Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

European Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 13, No. 3, December 2005

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

European Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 13, No. 3, December 2005

Article excerpt

Habermas's Moral Cognitivism and the Frege-Geach Challenge, JAMES GORDON FINLAYSON

This article levels a challenge at Habermas's discourse ethics which is more usually directed to theories denying that moral discourse is truth-bearing. James Gordon Finlayson argues here that the same challenge applies to discourse ethics, because Habermas denies that moral utterances are truth-apt, and claims that they are only analogous to truth. Part 1 shows that Habermas's view that there is only an analogy between truth and rightness rests on an unjustified worry that metaethical cognitivism implies moral realism. It concludes that Habermas simply assumes moral discourse is syntactically disciplined exactly like theoretical discourse but cannot explain why this is. Part 2 argues that the only tenable responses open to Habermas are either (1) to combine deflationism about truth with the acceptance that moral utterances can be true, or (2) to refrain from offering any theory of truth and to prescind entirely from the metaethical question of cognitivism versus non-cognitvism.

Killing Civilians, GERHARD OVERLAND

In the paper, Gerhard Overland investigates the permissibility of killing nonthreatening people in war. He proposes that although civilians are neither combatants nor a threat to the defending party, there might be relations between civilians and the soldiers making it permissible to kill the former to impede the aggression of the latter. The upshot is that killing civilians may be permissible if they are (1) culpable causes, (2) innocent causes, (3) legitimate innocent shields, and, perhaps, (4) in situations of supreme emergency. …

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