Theory of Games as a Tool for the Moral Philosopher. an Inaugural Lecture Delivered in Cambridge on 2 December 1954

Theory of Games as a Tool for the Moral Philosopher. an Inaugural Lecture Delivered in Cambridge on 2 December 1954

Theory of Games as a Tool for the Moral Philosopher. an Inaugural Lecture Delivered in Cambridge on 2 December 1954

Theory of Games as a Tool for the Moral Philosopher. an Inaugural Lecture Delivered in Cambridge on 2 December 1954

Excerpt

It is a frequent complaint against academic moral philosophers that they inhabit an ivory tower where they meditate upon the analysis of ethical concepts or explore the logical semantics of the language of morals without ever descending to earth to apply their abstract studies in giving practical advice as to how to solve actual moral problems. The reply we academics usually make to this accusation is that our critics are confusing the function of an ethical philosopher with that of a moralist: the function of a moralist is to advise or to exhort, that of a philosopher to think about ethics, or, indeed, to think about thinking about ethics. But I, for one, am sufficiently sensitive to this criticism to be prepared to moralize about anything which my philosophizing has given me reason for moralizing about--especially when, as in the matter about which I shall venture to advise you today, the exposition of the reasons for the advice I shall offer as moralist are exactly the considerations which will be involved when, for a few moments towards the end of the lecture, I shall re-ascend the ivory tower to philosophize upon the ethical concepts I have employed.

The concept with which I shall be principally concerned is one which is given various names in different contexts--Justice, sometimes, in one of its many senses; equitable distribution in the context of welfare economics; Égalité if one is manning the barricades in its defence. I shall be very British and will call it fair . . .

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