Joy as a Moral Motive: A Response to Yong Huang's Why Be Moral?

Philosophy East and West 69 (1):280-287 (2019)
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Abstract

This essay is a response to Yong Huang's Why Be Moral? I raise three concerns about Huang's answer to the very question "Why Be Moral?" which is the subject of the first chapter of the book. First, I suggest that the justificatory interpretation of the question is as important as the motivational one, in general and for the Cheng brothers, and that it shouldn't be dismissed as quickly as Huang dismisses it. Second, I argue that joy cannot be the direct motive for being moral, but propose that it could be (and probably is) an indirect motive, and speculate about the particular kind of indirect motive it might be. Finally, I ask whether Huang's appeal to "being human" as a motive is better understood in the Millian way or the Aristotelian way, and suggest that Mill's approach is a better fit for the Cheng brothers.

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Justin Tiwald
University of Hong Kong

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