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  1. The Inner Work of Liberty: Cudworth on Desire and Attention.Matthew A. Leisinger - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (5):649-667.
    Ralph Cudworth’s goal in his manuscript writings on freewill is to argue that our actions are in our own power in a robust sense that entails the ability to do otherwise. Cudworth’s unorthodox views about the nature of desire threaten to undermine this project, however. Cudworth maintains that only desire is able to distinguish good and evil and, consequently, that desire alone motivates our actions. Therefore, since Cudworth holds that desire itself is not in our own power, he appears committed (...)
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  • Moral Rationalism on the Brain.Joshua May - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    I draw on neurobiological evidence to defend the rationalist thesis that moral judgments are essentially dependent on reasoning, not emotions (conceived as distinct from inference). The neuroscience reveals that moral cognition arises from domain-general capacities in the brain for inferring, in particular, the consequences of an agent’s action, the agent’s intent, and the rules or norms relevant to the context. Although these capacities entangle inference and affect, blurring the reason/emotion dichotomy doesn’t preferentially support sentimentalism. The argument requires careful consideration of (...)
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  • Innocent Preferences in Hume's Morality.Shaharyar Masood - unknown
    Hume believes it is common and natural for people to have preferences for character traits similar to their own, but he remains silent on how to separate the innocent preferences from the blameworthy ones. This paper looks to Hume's morality to answer this question, ultimately arguing for two jointly sufficient criteria: 1) a preference is innocent so long as it doesn’t prevent one from adopting the general point of view and 2) a preference is innocent so long as it is (...)
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  • Hutcheson and His Critics and Opponents on the Moral Sense.Ruth Boeker - 2022 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 20 (2):143-161.
    This paper takes a new look at Francis Hutcheson's moral sense theory and examines it in light of the views of his rationalist critics and opponents who claim that there has to be an antecedent moral standard prior to any sense or affections. I examine how Gilbert Burnet, Samuel Clarke, and Catharine Trotter Cockburn each argue for the priority of reason over a moral sense and how Hutcheson responds or could respond to their views. Furthermore, I consider the proposal that (...)
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  • Morality is Not Like Mathematics: The Weakness of the Math‐Moral Analogy.Michael B. Gill - 2019 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 57 (2):194-216.
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  • The Ethics–Mathematics Analogy.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (1).
    Ethics and mathematics have long invited comparisons. On the one hand, both ethical and mathematical propositions can appear to be knowable a priori, if knowable at all. On the other hand, mathematical propositions seem to admit of proof, and to enter into empirical scientific theories, in a way that ethical propositions do not. In this article, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between ethical (i.e., moral) and mathematical knowledge, realistically construed -- i.e., construed as independent of human mind and languages. (...)
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  • Moral Epistemology: The Mathematics Analogy.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):238-255.
    There is a long tradition comparing moral knowledge to mathematical knowledge. In this paper, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between knowledge in the two areas, realistically conceived. I argue that many of these are only apparent, while others are less philosophically significant than might be thought. The picture that emerges is surprising. There are definitely differences between epistemological arguments in the two areas. However, these differences, if anything, increase the plausibility of moral realism as compared to mathematical realism. It (...)
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  • Leibniz's Twofold Gap Between Moral Knowledge and Motivation.Julia Jorati - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (4):748-766.
    Moral rationalists and sentimentalists traditionally disagree on at least two counts, namely regarding the source of moral knowledge or moral judgements and regarding the source of moral motivation. I will argue that even though Leibniz's moral epistemology is very much in line with that of mainstream moral rationalists, his account of moral motivation is better characterized as sentimentalist. Just like Hume, Leibniz denies that there is a necessary connection between knowing that something is right and the motivation to act accordingly. (...)
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  • Gender.Holly Lawford-Smith & Michael Hauskeller - 2022 - In Michael Hauskeller (ed.), The Things That Really Matter: Philosophical Conversations on the Cornerstones of Life. London: UCL Press. pp. 65-83.
  • Du Châtelet on Freedom, Self-Motion, and Moral Necessity.Julia Jorati - 2019 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (2):255-280.
    This paper explores the theory of freedom that Emilie du Châtelet advances in her essay “On Freedom.” Using contemporary terminology, we can characterize this theory as a version of agent-causal compatibilism. More specifically, the theory has the following elements: (a) freedom consists in the power to act in accordance with one’s choices, (b) freedom requires the ability to suspend desires and master passions, (c) freedom requires a power of self-motion in the agent, and (d) freedom is compatible with moral necessity (...)
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  • Hume on Mental Representation and Intentionality.Jonathan David Cottrell - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (7):e12505.
  • Immorality and Irrationality.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):220-253.
    Does immorality necessarily involve irrationality? The question is often taken to be among the deepest in moral philosophy. But apparently deep questions sometimes admit of deflationary answers. In this case we can make way for a deflationary answer by appealing to dualism about rationality, according to which there are two fundamentally distinct notions of rationality: structural rationality and substantive rationality. I have defended dualism elsewhere. Here, I’ll argue that it allows us to embrace a sensible – I will not say (...)
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  • The Argument From Agreement: How Universal Values Undermine Moral Realism.Hanno Sauer - 2019 - Ratio 32 (4):339-352.
    The most popular argument against moral realism is the argument from disagreement: if there are mind‐independent moral facts, then we would not expect to find as much moral disagreement as we in fact do; therefore, moral realism is false. In this paper, I develop the flipside of this argument. According to this argument from agreement, we would expect to find lots of moral disagreement if there were mind‐independent moral facts. But we do not, in fact, find much moral disagreement; therefore, (...)
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  • Prospects for Moral Epistemic Infinitism.Scott F. Aikin - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (2):172-181.
    This article poses two regresses for justification of moral knowledge and discusses three models for moral epistemic infinitism that arise. There are moral infinitisms dependent on empirical infinitism, what are called “piggyback” moral infinitisms. There are substantive empiricist moral infinitisms, requiring infinite chains of descriptive facts to justify normative rules. These empiricist infinitisms are developed either as infinitist egoisms or as infinitist sentimentalisms. And, finally, there are substantive rationalist moral infinitisms, requiring infinite chains of normative reasons to justify moral rules. (...)
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  • Sentimentalist Pluralism: Moral Psychology and Philosophical Ethics.Michael B. Gill & Shaun Nichols - 2008 - Philosophical Issues 18 (1):143-163.
    When making moral judgments, people are typically guided by a plurality of moral rules. These rules owe their existence to human emotions but are not simply equivalent to those emotions. And people’s moral judgments ought to be guided by a plurality of emotion-based rules. The view just stated combines three positions on moral judgment: [1] moral sentimentalism, which holds that sentiments play an essential role in moral judgment,1 [2] descriptive moral pluralism, which holds that commonsense moral judgment is guided by (...)
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  • Exciting Reasons and Moral Rationalism in Hutcheson's Illustrations Upon the Moral Sense.John J. Tilley - 2012 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 50 (1):53-83.
    One of the most oft-cited parts of Francis Hutcheson’s Illustrations upon the Moral Sense (1728) is his discussion of “exciting reasons.” In this paper I address the question: What is the function of that discussion? In particular, what is its relation to Hutcheson’s attempt to show that the rationalists’ normative thesis ultimately implies, contrary to their moral epistemology, that moral ideas spring from a sense? Despite first appearances, Hutcheson’s discussion of exciting reasons is not part of that attempt. Mainly, it (...)
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  • The Semantics of Moral Communication.Richard Brown - 2008 - Dissertation, The Graduate Center, CUNY
    Adviser: Professor Stefan Baumrin In the first chapter I introduce the distinction between metaethics and normative ethics and argue that metaethics, properly conceived, is a part of cognitive science. For example, the debate between rationalism and sentimentalism can be informed by recent empirical work in psychology and the neurosciences. In the second chapter I argue that the traditional view that one’s theory of semantics determines what one’s theory of justification must be is mistaken. Though it has been the case that (...)
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  • Psychopathy, Agency, and Practical Reason.Monique Wonderly - 2021 - In Ruth Chang & Kurt Sylvan (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 262-275.
    Philosophers have urged that considerations about the psychopath’s capacity for practical rationality can help to advance metaethical debates. These debates include the role of rational faculties in moral judgment and action, the relationship between moral judgment and moral motivation, and the capacities required for morally responsible agency. I discuss how the psychopath’s capacity for practical reason features in these debates, and I identify several takeaway lessons from the relevant literature. Specifically, I show how the insights contained therein can illuminate the (...)
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