Nicolas Delon
New College of Florida
Starting from the typical case of utilitarianism, I distinguish three ways a moral theory may be deemed (over-)demanding: practical, epistemic, and cognitive. I focus on the latter, whose specific nature has been overlooked. Taking animal ethics as a case study, I argue that knowledge of human cognition is critical to spelling out moral theories (including their implications) that are accessible and acceptable to the greatest number of agents. In a nutshell: knowing more about our cognitive apparatus with a view to play better with it. This meta-theoretical suggestion, however, differs from a classical objection drawn from the intuition that a given theory demands too much. //// A partir du cas typique de l’utilitarisme, je distingue trois façons dont une théorie morale pourrait être jugée (trop) exigeante : pratique, épistémique et cognitive. La spécificité de cette dernière – qui fait l’objet de cet article – a été négligée. Je soutiens, en prenant l’exemple de l’éthique animale, que la connaissance de la cognition humaine est essentielle à la formulation de théories morales (et de leurs implications) qui soient accessibles à, et acceptables par, le plus grand nombre d’agents possible. En d’autres termes : comment mieux connaître notre machine cognitive pour mieux jouer avec elle. Cette recommandation méta-théorique se distingue cependant d’une objection classique tirée de l’intuition selon laquelle une théorie exigerait trop de nous.
Keywords moral theory  demandingness  utilitarianism  animal ethics  psychology
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