The Contradictions of Modern Moral Philosophy: Ethics after by Dr Paul Johnston, Paul Johnston

By Dr Paul Johnston, Paul Johnston

The Contradictions of contemporary ethical Philosophy is a hugely unique and radical critique of up to date ethical thought. Johnston skillfully demonstrates how a lot of modern ethical philosophy runs aground at the factor of even if we will make right ethical decisions.

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Extra resources for The Contradictions of Modern Moral Philosophy: Ethics after Wittgenstein (Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory)

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117), in general the change should be seen as a transition from ignorance or error to truth. It is worth noting, however, how far Williams—and by extension modern society—has moved. The claim that moral concerns are not overriding but just one type of consideration among others involves a major change in attitude to ethics; indeed, it amounts to an outright rejection of traditional moral views. This point can be illustrated by considering an example from Williams’ own work, for in an earlier book7 he suggests that the painter Gauguin was right to abandon his wife and family, since the result of this decision was the production of works of great art and no one today could wish that he had chosen otherwise.

Williams stresses that our dispositions are the underlying basis of the beliefs we have, but he is keen to balance his conservatism with criticism. On the one hand, he welcomes the fact that our ethical beliefs reflect the social world in which we have grown up, since he believes that it is shared ethical conceptions that give social life its richness. ) On the other hand, he emphasises that these beliefs need to be subject to critical examination. This can create problems, for he believes that reflection shows our beliefs cannot be all they claim to be, and this recognition can be personally and socially disquieting.

The crucial point, however, is that the moralist is not claiming a logical privilege for her views. She accepts that from a logical point of view there is no basis for distinguishing between different judgements on human action. Nonetheless she believes that there are differences everyone should recognise. Her position is that rival judgements about human action do not simply express different points of view or different preferences (or even preferences for preferences) but that there is a set of judgements which ought to be made by everyone.

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