Common Themes from Sidgwick to Ewing

Thomas Hurka

in Underivative Duty

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199577446
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725425 | DOI:
Common Themes from Sidgwick to Ewing

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This chapter identifies the features that made the philosophers from Sidgwick to Ewing a unified and distinctive group in the history of ethics. These include their conceptual minimalism, whereby all normative judgements can be expressed using a few basic concepts; their non‐naturalist metaethics, whereby moral judgements express sui generis truths that can be known by moral intuition; their goal of theorizing common‐sense morality by relating it to more abstract principles; their interest in moral explanations, or in why acts are right or wrong; and their pursuit of what can be called ‘structural’ as against ‘foundational’ explanations. Many of these views are summarized in the idea that some moral duties, the basic ones, are underivative.

Keywords: Sidgwick; Ewing; non‐naturalism; intuition; moral explanation; underivative duty

Chapter.  11001 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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