Ethical and Philosophical Questions about Value and Obligation

977 Words4 Pages
Ethical and Philosophical Questions about Value and Obligation I Recall the distinction between metaethics and normative ethics. Normative ethics deals with substantial ethical issues, such as, What is intrinsically good? What are our moral obligations? Metaethics deals with philosophical issues about ethics: What is value or moral obligation? Are there ethical facts? What sort of objectivity is possible in ethics? How can we have ethical knowledge? Recall, also, the fundamental dilemma of metaethics. Either there are ethical facts or there aren?t. If they are, what sort of facts are they? In what do they consist? If there are not, why do we think, talk, and feel as though there are? II Philosophical…show more content…
For Kant, morality is a construction of practical reason. But that doesn?t make it arbitrary, since Kant argues that its construction (?legislation?) is essential to the practical reasoning of any free rational agent. Mill?s value theory is a version of the ideal judgment theory. So is Kant?s, but note the differences. Mill?s theory is empiricist, Kant?s rationalist. Kant grounds morality in structures that, he argues, are necessary to free, rational practical judgment. But how do Kant?s metaethics relate to his normative ethics. Pursuing the comparison with Mill, how is Kant?s anti-consequentialist (deontological) claim that it is wrong to treat persons in certain ways even if that maximizes happiness grounded in his metaethics, in particular, in his metaphysics of ethics? V With Nietzsche, we get a critique of any theory of morality, Millian or Kantian, on broadly empiricist and naturalist grounds. As against Kant, Nietzsche argues both that there is no free will of the kind Kant says we must presuppose, and that what underlies the Categorical Imperative is no construction of free practical reason, but ressentiment and cruelty. And against, Mill?s claims that morality has an adequate empirical basis in natural conscience (the salience of the ?moral point of view?), sympathy, and the desire to be in unity with others, Nietzsche argues that its genesis depends on particular historical circumstances and continued

More about Ethical and Philosophical Questions about Value and Obligation

Open Document