Morality and Art

Philippa Foot

in Moral Dilemmas

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252848
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597411 | DOI:
Morality and Art

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Discusses the question of the objectivity or subjectivity of moral judgements, hoping to illuminate it by contrasting moral and aesthetic judgements. In her critical assessment of the nature of moral judgements, Foot concludes that some such judgements (as e.g. that Nazism was evil) are definitely objective. The concept of morality here supplies criteria independent of local standards, which function as fixed starting points in arguments across local boundaries, whereas by contrast aesthetic truths can ultimately depend on locally determined criteria. More problematic is the apparently different relation of moral and of aesthetic judgements to rational choice. Individuals may have no reason to choose what is beautiful, but we think that they must always have reason to choose what is morally right, which raises one of the most difficult problems in moral philosophy.

Keywords: aesthetics; authority; rational choice; relativism; objectivism

Chapter.  6677 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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