This chapter advocates a return to Moorean independence. One dominant metaethical trend is moral epistemology naturalized. Another metaethical trend has been conceptual analysis, often called ‘analytic ethics’. It is argued that both trends are philosophically misguided. Ethics naturalized is un-philosophical in lacking the kind of supreme generality and abstractness that is distinctive of philosophical inquiry; it takes human beings to occupy moral centre stage. By contrast, we find in Moore a kind of cosmological ethics, focused on the value of all things in the universe as a basis for ethical inquiry. Moreover, ethics naturalized lacks competence in that its scientific pretensions are at odds with how philosophers go about their business. Analytic ethics, on the other hand, which is explicitly concerned with armchair, intuitive judgments about meanings, cannot overcome the lack of competence signaled by the philosophical lessons about conceptual analysis found in Kant, Quine, and Wittgenstein. In light of these failures, the chapter advocates returning to the cosmological orientation of Moore's ethics, which can be properly understood as avoiding the traditional metaethical debate between realism and anti-realism, as well as avoiding the battery of objections to the effect that Moore's ethics is not relevant to action. Such a return to a Moorean view of ethics would represent a version of ‘ethics dehumanized’: cosmological in its focus and thus properly philosophical.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.