Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake ?

H. A. Prichard

in Moral Writings

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199250196
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598265 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake  ?

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Maintaining that the existence of Moral Philosophy, as it is usually understood, rests on a mistake, Prichard undertakes to formulate our true attitude towards moral obligations. The right action does not depend upon either our own good or what is good. Obligations are underivative, immediate, and self‐evident, and therefore, we do not come to appreciate them through argument or a process of non‐moral thinking. The mistake on which Moral Philosophy rests, which links obligation to virtue or desire, parallels the mistake underpinning the Theory of Knowledge. Like moral obligation, knowledge is immediate; it need not be vindicated or improved by additional knowledge.

Keywords: desire; good; knowledge; moral philosophy; obligation; right; theory of knowledge; virtue

Chapter.  8052 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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