Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Gideon Calder"

Titel: Ethics and Social Ontology
Autor: Gideon Calder
Seite: 427-443

’Philosophers such as Frege and Popper, and more recently Jürgen Habermas have said that we should think of reality as dividing up into three different worlds. My own view is that we should never have started counting.’ (Searle 1998, 144)

’Ethics is about human beings but it is about what they are like, not what they like.’ (Eagleton 2004, 126-127)

Abstract: Normative theory, in various idioms, has grown wary of questions of ontology social and otherwise. Thus modern debates in ethics have tended to take place at some distance from (for example) debates in social theory. One arguable casualty of this has been due consideration of relational factors (between agents and the social structures they inhabit) in the interrogation of ethical values. Part 1 of this paper addresses some examples of this tendency, and some of the philosophical assumptions which might underlie it. Parts 2 and 3 discuss two issues of growing prominence disability, and environmental concern due attention to which, I argue, highlights strong reasons why severing ethics from social ontology is neither possible nor desirable. I conclude by recommending a qualified ethical naturalism as a promising candidate through which, non-reductively, to reunite these two areas of theoretical focus.

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