terça-feira, 13 de março de 2012

Judging Morally

Terá início na próxima 6ª feira, 16 de Março, uma série de seminários intitulada Judging Morally, organizada por Susana Cadilha, Sofia Miguens e João Alberto Pinto e orientada por Susana Cadilha (MLAG - Instituto de Filosofia da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto). Os seminários terão por base a análise e discussão dos artigos de John McDowell sobre filosofia moral (Reason, Value and Reality, Part II of McDowell 1998) e corresponde à tarefa Judging Morally: thinkers and the parochial do Projecto The Bounds of Judgement - from Frege to cognitive agents and human thinkers (PTDC/FIL-FIL/109882/2009), neste momento em curso no MLAG, grupo de investigação pertencente ao Instituto de Filosofia da Faculdade de Letras. 

(mais informação em: http://mlag.up.pt/)

Dia e Horário: 6as feiras, 13h30-15h30
Local: Sala 208, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto

This is the moral philosophy seminar of project The Bounds of Judgement. The seminar will start from a course organized by Susana Cadilha, centering on the discussion of John McDowell’s articles ‘Are Moral Requirements Hypothetical Imperatives?’, ‘Might There Be External Reasons?’, ‘Aesthetic Value, Objectivity and the Fabric of the World’, ‘Values and Secondary Qualities’, ‘Projection and Truth in Ethics’, ‘Two Sorts of Naturalism’ and the much discussed ‘Non-cognitivism and rule-following’.

Porto
Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto
Starting: 16th March 2012
(Fridays, Room 208, 13: 30h – 15: 30h)


This is the moral philosophy seminar of project The Bounds of Judgement. One main theme will be what we call ‘usurpation’, and relate to expressivism. From Hume on many philosophers have thought they detected, in various areas of discourse, putative judgements which were imposters. The trouble was that something—usually some sensibility parochial to us—seemed to usurp the world’s sole sway over the correctness of judgement. That sort of worry has arisen for ethics, aesthetics, and a host of other things. If, say, ethics were really a domain of judgment, then judging that there are ethical facts would have to rely on some parochial capacity: one available, perhaps, to thinkers like us; but not available to just any thinker, merely in virtue of being a thinker. So, to see how bad that is (Frege apparently took it to be bad enough), one might ask whether there could be judgments available to one sort of thinker but not another. Might alien judgment be utterly different from ours? Conversely, would judgment be at all possible without benefit of (our) parochial capacities? In a series of essays (cf. Reason, Value and Reality, Part II of McDowell 1998), John McDowell has campaigned insightfully and sensitively against various versions of the view that moral discourse somehow intrinsically lacks that objectivity which is the mark of judgment, so it does not engage with truth and falsity in the same way that, say, scientific discourse does. This seminar will work towards a broader, and we hope illuminating, framework in which that issue may be placed. A general question of this project is ‘What is the objectivity which is the mark of judgement?’, and we intend to answer that question by unfolding that notion of objectivity in several different ways. Our hypothesis is that, on a fuller unfolding, this appearance of absence of objectivity in moral discourse will vanish, along with other preconceptions. Hilary Putnam adumbrates the point here in insisting that if moral discourse lacks this objectivity, then so does science (Putnam 1992, Putnam 1999). We hope this seminar will deepen the appreciation of just what McDowell’s work has achieved in that respect in the above mentioned series of essays. This seminar will start from a course organized by Susana Cadilha, centering on the discussion of the articles ‘Are Moral Requirements Hypothetical Imperatives?’, ‘Might There Be External Reasons?’, ‘Aesthetic Value, Objectivity and the Fabric of the World’, ‘Values and Secondary Qualities’, ‘Projection and Truth in Ethics’, ‘Two Sorts of Naturalism and the much discussed ‘Non-cognitivism and rule-following’. All the articles will be presented and discussed. This will be our starting point for formulating our own approach to the objectivity of moral judgment in terms of ‘the paroquial’ and ‘alien thought’. We see things the following way: a thinker is one equipped (in Frege’s term) to present particular cases to himself as fallingundergeneralities; ways things are as instancing, or not, various ways there are for things to be. Onecan think, say, that maias are [[broom is]] yellow. Beings like us are equipped by something in(in our case animal) constitution. We are thus equipped to bring things under generalities, each of a particular shape, relating to one another to form domains of particular shapes. One might think: what shape these generalities has depends on the nature of our constitution, or if its work in equipping us. One might then think: perhaps thinkers with different constitutions, working differently, might have been equipped with generalities (ways to think things), and domains, shaped differently from ours. We would then be thinkers of a particular sort—one possible sort among others. We do not assume at the start that either assumption here iscompulsory. But to the extent that our thinking is a particular sort of thinking, our generalities, so thoughts, particular forms of generalities, or thoughts, we will say that our thinking is parochial, and that we are thinkers of a parochial sort. ‘Paroquial’ refers, thus, to a trait of mind, or form of thinking, possessed by a given sort of thinker but not necessarily by all thinkers, thus it refers to what is not required just for being a thinker at all (Travis 2006). We intend to spell out the objectivity we think characterizes moral judgment in terms of ‘the parochial’, thus rejecting the idea that moral judgments are ‘imposters’, in that in moral judging something usurps ‘the world sole sway over the correctness of the posture’.

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