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會議論文-謝世民

 

Understanding McDowell's Ethics

Ser-Min Shei

 

 

Many moral philosophers aim to offer an account of the nature of morality so as to explain its importance and priority as well as the possibility of moral knowledge. A recent systematic attempt is undertaken by T. M. Scanlon in his What We Owe To Each Other. It is not clear that McDowell is ever concerned with explaining the importance and priority of morality in his ethical writings, although he has written several essays to show us that many arguments for denying the possibility of moral knowledge (or the reality of ethical properties) made by non-cognitivists are unsound. However, it is often alleged that McDowell's ethical writings have lent support for a virtue-based account of morality. In this paper, I am interested in reconstructing a virtue-based account of morality in light of McDowell's ethical writings and I would like to examine, in comparison to Scanlon's contractualist account of morality, how such an account is to explain the importance and priority of morality. In order to make the comparison meaningful, I shall argue that it is wrong to suggest that on the virtue-based account of morality, there is no need to explain the importance and priority of morality. In my view, this suggestion is dogmatic and might be based on a misunderstanding of the project of explaining the importance and priority of morality.

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