Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Peter Railton"

Titel: Autonomie, Charakter und praktische Vernunft: Überlegungen am Beispiel des Utilitarismus
Autor: R. Jay Wallace
Seite: 213-230

Abstract: This paper explores the question whether utilitarianism is compatible with the autonomy of the moral agent. The paper begins by considering Bernard Williams' famous complaint that utilitarianism cannot do justice to the personal projects and commitments constitutive of character. Recent work (by Peter Railton among others) has established that a utilitarian agent need not be free of such personal projects and commitments, and could even affirm them morally at the level of second-order reflection. But a different and more subtle problem confronts this approach: the use of utilitarian principles to justify the cultivation of personal projects and attachments undermines the autonomy to support this objection, according to which autonomy is a matter of acting in a way one can reflectively endorse.

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Titel: Normative Guidance, Evaluative Guidance, and Skill
Autor: Peter Railton
Seite: 235-252

At least since Aristotle, practical skill has been thought to be a possible model for individual ethical development and action. Jonathan Birch’s ambitious proposal is that practical skill and tool-use might also have played a central role in the historical emergence and evolution of our very capacity for normative guidance. Birch argues that human acquisition of motor skill, for example in making and using tools, involves formation of an internal standard of correct performance, which serves as a basis for normative guidance in skilled thought and action, and in the social transfer of skills. I suggest that evaluative modeling, guidance, and learning play a more basic role in motor skill than standards of correctness as such—indeed, such standards can provide effective normative guidance thanks to being embedded within evaluative modeling and guidance. This picture better fits the evidence Birch cites of the flexibility, adaptability, and creativity of skills, and can support a generalized version of Birch’s ‘skill hypothesis’.

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