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Identifier 000357943
Title Εξελικτική ηθική : Ο ρόλος της συμπάθειας στην ηθική δικαιολόγηση
Author Μπασούκος, Αντώνης
Thesis advisor Τσινόρεμα, Σταυρούλα
Reviewer Ζούρος, Ελευθεριος
Μαραγκός, Γεώργιος
Abstract Hume’s concept of sympathy is close, closer than A. Smith’s one, to the use ethologist F. de Waal utilizes when he describes aspects of chimpanzee, and other primates’, behaviour. However, sympathy by itself has no other implication than broadening our scope of morality. Morality’s purpose, which according to Hume is “to teach us our duty” (Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, section 1) brings forth, as duty has connotations of objectivity and sympathy cannot lead to the objective, the hypothetical nature of a moral judgement: one acquires by sympathy the pleasure or uneasiness they imagine people would feel by contemplating a character’s trait, were this trait to manifest itself under usual circumstances. This leads to the first objection to Ruse’s Darwinian ethics. There is no guarantee that the biological approach will provide anything more than a partial explanation of morality, since Hume himself appeals to the imagination for the genesis of a moral sentiment. I read Hume as a proponent of virtue as appropriateness, which requires the imagination’s creative powers because “[taste, as opposed to reason]… is a productive faculty” (Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, appendix 1). The aforementioned involve an interpretation of him as a believer in the existence of values, incorporated into morality by the imagination, as the latter is coloured by its bearer’s character. Taste makes use of knowledge and experience to create, collaborates with reason, the word used in a sense different from Hume’s. This is an argument for plasticity explained by appeal to Biology, rather than determinism, in line with our common perceptions of ourselves. [7] In the previous paragraph the reasons can also be found why a) Darwinian morality (in A. Rosenberg’s terminology) cannot be effectively pursued from a naturalistic point of view, namely sympathy’s limited abilities to arouse an impartial judgement, and b) Darwinian metaethics face the difficult task of developing a theory for justification, namely, in recreated 18th century terms, the cultivation of taste. Ruse’s concept of objectivity, adopted from J. L. Mackie, is so narrow that it is no longer functional. It can be summarized as ‘plain out-thereness’. It implies that the scientific method has the desirable degree of objectivity. One suspects that, if the last were true, a series of skeptical arguments would occur as a result, annihilating most, if not all, things to non-identifiable somethings. Even if Mackie and Ruse’s skepticism about values is well founded and ultimate ethical justifications are to be abandoned in favour of evolutionary explanations what difference would it make in daily situations? Hume’s own answer, in accord with his causality analysis, is none (Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, section 12). Reasons still need to be provided, even though from a strict fact-searching point of view, they would be an illusion. This is because of intentionality of the highest (known) level, as automata one might argue we are, we remain unpredictable ones, because of our brain capacities. The explaining away of justification is sterile. While this theory may have the grace of simplicity and the merit of avoiding some hasty conclusions of related past attempts, its own success is its very limit.
Language Greek
Issue date 2008
Collection   School/Department--School of Philosophy--Department of Philosophy & Social Studies--Post-graduate theses
  Type of Work--Post-graduate theses
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