Philosophical Advice

Philosophy 96 (4):603-623 (2021)
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Abstract

Philosophers who publish articles that make practical ethical recommendations are thereby offering advice. I consider what obligations they incur in advising. I analyse the giving of advice as a communicative act whose defining and characteristic aim is to secure acceptance of what is advised. Such advice need not be solicited or taken up. I distinguish advice from incitement and threats and specify the scope of the adviser's responsibility for others acting upon the advice. I explore how advice can be bad in how it is given and what is given. I consider, and criticise, various pleas for exemption from the responsibilities of philosophical advising: that advice was not meant; that it wouldn't make any difference anyway; and that the writing was not for those who might act on it. I examine the offering of philosophical advice to policy makers, comparing the views on this of Mary Warnock and Dan Brock. I conclude by asking practical normative philosophers to consider what they should do inasmuch as they are advising.

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David Archard
Lancaster University

Citations of this work

Advice as a model for reasons.Andrew Sneddon - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
Truth and consequences.Polly Mitchell, Alan Cribb & Vikki Entwistle - 2023 - Metaphilosophy 54 (4):523-538.

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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Moral conflict and political legitimacy.Thomas Nagel - 1987 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 16 (3):215-240.
After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?Alberto Giubilini & Francesca Minerva - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5):261-263.
A theory of freedom of expression.Thomas Scanlon - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (2):204-226.

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