Is It Impossible to Be Moral?

Dialogue 44 (1):3-13 (2005)
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ABSTRACT: Recent work in moral theory includes an intriguing new argument that the vagueness of moral properties, together with two well-known and well-received metaethical principles, entails the incredible conclusion that it is impossible to be moral. I show that the argument equivocates between “it is true that A and B are morally indistinguishable” and “it is not false that A and B are morally indistinguishable.” As expected the argument is interesting but unsound. It is therefore not impossible to be moral.RÉSUMÉ: Les travaux récents en théorie morale comprennent un nouvel argument intrigant voulant que le caractère vague des propriétés morales, joint à deux principes métaéthiques bien connus et généralement admis, entraîne une conclusion incroyable, soit qu’il est impossible d’être moral. Je montre que cet argument entretient l’équivoque entre «il est vrai que A et B sont moralement impossibles à distinguer» et «il n’est pas faux que A et B soient moralement impossibles à distinguer». Comme on s’y attendait, l’argument est intéressant mais mal fondé. Il n’est donc pas impossible d’être moral.



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Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Parfit and the sorites paradox.J. M. Goodenough - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 83 (2):113-20.
Why It Is Impossible to Be Moral.Stephen P. Schwartz - 1999 - American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):351 - 360.

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