Monday, October 04, 2004

Philosophers' Carnival III

The third Philosophers' Carnival is up at Philosophical Poetry. My contribution is here. Some other interesting ones:

* Observing Morality at "Philosophy, et cetera." I find Richard's argument interesting; but I wonder if it might be too strong and swift - in particular, it seems to me his argument against observation of moral facts could easily be turned against observation of other facts, as well, in the service of cognitive skepticism. He says:

Moral properties would be just another bit of data (alongside photons and soundwaves) for us to work with and interpret for evolutionary ends. Again, there's no reason at all to think that we would learn to distinguish which properties were intended to mean 'good' and which 'bad'. If intrinsically 'bad' things increased our evolutionary fitness, then we would come to (mistakenly) interpret them as 'good'.

So unless one wants to conflate 'good for my genes' with 'morally good' (not a good idea!), we must deny that objective moral properties exist independently, 'out there' in the world, waiting to be perceived by humans.

But suppose someone were to substitute 'perceived properties' for 'moral properties' and modify everything else accordingly? The conclusion would be that, while there are real facts of the matter, and while our cognitive functions are such as to promote evolutionary success, we have no reason to think our cognitive abilities map the world.

* Reduplication and Two Minds at "Prosblogion," which has occasioned a number of my own posts.

(I'm having a bit of trouble with Blogger, so bear with me today!)

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