Ethical Naturalism and the Modern World-View

Ethical Naturalism and the Modern World-View

Ethical Naturalism and the Modern World-View

Ethical Naturalism and the Modern World-View

Excerpt

Ethical discourse is a species of value-talk, and many of its problems are shared by the genus. This is true of the problem of naturalism, which occurs not only in the philosophy of ethics but in the philosophy of value in general. Then why not deal with it in terms of value-language as such? In the first place, I am interested in ethics itself; but even if my concern were simply the problem without regard to where it appears, ethics would be of primary interest since the problem is most acute there. Naturalists find ethics the most recalcitrant value-field, and it provides them their severest test. Some who hold to naturalism in other value-areas are nonnaturalists in ethics. Some who profess or are usually believed to be naturalistic all the way unwittingly smuggle in nonnaturalism here. Also, it may well be that ethics in a way embraces all values of whatever description. Since the problem of naturalism is both general and specific, it will do no harm to talk about value- and ethical concepts interchangeably in some contexts. But there is no intent to say anything in this book about aesthetic and other kinds of nonmoral value-concepts other than what may be true of them generically as value-concepts. This is primarily a study in the philosophy of ethics but with a concern for general value-theory.

I use the term 'ethical naturalism' in a much broader sense than that usually found in the literature. As it is used in this study, it embraces not only that which is usually so designated . . .

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