Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):51-62 (2012)

Cailin O'Connor
University of California, Irvine
In this paper we critically examine and seek to extend Philip Kitcher’s Ethical Project to weave together a distinctive naturalistic conception of how ethics came to occupy the place it does in our lives and how the existing ethical project should be revised and extended into the future. Although we endorse his insight that ethical progress is better conceived of as the improvement of an existing state than an incremental approach towards a fixed endpoint, we nonetheless go on to argue that the metaethical apparatus Kitcher constructs around this creative metaethical proposal simply cannot do the work that he demands of it. The prospect of fundamental conflict between different functions of the ethical project requires Kitcher to appeal to a particular normative stance in order to judge specific changes in the ethical project to be genuinely progressive, and we argue that the virtues of continuity and coherence to which he appeals can only specify rather than justify the normative stance he favors. We conclude by suggesting an alternative approach for ethical naturalists that seems to us ultimately more promising than Kitcher’s own
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1515/auk-2012-0104
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Normative Ethics After Pragmatic Naturalism.Alex Sager - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (3):422-440.
The Open-Ended Normativity of the Ethical.Allen Buchanan - 2012 - Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):81-94.
Morality’s Dark Past.Kim Sterelny - 2012 - Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):95-115.
The Ethical Project. A Dialogue.C. Mantzavinos - 2012 - Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):21-38.
Self-Conceptions and Evolution.Ivo Wallimann-Helmer - 2009 - Conceptus Zeitschrift Für Philosophie 38 (94):121–134.
The Ethical Project.Philip Kitcher - 2011 - Harvard University Press.
Genealogies of Ethics.Zed Adams - 2012 - Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):157-165.
Précis of The Ethical Project.Philip Kitcher - 2012 - Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):1-19.
The Dynamics of Moral Realism.Lorraine Marie Arangno - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder
Metaethics & the Autonomy of Morality.Tristram McPherson - 2008 - Philosophers' Imprint 8:1-16.
Presumptuous Naturalism: A Cautionary Tale.Daniel D. Hutto - 2011 - American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (2):129-145.
Unifying Moral Methodology.Tristram Mcpherson - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (4):523-549.


Added to PP index

Total views
257 ( #42,529 of 2,506,526 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #59,928 of 2,506,526 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes