XII
Some Related Theories

1

THE second pattern of analysis is often useful as a tool for clarifying and criticizing the several trends of ethical theory. We have seen this in Chapter IX, with reference to Plato, Bentham, and Sidgwick. Let us now consider some other writers, paying particular attention to those to whom the present work is indebted. For there are several theorists whose views are very close to the present ones -- so much so that it becomes interesting, amid the points of resemblance, to make clear the precise points of difference.

The greater part of our attention must be given to John Dewey, whose work in ethics as in every field is worthy of respectful study.

How does Dewey distinguish between evaluative terms and descriptive ones? He answers rather carefully in The Quest for Certainty,1 where he contrasts "desired" with "desirable," "admired" with "admirable," "esteemed" with "estimable," and so on. In each pair of terms the first serves "to make a statement about a fact" or to give "a mere report"; whereas the second is used to make a "judgment as to the importance and need of bringing a fact into existence; or if it is already there, of sustaining it in existence." Only the latter terms, which indicate that something is "to be prized and cherished, to be enjoyed," mark a "genuine practical judgment." And a page or two later the same distinction is reiterated:

Propositions about what is or has been liked are of instrumental value in reaching judgments of value, in as far as the conditions and consequences of the thing liked are thought about. In themselves they make no claims; they put forth no demand upon subsequent attitudes and acts; they profess no authority to direct. . . . A judgment about

____________________
1
Chap. ix, particularly pp. 260-263 (Minton, Balch, 1929).

-253-

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Ethics and Language
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Ethics and Language 1
  • II - Working Models 20
  • III - Some Pragmatic Aspects of Meaning? 37
  • Iv First Pattern of Analysis 81
  • V - First Pattern: Method 111
  • VI - Persuasion 139
  • VII - Validity 152
  • VIII - Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value 174
  • IX - Second Pattern of Analysis: Persuasive Definitions 206
  • X - Second Pattern: Method 227
  • XI - Moralists and Propagandists 243
  • XII - Some Related Theories 253
  • XIII - Further Observations on the Function of Definitions 277
  • XIV - Avoidability; Indeterminism 298
  • XV - Practical Implications 319
  • Index of Proper Names 337
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