Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-gsnzm Total loading time: 0.26 Render date: 2022-10-05T03:59:34.586Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Modern Moral Philosophy1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 February 2009

G. E. M. Anscombe
Affiliation:
Somerville College, Oxford.
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]

Extract

HTML view is not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

I will begin by stating three theses which I present in this paper. The first is that it is not profitable for us at present to do moral philosophy; that should be laid aside at any rate until we have an adequate philosophy of psychology, in which we are conspicuously lacking. The second is that the concepts of obligation, and duty—moral obligation and moral duty, that is to say—and of what is morally right and wrong, and of the moral sense of “ought,” ought to be jettisoned if this is psychologically possible; because they are survivals, or derivatives from survivals, from an earlier conception of ethics which no longer generally survives, and are only harmful without it. My third thesis is that the differences between the wellknown English writers on moral philosophy from Sidgwick to the present day are of little importance.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1958

References

page 4 note 1 The above two paragraphs are an abstract of a paper “On Brute Facts“ forthcoming in Analysis.

page 6 note 1 They did not deny the existence of divine law; but their most characteristic doctrine was that it was given, not to be obeyed, but to show man's incapacity to obey it, even by grace; and this applied not merely to the ramified prescriptions of the Torah, but to the requirements of “natural divine law.” Cf. in this connection the decree of Trent against the teaching that Christ was only to be trusted in as mediator, not obeyed as legislator.

page 8 note 1 As it is absurdly called. Since major premise=premise containing the term which is predicate in the conclusion, it is a solecism to speak of it in the connection with practical reasoning.

page 9 note 1 Oxford Objectivists of course distinguish between “consequences” and “intrinsic values” and so produce a misleading appearance of not being “consequentialists.” But they do not hold—and Ross explicitly denies—that the gravity of, e.g., procuring the condemnation of the innocent is such that it cannot be outweighed by, e.g., national interest. Hence their distinction is of no importance.

page 11 note 1 E.N. 1178b16.

page 12 note 1 Necessarily a rare case: for the positive precepts, e.g. “Honour your parents,” hardly ever prescribe, and seldom even necessitate, any particular action.

page 17 note 1 If he thinks it in the concrete situation, he is of course merely a normally tempted human being. In discussion when this paper was read, as was perhaps to be expected, this case was produced: a government is required to have an innocent man tried, sentenced and executed under threat of a “hydrogen bomb war.” It would seem strange to me to have much hope of so averting a war threatened by such men as made this demand. But the most important thing about the way in which cases like this are invented in discussions, is the assumption that only two courses are open: here, compliance and open defiance. No one can say in advance of such a situation what the possibilities arc going to be—e.g. that there is none of stalling by a feigned willingness to comply, accompanied by a skilfully arranged “escape” of the victim.

page 19 note 1 Ethics, p. 308.

You have Access
901
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Modern Moral Philosophy1
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Modern Moral Philosophy1
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Modern Moral Philosophy1
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *