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Ethics, intentions and judgement-dependence

Hood, Callum (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Error-theories and non-cognitivism about ethical discourse face tremendous obstacles, often stemming from their rejection of the truth of ethical assertions. However, I argue in that generic realism about ethical discourse is equally unattractive. Crispin Wright’s judgement-dependence allows for the rejection of generic realism without implausibly rejecting the truth of the distinctive assertions of a discourse. I show how Wright speedily dismisses the judgement-dependence of truth in ethics, but suggest that he has been too quick, ignoring some ways in which a stronger case could have been made in its favour. However, these suggestions do not address the fact that ethical discourse violates one of Wright’s fundamental conditions on judgement-dependent accounts. Wright is able to argue that the ‘grammar’ of intention discourse allows a form of judgement-dependence to be salvaged despite its violation of the conditions on judgement-dependence. The major project of this essay is to investigate the application of this strategy to ethical discourse, although I argue that the strategy must ultimately fail. I suggest why Wright’s strategy worked for intention but not ethics, and conclude that the failure of judgement-dependence for ethics encourages us to seek a plausible judgement-independent account of the discourse.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Philosophy
Subjects:B Philosophy (General)
BL Religion
BJ Ethics
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1197
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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