XV
Practical Implications

1

IN ITS essential aspects the present analysis is now complete; so let us view it in a broader perspective, considering the ways in which it promises to be of practical use. Certain points will be obvious. Moral questions often present a Babel of tongues, where attention to the flexibilities of language is essential for locating the points of debate. And since many ethical writers stubbornly abide by methods which, in their claims to finality, are mocked by the endless disputes to which they lead, a critical study may help to cut through this pretentiousness, and enable ethics to accomplish more by attempting less. If we are to have an adequate estimate of the importance of analysis, however, we must look to its repercussions with greater care. So let us see whether our conclusions can give normative discussions a needed discipline, and let us see whether they can serve, indirectly, to hold up certain methods as more serviceable than others. The topic is in part concerned with the proper place of science in normative ethics; and since this is a point on which misunderstanding is particularly costly, provoking artificial opposition where there should be compatibility and coöperation, let us give it the main part of our attention.

In discussing the proper place of science in ethics, we must remember that our conclusions, themselves normative, may be the occasion for disagreement in attitude. Yet much can be done by reviewing and emphasizing the results of the preceding chapters. If analysis is not sufficient in itself to establish how science ought to be used in ethics, it can clear the way for such a conclusion. We shall have occasion to see, perhaps, that a clearing of the way is much more than a bare beginning.


2

THE other-worldliness of the metaphysical traditions in ethics, and their disregard of the sciences, have rarely been attacked

-319-

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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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