Illusive Mind

The Unquestionable should be questioned

Friday, May 06, 2005

Practicality Requirement


The practicality suggests that for something to be considered a moral judgement of for a meta-ethical theory to make sense it must account for the idea that moral judgements persuade us. If you truly believe stealing is wrong then this belief will affect your behaviour.

Is the practicality requirement all that compelling?

If you believe stealing is wrong then you cannot consistently go and steal something, you mustn’t have really thought stealing was wrong. This seems to be an
extension of ‘He who knows good will do good’.

But can’t I believe that it is wrong from steal from people and then knowingly steal some money from a shop. Can’t I be apathetic towards the moral judgement? I’m no
psychology student, but I remember reading that a Psychopath can’t tell the difference between right and wrong, whilst a Sociopath knows the difference, they
just don’t care.

Under the practicality require it is not clear how someone can ever be immoral.

If I hold a moral judgement then I must follow through on that judgement otherwise I must not have ever held that moral judgement.

Under this view people are immoral only in the sense that their moral judgements are incorrect or at least are contrary to those describing the action(s) as wrong.

So I cannot truly believe that stealing is wrong and steal something, according to the practicality requirement I (or a sociopath) can never do wrong (at least in their own view). But haven’t you ever done something you thought was wrong? The sociopath certainly does.

Thus the practicality requirement is false or at least must be reformulated.



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