Roger Crisp
Oxford University
The paper begins by noting the widespread disagreement that has existed in philosophy from its very inception until now. It is claimed that Henry Sidgwick was right to see the main debate in ethics as between egoists, consequentialists, and deontologists. This raises the question whether the best approach might be to seek a position based on the different theories rather than one alone. Some clarification is then offered of the main questions asked in ethics, and it is claimed that the primary ethical question is that of Socrates: how should one live? Substantive agreement between our three normative theories is possible, but unlikely; and explanatory agreement is conceptually impossible. More restricted agreement may be possible, though doubts can be raised about Derek Parfit’s ‘triple theory’. One might attempt to combine different elements of the theories, syncretically, but again agreement is unlikely. The paper ends by considering the epistemic implications of disagreement, and with a recommendation of a more eirenic methodology for moral philosophy.
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DOI 10.1007/s42048-020-00076-2
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References found in this work BETA

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1962 - Cambridge University Press.

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Living with Moral Disagreement.Roger Crisp - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.

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