SAAP Annual Meeting 2014

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Thinking Progress Prior to Truth: Kitcher’s Ethics with James’s Truth

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In The Ethical Project, Philip Kitcher articulates a metaethics that consists in starting from a concept of ethical progress rather than from that of ethical truth. This paper interrogates the practical difference of emphasizing a concept of progress over truth as it pertains to ethical normativity. The paper begins by contextualizing Kitcher’s ethical project before turning to a more in-depth analysis of his understanding of truth in relation to William James’s concept. I then proceed to Kitcher’s own metaethical account by following the argument he gives for prioritizing ethical progress over ethical truth. I conclude with final reflections on the implications of ethical progress for a theory of normativity.

Author(s):

Bonnie Sheehey    
University of Oregon
United States

 

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