Introduction: The Scope of Moral Philosophy

Colin McGinn

in Ethics, Evil, and Fiction

Published in print June 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238775
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598005 | DOI:
 Introduction: The Scope of Moral Philosophy

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McGinn argues that there are important ethical questions, such as the moral psychology of evil, which are unsuited to study according to the bipartite division of contemporary analytic moral philosophy into metaethics and normative ethics. McGinn's thesis is that the best way to approach such problems is by appealing to literature, which presents ideal conditions for the study of moral character. McGinn is also interested in the relationship between ethics and aesthetics, and in whether ethical questions might be explicable in terms of aesthetics. However, before turning to these topics, McGinn presents, in chapters 2 and 3, an analytical discussion of ethical knowledge in which he defends an objectivist or ‘cognitivist’ view of moral truth.

Keywords: aesthetics; cognitivism; literature; metaethics; moral knowledge; moral philosophy; normative ethics; objectivism

Chapter.  2461 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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