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    J. L. Mackie, Ethics. Inventing right and wrong

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    Johnathan R. Razorback
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    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
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    J. L. Mackie, Ethics. Inventing right and wrong

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback le Sam 17 Juin - 16:15

    "There are no objective values. [...]
    The claim that values are not objective, are not part of the fabric of the world, is meant to include not only moral goodness, which might be most naturally equated with moral value, but also other things that could be more loosely called moral values or disvalues -rightness and wrongness, duty, obligation, an action's being rotten and contemptible, and so on. It also includes non-moral values, notably aesthetic ones, beauty and various kinds of artistic merit.
    " (p.15)

    "The main tradition of European moral philosophy includes the contrary claim, that there are objective value of just the sort i have denied. I have have referred already to Plato, Kant, and Sidgwick. Kant in particular holds that the categorical imperative is not only categorical and imperative but objectively so: though a rational being gives the moral law to himself, the law that he thus makes is determinate and necessary. Aristotle begins Nicomachean Ethics by saying that the good is that at which all things aim, and that ethics is part of a science which he calls "politics", whose goal is not knowledge but practice ; yet he does not doubt that there can be knowledge of what is the good for man, nor, once he has identified this as well-being or happiness, eudaimonia, that it can be known, rationally determined, in what happiness consists ; and it is plain that he thinks that this happiness is intrinsically desirable, not good simply because it is desired." (p.30-31)

    "The denial of objective values can carry with an extreme emotional reaction, a feeling that nothing matters at all, that life has lost its purpose. Of course this does not follow ; the lack of objective values is not a good reason for abandoning subjective concern or for ceasing to want anything." (p.34)

    "Ordinary moral judgements include a claim to objectivity." (p.35)

    "The denial of objective values will have to be put foward not as the result of an analytic approach, but as an "error theory", a theory that althought most people in making moral judgements implicitly claim, among other things, to be pointing to something objectively prescriptive, these claims are all false. It is this that makes the name "moral scepticism" appropriate. [...]
    But since this is an error theory, since it goes against assumptions ingrained in our thought and built into some of the ways in which language is used, since it conflicts with what is sometimes called common sense, it needs very solid support. [...] Traditionally it has been supported by arguments of two main kinds, which i shall call the argument from relativity and the argument from queerness, but these can, as i shall show, be supplemented in several ways
    ." (p.35)

    "The argument from relativity has some force simply because the actuel variations in the moral codes are more readily explained by the hypothesis that they reflect ways of life than by the hypothesis that they express perceptions, most of them seriously inadequate and badly distorted, of objective values." (p.37)

    "Even more important, however, and certainly more generraly applicable, is the argument from queerness. This has two parts, one metaphysical, the other epistemological. If there were objective valus, then they would be entities or qualities or relations of a very strange sort, utterly different from anything else in the universe. Correspondingly, if we were aware of them, it would have to be by some special facultry of moral perception or intuition, utterly different from our ordinary ways of knowing everything else." (p.38)

    "What is the connection between the natural fact that an action is a piece of deliberate cruelty -say, causing pain just for fun- and the moral fact that it is wrong ? It cannot be an entailment, a logical or semantic necessity. Yet it is not merely that the two features occur together. The wrongness must somehow be "consequential" or "supervenient" ; it is wrong because it is a piece of deliberate cruelty. But just what in the world is signified by this "because" ? And how do we know the relation that it signifies, if this is something more than such actions being socially condemned, and condemned by us too, perhaps through our having absorbed attitudes from our social environment ? It is not even sufficient to postulate a facultry which "sees" the wrongness: something must be postulated which can see at once the natural features that constitute the cruelty, and the wrongness, and the mysterious consequential link between the two. Alternatively, the intuition required might be the perception that wrongness is a higher order property belonging to certain natural properties ; but what is this belonging of properties to other properties, and how can we discern it ? How much simpler and more comprehensible the situation would be if we could replace the moral quality with some sort of subjective response which could be causally related to the detection of the natural features on which the supposed quality is sais to be consequential." (p.41)
    -John L. Mackie, Ethics. Inventing right and wrong, Penguin Books, 1990 (1977 pour la première édition anglaise), 249 pages.


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      La date/heure actuelle est Mar 17 Oct - 16:37