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Metaethics and teleology.

THERE IS AN IMPORTANT RESPECT in which virtue-centered ethical realism needs to be more Aristotelian than it is typically willing to admit. This concerns the way in which teleological considerations need to be more explicitly acknowledged. Reflection on moral phenomenology, discourse, and practice supports realism and also reveals that teleological considerations cannot be entirely disowned by it. The teleology is not a grand teleology, however; it is not the view that there is a unique perfection of human nature, and it is not the view that ethics is read off of a teleological metaphysics. On the other hand, this is not just the teleology of this and that particular subjective project, concern, or purposive action.

Much of the current debate in metaethics can be diagnosed as a dispute between a basically Aristotelian position and a basically Humean one, not in respect of first-order ethical doctrine, but in respect of the overall moral anthropology shaping the positions. On both sides, the influence of Wittgenstein is evident. We will examine what divides Aristotelian realism from Humean projectivism, and in the course of doing so we will be able to motivate a suggestion about why virtue-centered realism needs to include teleological considerations in an unembarrassed way.


First, how does Wittgenstein figure in all of this? The short answer is that he is widely seen as having made normativity respectable again. One of the main lessons taken from his later work, by philosophers of many different kinds, is that the use of concepts in general is a normative matter. The rule-governed behavior of making judgments and communicating is ineliminably normative. This normativity is not a question of there being values as some sorts of entities, perhaps apt for a Platonist ontological interpretation. Neither is the rule-governed activity of thought and discourse explicable in terms of a psychological mechanism or some particular fact of the matter in the mind or brain. This is a way between both ontological inflation and naturalistic reduction. Moreover, if the use of concepts generally is normative, then if there is a special way in which the normativity of moral judgments is worse off than normativity in general, perhaps it has to be shown and cannot be taken as a datum. There is unproblematic (which is not the same thing as "perfectly transparent, and fully explicable") normativity involved in judging that, "The cows broke out of their enclosure"--so why should, "It is wrong to harm someone just out of jealousy," be problematic? I do not mean that this point about ethical discourse was made explicitly by Wittgenstein. (1) It is, though, a point taken from his thinking by both realists and antirealists. (Not by all of them of course, but by many.) For each of the statements above there is a thick, familiar, inescapable context of judgments, perceptions, and shared responses which is their setting in the overall activity of making claims and giving reasons. It is in those contexts that we find the criteria for the correctness or mistakenness of them. If we wish to call this a kind of naturalism, that is all right, as long as we make clear that this is not a reductive naturalism.

The Wittgensteinian insights are congenial to realists, for it better enables us to go in for cognitivism with regard to value and the truth-evaluability of moral judgments without special objects and special faculties to perceive them. They are also congenial to an ethic that gives a central place to virtues, understood as centrally involving recognitional abilities and as enabling certain sorts of judgments. Recent realism, such as McDowell's, takes the virtues seriously in respect of their roles in practical cognition, rather than as constitutive means to the realization of human form. The work the virtues do in Aristotle's perfectionist teleology has been largely replaced by their role in ethical comprehension, the focus having shifted from the metaphysics of actualization to the epistemology of cognitive ability. A virtue can be interpreted as a state of an agent that enables him, through possession of a repertoire of relevant concepts, to make a range of (correct) ethical judgments, and to deploy them in deliberation. Quite specific concepts such as "considerate," "loyal," "cruel," "generous," "insensitive," and so forth, can have realist truth conditions in their ethical uses but also be open-ended and possess a texture that cannot be codified. Moreover, the deployment of these concepts can be reason-giving because of the role of sensibility and receptivity in having fluency with them. (2)

Antirealists are often no less eager to deploy Wittgensteinian resources. For the antirealist, the message is that realism can be rejected without landing us in skepticism or person-relative subjectivism. All of the assertoric and inferential form of moral discourse can be retained without realist commitments. Moralizing is not thereby deflated, something lesser than the phenomenology of moralizing leads us to think it is. As Blackburn argues, this is a way for moralizing to (a) involve none of the excesses of realism and (b) incur no loss. It is not a thinning of morality. It is all that it can be and needs to be. (3)

Again, if one wishes to call this naturalism, that is all right as long as it too is understood to be something other than reductive naturalism. Hume and Wittgenstein support each other in the working out of an account of ethics in which the normativity of concept use is wedded to human sensibility in the issuing of ethical judgments, without even raising ontological questions.

Much more than in the past, realists and antirealists are fighting to control the same territory rather than talking past each other. There is a shared concern to overcome dualisms of reason and passion, objective and subjective, descriptive and prescriptive, and the like. Projectivists and norm-expressivists (4) are moving away from skepticism, radical subjectivism, and error-theory, while realists are moving away from Platonist ontology and intuitionist faculty epistemology. In a recent paper, David Wiggins has written:
 But on some other occasion I think I might feel moved to try to show that
 the main differences between Hume and Aristotle are more attitudinal, more
 moral (first-order moral) and more rhetorical in character than
 philosophically or even methodologically structural. (5)

Perhaps there is an Aristotelian--Humean reconciliation to be fashioned, the Humean dimension being developed in a way that gives proper place to practical reason as cognitive (and not merely inferential), and Aristotelian insights formulated in a way that gives a more fully value-constituting role to affect. Yet there are large-scale semantic and metaphysical considerations and commitments in the backgrounds of the two views, and there is a more than superficial difference between an interpretation of virtue in terms of loving the right things, and an interpretation of it in terms of congruence with the feelings of others in what we find lovable. We turn now to some of the differences, and the merits of the realist view.


One key difference is in the interpretation of habits of thought. Humeans interpret norms as expressing or reflecting habits of judgment which are not themselves rational or cognitive habits. The form of their deployment is cognitivist and assertoric, but the antirealism of the view rests on the claim that the norms themselves are not realistically true or false, or correct or mistaken, because the habits are not, whether the issue is, say, causality or morals. The habits have no representational or realist office or obligation. With regard to causality Blackburn writes:
 Once more the paradigm is Hume--not the Hume of many commentators, but the
 real Hume, who knew that talk of necessity was irreducible but gave a
 projective theory of it. The explanation here has us responsive to natural
 regularity, and forming dispositions of expectation (we might add, of
 observing boundaries in our counterfactual reasoning), which in turn stand
 us in good stead as the regularities prove reliable. Here, once we accept
 the Humean metaphysics, the naturalism seems quite in place. (6)

Similarly, with respect to morals, he argues that projectivism has in its favor "the possibility of identifying the [moral] commitment in a way that contrasts it usefully with belief, and a `neat, natural account' of why the state that it is should exist." (7) Naturalism holds sway in a two-fold way. First, it accounts for how there came to be creatures with the sensibility and conative capacities that make moralizing part of their lives. Second, it explains the states of mind involved in moralizing as nonrepresentational.

Apart from the naturalistic account of how ethics came into the world, no additional account is needed to supply a basis or foundation for ethics. Ethical argument and reasoning are within ethics, and not dependent upon (nor do they refer to) something else. We do not need realist values to underwrite an undisturbed phenomenology of moralizing and to sustain the genuineness of moral thought, judgment, and the meaningfulness of its language. A combination of a (broadly) causal explanation of the existence of states of norm acceptance and the rational requirements for the use of norms in judgment and reasoning is all that is needed. This is what is behind Blackburn's remark that "there is precious little surprising left about morality: Its metatheory seems to me pretty well exhaustively understood. The difficulty is enabling people to appreciate it." (8)

Wiggins (who says he is an "anti-non-cognitivist" rather than a realist) (9) has described his own view as a view on which "a property and an attitude are made for one another," (10) and which is "a subjectivism of subjects and properties mutually adjusted." (11) Even this is too realist-sounding for Blackburn, who prefers the naturalistic explanation to the "Whiggish judgement" (12) which he says "is often in place, but it is of course a moral judgment. It is not pertinent to explaining how sensibilities are `made for' values." (13)

Blackburn's projectivist alternative to being a Whig is, as it were, to be a Tow. This is not to say that there could not be practices of moral criticism and revision; it is not a point about the possibilities for first-order practice. The objection chiefly concerns the difference between conative force and normative authority with respect to ethical considerations. The concern is that what ultimately underwrites ethical norms is either (a) "this is what we do," or, (b) a causal stow, which renders the role of reason or cognition in ethical judgment merely instrumental. (Or it is a combination of these that underwrites norms.) In neither case is there an adequate account of the normative authority of the judgments that are endorsed. Projectivist antirealism lacks the resources to account for what makes some ethical norms sound norms.

The concepts that figure in norms and ethical judgment are to be interpreted cognitively and realistically; they have more than just the look and feel of those features. To put the point succinctly, on the resources antirealism admits, ethical norms could be ballistic. That is, it could turn out, for example, that cruelty is not wrong. It is not enough to say, "Of course cruelty is wrong, and of course we endorse norms that require that result. Those who don't are morally disordered, so this odd-ball possibility you are describing is really quite beside the point." The projectivist might point to the natural facts that make cruelty wrong, and can say: "You see, projections do not alight just anywhere. We can be quite clear about what makes cruelty wrong." Yet, on the grounds that projectivism supplies, it could turn out that cruelty is not wrong, since the norm according to which it is wrong is reflective of an attitude rather than a cognitive recognition. For the norms that we do (correctly) acknowledge to be sound, antirealism interprets the recognition as attitudinal, and that leaves us with less than is needed to account for why we have those norms rather than others, except by iterating attitude (which is phenomenologically implausible and explanatorily unilluminating).

The antirealist does not feel the need to answer questions about whether the basic concepts deployed in the norms are such that what makes for correct use of them is that the world is as it is believed to be by those who use those concepts correctly. From the antirealist perspective, such questions are especially awkward for the realist and they are clumsily beside the point. They raise unnecessary ontological and epistemological difficulties and have no bearing on the genuineness of moralizing. According to the realist, such questions are awkward for the antirealist because there is nothing for the antirealist to say except that correct use implies trivially, tautologically, that things are the way they are believed to be. (Given the norms we employ, some judgments are correct or true.) The antirealist can of course happily accept the fact that we argue, revise, criticize, and so forth. There is nothing wrong with saying that we enlarge or correct our moral understanding, or even that it worsens. Still, all of this is norm-domesticated in the sense that there is no cognitivist underwriting of the normative bases of these judgments. On projectivist resources, the norms could be anything, as long as consistency in their application is respected, and there is fairly stable consensus regarding them. There is, though, no rational warrant for them.

Perhaps this concern is a realist's neurosis. Why must there be rational warrant for them? Why isn't it enough that as systems, they "are adapted to achieve interpersonal coordination?" (14) If there is a neat, natural account of ethical commitments and stances, why do we need more or something else to support them? We need something else because, as Stephen Everson puts it, "what is of interest to the debate is not how the truth of a belief is determined by the norms of some discourse but also how those norms themselves can be acquired." (15) The antirealist can do a fairly successful job of reverse engineering and can tell a story about norms and their role in the truth-evaluability of judgments once the norms are up and running. The weakness of the strategy is that the sanction for the norms is a broadly causal story of selective advantage, which is sanction in an instrumental sense at best. Or, we could appeal to the weight of consensus, but that too lacks justificatory clout. Consensus cannot yield intrinsic value.

Blackburn, for one, is sensitive to these kinds of objections. He writes:
 The charge that projectivism refuses to hear an explanatory demand as it is
 intended can be returned with, I suggest, much more effect. I was severe
 earlier with Wiggins's theoretical description of us as engaging in a kind
 of coordination of responses and properties [a different issue of
 coordination from the one mentioned above] as we become civilized. But it
 is telling that the Whiggish appeal to a value ("civilization") is
 introduced at that point. For the introduction of values into explanatory
 investigations is echoed in other writings in this tradition, notably in
 those of John McDowell. The strategy is that in a context purportedly
 comparing explanations of a practice--the practice of ethical judgment--we
 allow ourselves to invoke the very commitments of that practice. (16)

It is not the Wittgensteinian dimension that Blackburn opposes. It is the realist insistence that something external to practice validates it, even though only those inside the practice can see what is external. The antirealist insists that all that we need to look for external to ethical practice is the naturalistic explanation of how there came to be such practices. That though, is not a search for moral facts or ethical truth on an "external" (17) reading.

The way in which Blackburn portrays the external reading is somewhat tendentious. He makes it sound as though the value that is perceived is some additional entity or feature of a situation, a moral color, as it were, with primary quality status. However, realist interpretation of value is no worse off than a realist interpretation of certain animals being mammals, or the behavior of certain geese being migratory behavior. A dog's being a mammal is not some additional object that we encounter, though it is a fact about dogs that is appropriate to interpret realistically. Similarly, that a group of geese is migrating is a fact inviting realist interpretation, though "those geese are migrating" does not name an additional item in the world. (I do not mean that ethical judgments involve nothing more than these other judgments. The former involve the practical dimension, which is-something we will come to, but they are no worse off.) The habits that underlie reliably making these judgments are cognitive habits, not just because we use criteria to sort correct judgments from incorrect ones, but because the concepts involved are to be interpreted realistically. These matters are not fully domesticated to human norms in a conventional sense (as perhaps is the distinction between chickens that are stewing hens and chickens that are fryers, or in the naval conventions earlier in the century, the difference between battleships and cruisers). In some contexts (including the ethical context) our concepts of what is allegedly projected are often parasitical upon what in fact is found. The wrongness of cruelty, for example, is not projective in the way that, say, a page of a newspaper is easy to read because of the size and quality of the print.

Our judgments of what is admirable, despicable, generous, fair, an act of betrayal, a dignified character, and so forth (across a large, complex landscape of worth, meaningfulness, and importance) are not ballistic, or ultimately instrumental, or essentially consensual, even though each of these is in fact compatible with being serviceable and stable. Granted, that there is such a complex texture of concepts and judgments depends upon human affect and sensibility and concern, but that is no challenge to realism. There is (as Aristotle argued) a crucial role for character (including sentiment and appetite) in ethical cognition, in ethical discrimination, grasp, and appreciation, but the habits of judgment and the capacities for discrimination are cognitive.


As noted earlier, the teleological element of virtue has been largely replaced by the agent's cognitive engagement with the world. The philosophical environment is not supportive of notions of an intrinsic end for human nature, or a unified, harmonious conception of human good. For reasons coming from metaphysics and concerning the pluralism and incommensurability of values, it can look like teleology in ethics has been starved out, those still loyal to it fighting on after the war has ended. Yet, realist metaethics may lead us back, via moral psychology and moral epistemology (in a way which is progressive rather than regressive) in the direction of something not entirely unlike some of the metaphysics of morals that earlier had driven philosophers away from certain forms of realism. In what way does virtue-centered realism involve teleology?

It is not enough (even if it is true) to be told, "Well, the realist is concerned with truth, and preserving the cognitivist dimension of ethical claims, and realism explicates how moral judgments are genuinely (not minimally, platitudinously) truth-evaluable." Suppose the basically Aristotelian moral psychology of virtue-realism is correct, and that ethical truth is not antirealistically norm-domesticated. We are still left with a concern about the way in which cognitive considerations regarding intrinsic value can figure in practical rationality. This is where teleological considerations are needed and have some real traction.

In order to see this we need to look at the role of character in ethical cognition on this view. In characterizing the Aristotelian conception of virtue, McDowell writes:
 although the point of engaging in ethical reflection still lies in the
 interest of the question "How should one live?", that question is
 necessarily approached via the notion of a virtuous person. A conception of
 right conduct is grasped, as it were, from the inside out. (18)

For Aristotle, this issue was not a problem as it is for us, because his teleological commitments made intelligible how there could be practical cognition. The virtuous agent desires what in fact is good, and finds it naturally pleasing to act well, and this is so on account of the human ergon. A human being's nature is such as to find expression in a plan of life activities structured by valuative attachments, and there is an objective telos for those activities. Now it would seem that we can retain the teleology of this and that project or concern or aspiration, but the metaphysical, essentialist quality of teleology is unbelievable. This is one crucial way in which moral theory has taken over and subordinated or domesticated virtue. We can talk of virtues as dispositions to act for moral reasons but not as actualizations of objective excellences. Is there, though, a plausible, adequate notion of virtue that is free of teleological considerations? I think not.

McDowell's realism addresses the issue obliquely insofar as he describes the virtuous person's way of seeing things as reflective of "a conception of how to live" (19) and "an orectic state." (20) The import of this conception and this state is teleological. It is difficult to see how it could be otherwise. Otherwise, the possession of the virtues loses its point. The arguments concerning moral semantics and moral psychology ultimately need to be connected up with a larger conception of moral anthropology. They need not be derivable from it, but they are not "stand-alone" matters. Virtue-centered realism does not require a grand, harmonious convergence of good expressible in a theory of moral obligations. Why should we think that there could be such a thing, or that it is needed for a realist interpretation of ethical judgment?

However, the orectic state, in order effectively to be part of realistically interpreted virtue, needs to be a dimension of a correct conception of how to live. More than just the motivational efficacy of the orectic state is needed in order for the realist interpretation of virtue to be tenable. The notion that an orectic state is ingredient in the conception of how to live registers that the virtuous agent's way of seeing things must be action-guiding, but for virtue-centered realism there must be a connection between that state and the truth about value. The importance of an orectic state is to explain how cognition can be practical cognition through valuative attachments that do not defeat the objectivity or cognitivism of practical judgment.

For Aristotle, the point of the orectic state is strongly objective; there is a real difference between successfully actualizing one's nature, and failing to do so. Good character is not such because it is congruent with the dispositions that morality requires, but because the agent loves the things that are lovable and make his own life worthwhile and desirable for its own sake. Character makes good accessible, and good is real, common, and grounded in the ergon of human nature. The eudaimonism is explicit and unembarrassed, including the enjoyment supervenient upon functioning well. (21) A human being can find it intrinsically pleasing to exercise his capacities in such a way as to actualize genuine human good.

What is important to emphasize here is not that feature of the view, but that in Aristotle's view, ethical considerations are objective, and ethical judgments are truth-evaluable, but not by any sort of derivation from a principle or by satisfying a criterion. That human beings aim at what they take to be good is a claim about human action, not in its own right a guide to human action. It does not specify what anyone, in any particular situation, is to do. That determination must be made through the exercise of developed capacities of recognition and appreciation, but without guidance by a criterion or codifiable rules. (22) This coheres well with Aristotle's emphasis on the transmission of values and ways of seeing situations and the way in which habituation is formative with regard to one's policies of practical reasoning. (23) The understanding of the phronimos cannot be formalized, and it cannot be taught or transmitted in the way that deductive reasoning can be. (24) This does not undermine the objectivity of the judgment of the phronimos; it is a point about the character of that agent's knowledge. Aristotle does not have a moral theory, if to have one is to have an account of a principle or principles that register obligations of a distinctive kind. He develops a moral psychology, and there are the elements of a metaethic, and a characterization of practical wisdom. Between metaethics and moral psychology there is the exercise of phronesis in the business of living, but there is not a moral theory or a theory of morals. There are of course important generalizations and even rules; but they are not generated from a general theory of good, and their underwriting is ultimately in particular judgments. There is constant traffic back and forth between the particular details of acts, facts, and situations on the one hand, and the articulation and elaboration of ethically relevant concepts on the other (such as fairness, generosity, courage, and so forth). The ethically sound agent knows how to deploy the appropriate concepts, which is not the same thing as applying the right rules. Rules are derivative, not basic. In early habituation, agents learn a great deal of rule-following, but the point of rule-following is that the agent should develop fluency with concepts, not simply a disposition of compliance.

Even if we lack Aristotle's confidence in harmony and uniqueness with respect to perfection, and we allow for a measure of cognitive underdetermination, realism's disowning of teleology cannot be total. We can ask what is the point or good of having the virtues. The answer will not be definitional; it will not do to say that there are reasons to possess or strive to acquire the virtues because virtues are excellences. (That is true, but in a more interesting way than by being analytic.) Nor will the answer be consequentialist or, at bottom, deontic. Even where a virtue-centered realism accommodates particularism and pluralism, it still needs a teleological element.

The agent with the virtues, the agent who acts well knowingly, for its own sake, and from a stable disposition, enjoys so acting, finding it naturally pleasing to do so. That, in turn, supplies the agent with a reason to carry on acting in those ways. Coming to see that what virtue requires involves cultivation of sensibility and appetite; the agent needs to appreciate the right things. Sustaining and enlarging virtue (for example, the interest in refining, adding texture and subtlety to one's ethical understanding) involves the teleology of the naturally pleasing, the teleology of it being a good to the agent who is good to act virtuously. For practical cognition to be practical, there must be a role for affect and (broadly) desire. The agent's appreciation of a situation, his ability to see what there is reason to do, is not captured and expressed by a purely representational rendering of cognition. Rather, correct practical cognition motivates a concern to persist in virtue because it is naturally pleasing. The agent does not act rightly because it is pleasing to do so; this is not a stealth version of hedonism. It is the view that virtue involves loving the right things. The virtuous agent's concern is with what is fine and just, though as a virtuous agent, he enjoys acting finely and justly, and that reinforces the motive to act well. The appreciation of good has a teleological aspect in its being a good to the agent, though that is not what primarily constitutes what is good. That is one main reason why the teleology of virtue cannot be reported to an agent.

Telling someone that virtue is naturally pleasing is likely to have little motivational traction, and will probably not be very satisfactorily understood, unless the agent is already disposed toward virtue. The enjoyment of excellent activity depends upon the agent's character. It is not simply and generally available to all agents. This is connected with the fact that the realism of ethical considerations is no guarantee that they are equally accessible to all competent, rational agents. Access to them depends upon the kinds of recognition, discrimination, and receptivity the agent is capable of, given his second nature or character.

The view I have endorsed acknowledges that ethical intrinsic value is not something subsistent independent of practical reasoners; it is not brutely there. Moreover, ethical norms and judgments are not derived from some overall conception of human good or human excellence that is somehow prior to them. At the same time, human good or the excellence of a life is not domesticated to each individual's conceptions, or even to a common but noncognitivist interpretation of values. As Wiggins writes:
 However rarely or often practical judgments attain truth, and whatever is
 the extent and importance of cognitive underdetermination, we have found no
 overwhelming reason to deny all objectivity to practical judgments. (25)

Also, "It is either false or senseless to deny that what valuational predicates stand for are properties in a world." (26) The ethical virtues do not merely enable the agent to judge correctly concerning practical matters; they are also partially constitutive of the excellence of the agent. In enabling a person to do well, they also make for the good of the agent. In explicating that connection the normative naturalism of virtue-realism cannot altogether dispense with teleological or eudaimonistic considerations, though the issue of the connection is in fact often left unaddressed. It is not to be worked out once for all, exhaustively, and without contest along the way. Still, there needs to be an unembarrassed attempt to specify eudaimonistic elements as part of the project of articulating a normative naturalism, a naturalism in which the authority of norms has (at least to an extent which is nontrivial and important to acknowledge) a cognitivist basis.


In what is perhaps something of an irony, certain important versions of antirealism and noncognitivism now put a great deal of weight on the features of a common human nature in order to explain the objective-looking dimensions of moralizing. Hume did so, (27) and that is how contemporary projectivism escapes from the clutches of relativism. Blackburn, for example, writes:
 To "see" the truth that wanton cruelty is wrong demands moralizing,
 stepping back into the boat, or putting back the lens of a sensibility. But
 once that is done, there is nothing relativistic left to say. (28)

It is not at all clear that confidence about the relevantly substantive and specific human sentiments and attitudes is much better supported than claims about what makes a human life or an individual's character an excellent one. However, even if we do not start from a teleological metaphysics, the philosophical anthropology that realist semantics best coheres with has a place for teleological elements, without the teleology's being derivative from agents' subjective projects. This is needed in order for the truth of ethical claims to be truth about noninstrumental value which is an object of cognition, and which has reason-giving significance.

Colgate University

(1) Wittgenstein, at the conclusion of his "Lecture on Ethics," writes: "My whole tendency and I believe the tendency of all men who ever tried to write or talk Ethics or Religion was to run against the boundaries of language. This running against the walls of our cage is perfectly, absolutely hopeless. Ethics so far as it springs from the desire to say something about the ultimate meaning of life, the absolute good, the absolute valuable, can be no science. What it does say does not add to our knowledge in any sense. But it is a document of a tendency in the human mind which I personally cannot help respecting deeply and I would not for my life ridicule it." Reprinted in Moral Discourse and Practice, ed. Stephen Darwall, Allan Gibbard, and Peter Railton (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 70.

(2) See, for example, John McDowell, "Virtue and Reason," The Monist 62 (July 1979): 331-50.

(3) See Simon Blackburn, "Errors and the Phenomenology of Value," in Essays in Quasi-Realism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 157.

(4) See Allan Gibbard, Wise Choices, Apt Feelings (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990) for a presentation and defense of norm-expressivism. Gibbard and antirealists such as Blackburn explicitly appeal to the naturalism of natural selection to bolster their critiques of realism and defenses of antirealism with a potent combination of Hume, Wittgenstein, and Darwin.

(5) David Wiggins, "Eudaimonism and Realism in Aristotle's Ethics: A Reply to John McDowell," in Aristotle and Moral Realism, ed. Robert Heinaman (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995), 230.

(6) Blackburn, "How to Be an Ethical Anti-Realist," in Essays in Quasi-Realism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 179.

(7) Ibid., 178.

(8) Blackburn, "Errors and the Phenomenology of Value," 163.

(9) Wiggins uses the expression "anti-non-cognitivist" in "Truth, Invention, and the Meaning of Life," 106, and in "A Sensible Subjectivism?" 202, he says of his position, "I should not for my positive preference call such a position realism, as if to contrast it with mentalism or whatever." Both papers are printed in Needs, Values, Truth, 2d ed. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991).

(10) Wiggins, "A Sensible Subjectivism?" 199.

(11) Wiggins, "A Sensible Subjectivism?" 199.

(12) Blackburn, "How to Be an Ethical Anti-Realist," 171.

(13) Ibid.

(14) Gibbard, Wise Choices, Apt Feelings, 64. Earlier in the book, Gibbard writes: "The key to human moral nature, I suggest, lies in coordination broadly conceived. The need for complex coordination stands behind much of the way language works in our thoughts, in our feelings, and in social life. It figures centrally in our emotional dispositions, especially for such morally significant emotions as outrage, guilt, shame, respect, moral admiration, and moral inspiration. Matters of coordination, in the picture I shall sketch, stand squarely behind the psychology of norms, and hence behind what is involved in thinking something rational or irrational"; Gibbard, 26.

(15) Stephen Everson, "Aristotle and the Explanation of Evaluation: A Reply to David Charles," in Aristotle and Moral Realism, ed. Robert Heinaman (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995), 196.

(16) Blackburn, "How to Be an Ethical Anti-Realist," 174.

(17) Ibid., 173.

(18) McDowell, "Virtue and Reason," 331.

(19) McDowell, "Virtue and Reason," 346.

(20) Ibid.

(21) See, for example, Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 10.5.

(22) I explore this point somewhat more fully in Jonathan Jacobs, "Taking Ethical Disability Seriously," Ratio 11, no. 2 (September 1998): 141-58.

(23) See, for example, Nicomachean Ethics 1.4.1095b4-9, 2.3.1104b31-5, 10.5.1176a17-22.

(24) See, for example, Nicomachean Ethics 2.9.1109b21-3.

(25) Wiggins, "Truth, Invention, and the Meaning of Life," 131.

(26) Ibid.

(27) Hume writes: "But the sentiments, which arise from humanity, are not only the same in all human creatures, and produce the same approbation or censure; but they also comprehend all human creatures; nor is there any one whose conduct or character is not, by their means, an object to every one of censure or approbation"; David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, ed. L. A. Selby-Bigge, 3d ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), 273.

(28) Blackburn, "How to Be an Ethical Anti-Realist," 178.

Correspondence to: Department of Philosophy and Religion, 13 Oak Drive, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY 13346-1398.
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Author:Jacobs, Jonathan
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
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Date:Sep 1, 2001
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