April, 2018
April 21, 2018
Intuitions: Moral vs Political

There’s an industry in moral philosophy in the muddy business of digging out intuitions. Imagine, advocates of this industry say, that you hold this-or-that moral principle. Some principle which claims, for example, that you can kill people under these-and-those circumstances. But then there’s an important counterexample. In this-or-that scenario (which is almost always hypothetical), the principle gives the wrong result. The principle “violates our intuitions”. (It’s almost always some very unspecified “we” whose intuitions are violated.) Perhaps, however, if we moved to some slightly alternative moral principle, which slightly changed under which circumstances we can kill, we could explain this case away—the principle would “fit” our intuitions better. But here’s another counterexample which this principle cannot explain! And so the dialectical machinery runs on. Normally, a satisfyingly solution is found within around 20 pages, which happens to be the length of a publishable article.