. In contrast, Wittgenstein was very critical of the use of theories both in philosophy in general and in moral philosophy in particular, and philosophers inspired by his philosophy have become some of the most prominent critics of both particular, contemporary moral theories and the idea of moral theory as such. Nonetheless, this article aims to show how Wittgenstein’s later philosophy offers us resources for (...)
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  5. Wittgenstein’s Moral Thought.Edmund Dain - 2018 - In Reshef Agam-Segal & Edmund Dain (eds.), Wittgenstein's Moral Thought. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 9-35.
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  6. The Inevitability of Inauthenticity: Bernard Williams on Practical Alienation.Nick Smyth - 2018 - In Sophie Grace Chappell & Marcel van Ackeren (eds.), Ethics Beyond the Limits: New Essays on Bernard Williams' Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. New York: Routledge.
  7. Moral Objectivity: A Kantian Illusion?Carla Bagnoli - 2015 - Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):31-45.
    Some moral claims strike us as objective. It is often argued that this shows morality to be objective. Moral experience – broadly construed – is invoked as the strongest argument for moral realism, the thesis that there are moral facts or properties.See e.g. Jonathan Dancy, “Two conceptions of Moral Realism,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 60 : 167–187. Realists, however, cannot appropriate the argument from moral experience. In fact, constructivists argue that to validate the ways we experience the objectivity of (...)
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  8. “How Encounters with Values Generate Demandingness”, in Michael Kuehler and Marcel van Ackeren, The Limits of Obligation, Routledge.Sophie Grace Chappell - 2015 - In Michael Kuehler and Marcel van Ackeren (ed.), The Limits of Obligation, Routledge. Routledge.
    I talk about the relation between the direct encounters with values that I take to be a key part of ordinary moral phenomenology, and the well-worn topic of demandingness. I suggest that an ethical philosophy based on (inter alia) such encounters sheds interesting light on some familiar problems.
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  9. Intuition, Theory, and Anti-Theory in Ethics.Sophie Grace Chappell (ed.) - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    What form, or forms, might ethical knowledge take? In particular, can ethical knowledge take the form either of moral theory, or of moral intuition? If it can, should it? A team of experts explore these central questions for ethics, and present a diverse range of perspectives on the discussion.
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  10. Art and the ‘Morality System’: The Case of Don Giovanni.Genia Schönbaumsfeld - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):1025-1043.
    Mozart's great opera, Don Giovanni, poses a number of significant philosophical and aesthetic challenges, and yet it remains, for the most part, little discussed by contemporary philosophers. A notable exception to this is Bernard Williams's important paper, ‘Don Juan as an Idea’, which contains an illuminating discussion of Kierkegaard's ground-breaking interpretation of the opera, ‘The Immediate Erotic Stages or the Musical-Erotic’, in Either/Or. Kierkegaard's pseudonymous author's approach here is, in some respects, reminiscent of a currently rather fashionable narrative-inspired moral philosophy, (...)
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  11. Rules and Principles in Moral Decision Making: An Empirical Objection to Moral Particularism.Jennifer L. Zamzow - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):123-134.
    It is commonly thought that moral rules and principles, such as ‘Keep your promises,’ ‘Respect autonomy,’ and ‘Distribute goods according to need ,’ should play an essential role in our moral deliberation. Particularists have challenged this view by arguing that principled guidance leads us to engage in worse decision making because principled guidance is too rigid and it leads individuals to neglect or distort relevant details. However, when we examine empirical literature on the use of rules and principles in other (...)
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  12. Sebastian Schleidgen (Ed.): Should We Act Morally? Essays on Overridingness. [REVIEW]Alfred Archer - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):349-350.
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  13. Theory Vs. Anti-Theory in Ethics: A Misconceived Conflict.Nick Fotion - 2014 - Oup Usa.
    This book argues that theory formation in ethics might be, but does not have to be, grand; local and weaker theories can also be effective. Indeed, theory formation is far more varied than theorists and anti-theorists imagine it to be.
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  14. Knowing What to Do: Imagination, Virtue, and Platonism in Ethics.Timothy Chappell - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Timothy Chappell develops a picture of what philosophical ethics can be like, once set aside from conventional moral theory. His question is 'How are we to know what to do?', and the answer he defends is 'By developing our moral imaginations'--a key part of human excellence, which plays many roles in our practical and evaluative lives.
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  15. The Moral Philosophy of Bernard Williams.Alexandra Perry & Chris Herrera (eds.) - 2013 - Cambridge Scholars Press.
    A wide-ranging, collection focusing on the practical philosophy of Williams, with many chapters on politically relevant themes and many trying to assess the importance and influence of Williams. With contributions by Roman Altshuler, Mathieu Beirlaen, Thom Brooks, Jonathan Dancy, Jennifer Flynn, Lorenzo Greco, Chris D. Herrera, James Kellenberger, Colin Koopman, Stephen Leach, Esther Abin, Nancy Matchett, Jeff McMahan, Sarah Pawlett, Jonathan Sands-Wise, Robert Talisse, and Owen Ware.
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  16. Minding the Gap: Bernard Williams and David Hume on Living an Ethical Life.Paul Sagar - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (4):615-638.
    Bernard Williams is frequently supposed to be an ethical Humean, due especially to his work on ‘internal’ reasons. In fact Williams’s work after his famous article ‘Internal and External Reasons’ constitutes a profound shift away from Hume’s ethical outlook. Whereas Hume offered a reconciling project whereby our ethical practices could be self-validating without reference to external justificatory foundations, Williams’s later work was increasingly skeptical of any such possibility. I conclude by suggesting reasons for thinking Williams was correct, a finding which (...)
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  17. Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes From the Ethics of Bernard Williams.Ulrike Heuer & Gerald Lang (eds.) - 2012 - Oxford University Press USA.
    Luck, Value, and Commitment comprises eleven new essays which engage with, or take their point of departure from, the influential work in moral and political philosophy of Bernard Williams (1929-2003).
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  18. Theory Vs Anti-Theory.Brad Hooker - 2012 - In Ulrika Heuer Gerald Lang (ed.), Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes from the Moral Philosophy of Bernard Williams. Oxford University Press.
    Bernard Williams influentially attacked ethical theory. This paper assesses arguments for the ‘anti-theory’ position in ethics, including mainly arguments put forward by Williams but also arguments put forward by others. The paper begins by discussing what is supposed to be theory in ethics and what ethical intuitions are taken to be by those involved in the theory versus anti-theory debate. Then the paper responds to the objections that ethical theory is mistaken to prize principles, mistaken to prize rationalism, mistaken to (...)
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  19. Theory Versus Anti-Theory in Ethics.Brad Hooker - 2012 - In Ulrike Heuer & Gerald Lang (eds.), Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes From the Ethics of Bernard Williams. Oxford University Press, Usa. pp. 19.
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  20. Antitheory and Edification: Williams and Kierkegaard on Some Possibilities for Philosophy.Mark A. Tietjen - 2012 - International Philosophical Quarterly 52 (4):471-486.
    This paper shows the remarkable compatibility of the thought of Bernard Williams and Søren Kierkegaard regarding what Williams would call the “limits” of philosophical ethics and practice. In different ways both Williams and Kierkegaard critique a reductionist conception of the ethical life, its obligations, and the prescriptions that ethical theories make based upon such conceptions. Additionally, the high level of reflectiveness in their respective societies worries both. For Williams the concern is an epistemological one, whereas for Kierkegaard the issue is (...)
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  21. Duties of Love.R. Jay Wallace - 2012 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):175-198.
    A defence of the idea that there are sui generis duties of love: duties, that is, that we owe to people in virtue of standing in loving relationships with them. I contrast this non-reductionist position with the widespread reductionist view that our duties to those we love all derive from more generic moral principles. The paper mounts a cumulative argument in favour of the non-reductionist position, adducing a variety of considerations that together speak strongly in favour of adopting it. The (...)
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  22. Glory as an Ethical Idea.Timothy Chappell - 2011 - Philosophical Investigations 34 (2):105-134.
    There is a gap between what we think and what we think we think about ethics. This gap appears when elements of our ethical reflection and our moral theories contradict each other. It also appears when something that is important in our ethical reflection is sidelined in our moral theories. The gap appears in both ways with the ethical idea glory. The present exploration of this idea is a case study of how far actual ethical reflection diverges from moral theory. (...)
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  23. Conflict, Regret, and Modern Moral Philosophy.Leonard Kahn - 2011 - In Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics.
    I begin this paper by discussing the difference between outweighing and canceling in conflicts of normativity. I then introduce a thought experiment that I call Crash Drive,and I use it to explain the nature of a certain kind of moral conflict as well as the appropriate emotional response – regret – on the part of the primary agent in this case. Having done this, I turn to a line of criticism opened by Bernard Williams and recently expanded by Jonathan Dancy (...)
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  24. Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes From the Ethics of Bernard Williams.Heuer and Lang (ed.) - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    The essays of this collection demonstrate the enormous influence of Williams’s writings on current philosophy; they are divide into five groups: ethical theory, moral luck, reasons and “ought,” intuitionism and moral knowledge, and political philosophy. In most cases, the chapters do not have exegetical or protreptic aims, but rather develop arguments linked to the projects that are central to Williams’s thoughts on ethics. With contributions by John Broome, Jonathan Dancy, David Enoch, Ulrike Heuer, Brad Hooker, Gerald Lang, Philip Pettit, Joseph (...)
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  25. Adorno's Practical Philosophy: Living Less Wrongly.Fabian Freyenhagen - 2010 - Cambridge University Press.
    Adorno notoriously asserted that there is no 'right' life in our current social world. This assertion has contributed to the widespread perception that his philosophy has no practical import or coherent ethics, and he is often accused of being too negative. Fabian Freyenhagen reconstructs and defends Adorno's practical philosophy in response to these charges. He argues that Adorno's deep pessimism about the contemporary social world is coupled with a strong optimism about human potential, and that this optimism explains his negative (...)
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  26. Worthy Lives.Lisa Rivera - 2010 - Social Theory and Practice 36 (2):185-212.
    Susan Wolf's paper "Meaning and Morality" draws our attention to the fact that Williams's objection to Kantian morality is primarily a concern about a possible conflict between morality and that which gives our lives meaning. I argue that the force of Williams's objection requires a more precise understanding of meaning as dependent on our intention to make our lives themselves worthwhile. It is not meaning simpliciter that makes Williams's objective persuasive but rather meaning as arising out of our positive evaluation (...)
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  27. Moral Sentimentalism.Michael Slote - 2010 - Oxford University Press USA.
    There has been a good deal of interest in moral sentimentalism in recent years, but most of that interest has been exclusively either in meta-ethical questions or in normative issues about caring or benevolence. The present book seeks to offer a systematically unified picture of both sorts of topics by making central use of the notion of empathy. The hope is that such an approach will give sentimentalism a "second chance" against the ethical rationalism that has typically dominated the landscape (...)
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  28. Can Morality Be Codified.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2010 - Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics 11 (1-2):145-154.
    In this paper, I will examine the debate between the principlists and the particularists with special focus on the question of whether there is any true and coherent set of moral principles that codifies the moral landscape metaphysically speaking. My stance on this issue is an extreme sort of particularism which gives a ‘no’ answer to the above question. Yet it is significantly different from the positions of other extremists like John McDowell, Jonathan Dancy and Margaret Little. In section 2, (...)
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  29. Moral Schizophrenia and the Paradox of Friendship.Scott Woodcock - 2010 - Utilitas 22 (1):1-25.
    In his landmark paper, , Michael Stocker introduces an affliction that is, according to his diagnosis, endemic to all modern ethical theories. Stocker's paper is well known and often cited, yet moral schizophrenia remains a surprisingly obscure diagnosis. I argue that moral schizophrenia, properly understood, is not necessarily as disruptive as its name suggests. However, I also argue that Stocker's inability to demonstrate that moral schizophrenia constitutes a reductio of modern ethical theories does not rule out the possibility that he (...)
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  30. Ethics Beyond Moral Theory.Timothy Chappell - 2009 - Philosophical Investigations 32 (3):206-243.
    I develop an anti-theory view of ethics. Moral theory (Kantian, utilitarian, virtue ethical, etc.) is the dominant approach to ethics among academic philosophers. But moral theory's hunt for a single Master Factor (utility, universalisability, virtue . . .) is implausibly systematising and reductionist. Perhaps scientism drives the approach? But good science always insists on respect for the data, even messy data: I criticise Singer's remarks on infanticide as a clear instance of moral theory failing to respect the data of moral (...)
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  31. What Does the Frame Problem Tell Us About Moral Normativity?Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (1):25-51.
    Within cognitive science, mental processing is often construed as computation over mental representations—i.e., as the manipulation and transformation of mental representations in accordance with rules of the kind expressible in the form of a computer program. This foundational approach has encountered a long-standing, persistently recalcitrant, problem often called the frame problem; it is sometimes called the relevance problem. In this paper we describe the frame problem and certain of its apparent morals concerning human cognition, and we argue that these morals (...)
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  32. Moral Advice and Moral Theory.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (3):349 - 359.
    Monists, pluralists, and particularists disagree about the structure of the best explanation of the rightness (wrongness) of actions. In this paper I argue that the availability of good moral advice gives us reason to prefer particularist theories and pluralist theories to monist theories. First, I identify two distinct roles of moral theorizing—explaining the rightness (wrongness) of actions, and providing moral advice—and I explain how these two roles are related. Next, I explain what monists, pluralists, and particularists disagree about. Finally, I (...)
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  33. Review of Slote, Michael, The Ethics of Care and Empathy, London: Routledge, 2007, Pp. Xiv + 133, £17.99. [REVIEW]Elinor Mason - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):352-354.
  34. Review: A Matter of Principle. [REVIEW]Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Noûs 43 (3):568 - 580.
    This article is a joint critical notice of Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge's book Principled Ethics and Jonathan Dancy's book Ethics Without Principles.
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  35. Beyond the Bottom Line: The Theoretical Goals of Moral Theorizing.Jason Brennan - 2008 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 28 (2):277-296.
    Moral theory is no substitute for virtue, but virtue is no substitute for moral theory. Many critics of moral theory, with Richard Posner being one prominent recent example, complain that moral theory is too abstract, that it cannot generally be used to derive particular rights and wrongs, and that it does not improve people's characters. Posner complains that it is thus of no use to legal theorists. This article defends moral theory, and to some degree, philosophical inquiry in general, against (...)
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  36. Reading Bernard Williams.Daniel Callcut (ed.) - 2008 - Routledge.
    When Bernard Williams died in 2003, the Times newspaper hailed him ‘as the greatest moral philosopher of his generation’. This outstanding collection of specially commissioned new essays on Williams's work is essential reading for anyone interested in Williams, ethics and moral philosophy and philosophy in general. _Reading Bernard Williams_ examines the astonishing scope of his philosophy from metaphysics and philosophy of mind to ethics, political philosophy and the history of philosophy. An international line up of outstanding contributors discuss, amongst others, (...)
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  37. Bernard Williams, Vergogna e necessità (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2007). [REVIEW]Lorenzo Greco - 2008 - Rivista di Filosofia 99 (2):352-54.
  38. Is Moral Theory Harmful in Practice?—Relocating Anti-Theory in Contemporary Ethics.Nora Hämäläinen - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):539-553.
    In this paper I discuss the viability of the claim that at least some forms of moral theory are harmful for sound moral thought and practice. This claim was put forward by e.g. Elisabeth Anscombe ( 1981 ( 1958 )) and by Annette Baier, Peter Winch, D.Z Phillips and Bernard Williams in the 1970’s–1980’s. To this day aspects of it have found resonance in both post-Wittgensteinian and virtue ethical quarters. The criticism has on one hand contributed to a substantial change (...)
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  39. The Threefold Cord: Reconciling Strategies in Moral Theory.T. H. Irwin - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt2):121-133.
    Eighteenth-century disputes in moral theory seem to offer an opportunity to scepticism about moral theory and about morality. Twentieth-century theorists have tried to forestall a sceptical argument from disagreement in moral theory to doubts about morality, by appeal to a division between first-order and second-order questions. This division, however, does not answer the sceptical argument. A better reply appears in Butler's treatment of disagreement through his strategies of consensus and comprehension. These strategies are illustrated by his discussion of utilitarianism and (...)
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  40. Elizabeth Anscombe's “Modern Moral Philosophy”: Fifty Years Later: Articles.David Solomon - 2008 - Christian Bioethics 14 (2):109-122.
    Extracts This article introduces an issue of Christian bioethics which examines the significance of Elizabeth Anscombe's classic article, “Modern Moral Philosophy”, on the 50th anniversary of its publication. The manifold influences of this article are explored in some detail and the current status of the three famous theses put forward by Anscombe in the article is assessed. This article also briefly introduces the other articles in this issue and loactes them within the general framework of contemporary discussions of Anscombe's work.
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  41. Integrity and Demandingness.Timothy Chappell - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (3):255-265.
    I discuss Bernard Williams’ ‘integrity objection’ – his version of the demandingness objection to unreasonably demanding ‘extremist’ moral theories such as consequentialism – and argue that it is best understood as presupposing the internal reasons thesis. However, since the internal reasons thesis is questionable, so is Williams’ integrity objection. I propose an alternative way of bringing out the unreasonableness of extremism, based on the notion of the agent’s autonomy, and show how an objection to this proposal can be outflanked by (...)
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  42. Humean Reflections in the Ethics of Bernard Williams.Lorenzo Greco - 2007 - Utilitas 19 (3):312-25.
    In this article, I maintain that the anti-theoretical spirit which pervades Williams's ethics is close to the Humean project of developing and defending an ethics based on sentiments which has its main focus in the virtues. In particular, I argue that there are similar underlying themes which run through the philosophies of Hume and Williams, such as the view that a correct ethical perspective cannot avoid dealing with a broader theory of human nature; the conviction that this inquiry cannot be (...)
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  43. Morality Critics.Brian Leiter - 2007 - In Brian Leiter & Michael Rosen (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
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  44. Integrity and Ordinary Morality.Alex Rajczi - 2007 - American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1):15-27.
    Consequentialism is enticing, and yet it also seems overly demanding. As a result, many non-consequentialists try to explain why we aren’t required to maximize the good. One explanation is the Integrity Explanation: we aren’t required to maximize the good because morality must make room for us to pursue the projects we value most deeply. Some people hope that the Integrity Explanation will not just explain why consequentialism is false, but simultaneously vindicate the common-sense permission to generally refrain from promoting the (...)
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  45. Sacrifices, Aspirations and Morality: Williams Reconsidered.Lisa Rivera - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (1):69-87.
    When a person gives up an end of crucial importance to her in order to promote a moral aim, we regard her as having made a moral sacrifice. The paper analyzes these sacrifices in light of some of Bernard Williams’ objections to Kantian and Utilitarian accounts of them. Williams argues that an implausible consequence of these theories is that that we are expected to sacrifice projects that make our lives worth living and contribute to our integrity. Williams’ arguments about integrity (...)
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  46. Mark P. Jenkins, Bernard Williams, in de Reeks Philosophy Now, Acumen, Chesham, 2006 [Book Review].Katrien Schaubroeck - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (3):593-594.
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  47. The Impotence of the Demandingness Objection.David Sobel - 2007 - Philosophers' Imprint 7:1-17.
    Consequentialism, many philosophers have claimed, asks too much of us to be a plausible ethical theory. Indeed, the theory's severe demandingness is often claimed to be its chief flaw. My thesis is that as we come to better understand this objection, we see that, even if it signals or tracks the existence of a real problem for Consequentialism, it cannot itself be a fundamental problem with the view. The objection cannot itself provide good reason to break with Consequentialism, because it (...)
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  48. Review of Sean McKeever, Michael Ridge, Principled Ethics: Generalism As a Regulative Ideal[REVIEW]Daniel Star - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  49. Bernard Williams.Mark Jenkins - 2006 - Routledge.
    From his earliest work on personal identity to his last on the value of truthfulness, the ideas and arguments of Bernard Williams - in the metaphysics of personhood, in the history of philosophy, but especially in ethics and moral psychology - have proved sometimes controversial, often influential, and always worth studying. This book provides a comprehensive account of Williams's many significant contributions to contemporary philosophy. Topics include personal identity, various critiques of moral theory, practical reasoning and moral motivation, truth and (...)
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  50. Particularism and Antitheory.Mark Lance & Margaret Little - 2006 - In David Copp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press. pp. 567--594.
    This chapter sets out to distinguish the sorts of claims have been advanced under the rubric of “moral particularism,” and to sort through the insights and costs of each. In particular, it distinguishes those who are animated by suspicion of theory itself from those who aim to reconfigure — sometimes radically — the nature of theory. It defends as key the particularist insight that exceptions to substantive moral explanations are ubiquitous. It argues that the lesson of this insight is not (...)
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