March 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Spetnagel Ethics Lecture | Is Morality Unified? March 10

The Ohio University Institute for Applied & Professional Ethics presents Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong on “Is Morality Unified?” on Thursday, March 10, at 7 p.m., in Stocker 103. This is the Philosophy Department’s Annual Spetnagel Ethics Lecture.

Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

Sinnott-Armstrong is the Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics at Duke University.

This event is free and open to the public. Stocker is on West Green across Richland Avenue from Porter Hall; it is a brick building with a clock tower.

Abstract: Are moral judgments objective? Is morality rational or emotional? Do moral beliefs motivate? How can we justify moral claims? Do psychopaths appreciate moral wrongness? None of these common questions makes any sense unless morality is unified enough to be a coherent field of study. If moral judgments are as different as pieces of furniture, then no general theory of moral judgments could cover them all. I will argue that moral judgments are indeed not unified by any feature that makes morality worthy of study as a unified field. As a result, moral philosophy and psychology need to adopt a more fine-grained method and ask new questions about carefully defined subgroups of moral judgments without generalizing to all of morality. This new method will enable progress not only in moral philosophy and psychology but also in political and legal theory and other areas.

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