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Publisher’s Note: Philippa Foot has for many years been one of the most distinctive and influential thinkers in moral philosophy. Long dissatisfied with the moral theories of her contemporaries, she has gradually evolved a theory of her own that is radically opposed not only to emotivism and prescriptivism but also to the whole subjectivist, anti-naturalist movement deriving from David Hume. Dissatisfied with both Kantian and utilitarian ethics, she claims to have isolated a special form of evaluation that predicates goodness and defect only to living things considered as such; she finds this form of evaluation in moral judgements. Her vivid discussion covers topics such as practical rationality, erring conscience, and the relation between virtue and happiness, ending with a critique of Nietzsche’s immoralism. This long-awaited book exposes a highly original approach to moral philosophy and represents a fundamental break from the assumptions of recent debates. Foot challenges many prominent philosophical arguments and attitudes; but hers is a work full of life and feeling, written for anyone intrigued by the deepest questions about goodness and human.
Comment: This is an intermediate text which outlines and argues for the primary methodological differences between Foot’s account of the relationship between reason and morality, and the standard (broadly Humean) approach against which she is arguing. Some understanding of this standard approach is required to get the most out of this text. The text is clear throughout and would make a good compliment to courses which deal with the Humean account of Action or 20th century discussions concerning meta-ethics.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
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Summary: This paper argues that there are various kinds of cases in which a subject clearly knows that p, yet it is not epistemically appropriate for her to use the proposition that p in practical reasoning, to act as if p, or act on p. Knowledge is not, therefore, always sufficient for epistemically justifying practical rationality, unlike what says in the sufficiency condition of the knowledge norm of practical reasoning. In addition, it offers a diagnosis of what is salient in the above cases and suggests a broad feature that needs to be accounted for in any view of the norm governing practical rationality.
Comment: This is a nice paper arguing against the knowledge norm of practical reasoning, in particular the sufficiency condition. It is suitable for teaching on epistemic norms and pragmatic encroachement in a upper-level undergraduate course on epistemology.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format