Ethics, intentions and judgement-dependence

Hood, Callum (2010). Ethics, intentions and judgement-dependence. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.


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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: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Philosophy
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics


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