Anscombe essay modern moral philosophy

As an example of such an investigation, a monograph entitled Intentionby G. The name Aristotle, for example, does not seem to carry any descriptive content. Nussbaum and Amartya Sen eds. In MMP she writes about pursuing the project of ethics as Plato and Aristotle pursued it, along virtue ethical lines: Nevertheless, in normal circumstances, if you have promised to do something then you really are obliged to do it, just as in chess bishops really do have to move diagonally if at all and, in the United States, cars really do have to drive on the right hand side of the road.

She does not mean bad in some allegedly special or uniquely moral sense. On this view we need to develop an alternative that is based on moral psychology, moral virtue, facts of human nature, and an account of the good for humans based on this approach. A is xing intentionally.

G. E. M. Anscombe (1919—2001)

The word I is not a name I call myself. It is sufficient to note here that, as a result of these problems, most subsequent analytic philosophers have been wary of appealing directly to the principle.

Virtue Ethics

Her main objection to consequentialism is a moral one. In the course of his argument, a similar doubt was cast upon concepts traditional not only to philosophy but also to linguistics —in particular, the concept of synonymy, or sameness of meaning.

Special edition on environmental virtue ethics. How do we know what we know. The later Wittgenstein A crucial turn that initiated developments that were destined to have a lasting and profound effect on much of contemporary analytic philosophy occurred inwhen Wittgenstein, after some years in Austria during which he was not philosophically very active, returned to England and established his residence at Cambridge.

Mathematics and logic are, in this sense, bad models for language, because they aim at setting out beforehand the rules and principles that are subsequently to be used. It is sometimes thought that Anscombe is saying that only religious believers are entitled to talk or think about moral obligation or what one morally ought to do.

He pointed out that the agent who, rightly, visits a friend in hospital will rather lessen the impact of his visit on her if he tells her either that he is doing it because it is his duty or because he thought it would maximize the general happiness.

It has no idea that there are such things as financial dealings.


Susan and Harold also like Beethoven, Mahler, and Bartok. Care-focused feminism is a branch of feminist thought, informed primarily by ethics of care as developed by Carol Gilligan and Nel Noddings. As for gay marriage, similarly, Anscombe argues that only if a marriage is of the kind that could lead to children being brought into the world that is, if it is a heterosexual marriage, even if one or both partners is known to be infertile is its beginning an event worthy of ceremony.

See Annas for a short, clear, and authoritative account of all three. Wittgenstein was tremendously influential, however, in suggesting that these two extremes are not the only alternatives. A further criticism of the Utilitarian formula "Maximize pleasure" is that it assumes a continuous pleasure-pain scale that lets us treat degrees of pain as negative degrees of pleasure.

Contraception and Chastity

For more on a skeptical reading of MMP, see Crisp Russell did not see the philosopher as merely a logician, however. Mill's explanation of the concept of utility in his work, Utilitarianism, is that people really do desire happiness, and since each individual desires their own happiness, it must follow that all of us desire the happiness of everyone, contributing to a larger social utility.

What Anscombe objects to is a secular use of religious concepts not mere words. Absolute idealism was avowedly metaphysicalin the sense that its adherents thought of themselves as describing, in a way not open to scientists, certain very fundamental truths about the world.

In her opinion, gay sex is wrong then in exactly the same way, and for the same reason, that masturbation is wrong. And it is the last concept that appears the most doubtful. She is not forbidding anything. It is much easier to trace an effect back to its cause than it is to read off the supposedly inevitable effects of any potential cause.

An influential debate in analytic ethicsfor example, concerned the question of whether sentences that express moral judgments e. It is possible to perform a right action without being virtuous and a virtuous person can occasionally perform the wrong action without that calling her virtue into question.

He tried to show that, when philosophers carry out such investigations, they find that, roughly speaking, it is the way people act that leads to the attribution of these properties and that there is no involvement of anything internally private.

One of her main contributions to ethics is the introduction of the word consequentialism as a label for these theories, along with an account of their alleged shortcomings. We need to know what they take themselves to be doing, how they understand their actions.

Among empiricists this has often meant making it more scientific. Thus, there have been an immense variety of forms and combinations of these two major trends, resulting in a complexity that defies any attempt at a fixed classification.

The most important distinguishing factor has to do with how motivations and dispositions are taken to matter for the purposes of explaining other normative qualities. This conclusion was a cornerstone of two important early movements in analytic philosophy, logical atomism and logical positivism.

The history of Western ethics Ancient civilizations to the end of the 19th century The ancient Middle East and Asia. The first ethical precepts must have been passed down by word of mouth from parents and elders, but as societies learned to use the written word, they began to set down their ethical beliefs.

These records constitute the first historical evidence of the origins of ethics. Philosophy: Ethics > Consequentialism.

Some consequentialist theories include: Utilitarianism, which holds that an action is right if it leads to the most happiness for the greatest number of people ("happiness" here is defined as the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain).; Hedonism, which is the philosophy that pleasure is the most important pursuit of mankind, and that.

From its earliest beginnings, the problem of "free will" has been intimately connected with the question of moral of the ancient thinkers on the problem were trying to show that we humans have control over our decisions, that our actions "depend on us", and that they are not pre-determined by fate, by arbitrary gods, by logical necessity, or by a natural causal determinism.

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility.


"Utility" is defined in various ways, usually in terms of the well-being of sentient entities. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action.

Philosophy is the systematic study of the foundations of human knowledge with an emphasis on the conditions of its validity and finding answers to ultimate questions.

While every other science aims at investigating a specific area of knowledge, such as physics or psychology, philosophy has been defined as “thinking about thinking.”At the same time, as expressed by its Greek etymology.

Thomas Aquinas: Moral Philosophy

History of Philosophy. The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.

Anscombe essay modern moral philosophy
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Anscombe, G. E. M. | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy