Seeing Aspects, Seeing Value
Fearn (Joe)
Source: Sorites 9, April 1998: 32-46
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    This paper is a defense of moral realism. It claims that Hume’s projectivism and abuse of resultance has led us to gross distortions of noncognitivist ethics. The analogy of moral properties with secondary properties is noted, before offering a stronger theory of moral realism. This theory recognises moral properties as constituting part of the manifest image, in a way that is satisfactory both ontologically (about what kind of entities moral properties are) and epistemologically (about the grounds to prove their presence.) This involves a rejection of austere, scientific reductionism. This model of moral realism relies on an analogy of moral properties as aspects. Aspect-seeing and moral value perception are argued to be linked, in a discussion of Wittgenstein’s account of noticing aspects. Aspect blindness can best explain moral blindness, and bring out the connection with human possession and use of concepts. Moral value perception is a case of coming to see things in a certain light; as seeing human behaviour as «HUMAN» behaviour. Finally, I go on to argue that seeing is not just a matter of light waves of a certain frequency hitting our retina from an object that we passively see, but is a complex phenomena that can accommodate moral vision.


Filed electronically with the full edition of Sorites 09

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