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Dumb Beasts and Dead PhilosophersHumanity and the Humane in Ancient Philosophy and Literature$
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Catherine Osborne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282067

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282067.001.0001

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(p.239) Conclusion
Dumb Beasts and Dead Philosophers

Catherine Osborne (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This brief chapter draws out the implications of the earlier chapters, particularly in respect of the fact that even where it appears that morality is responsive to natural facts which can be determined first by biology, in reality there are no such facts, and their relevance is not given in nature. The relevance of certain facts is determined by our moral outlook, and different moral outlooks seem to be available. However, the chapter suggests that not all moral outlooks are equally sound. This is not because one is more true to some independent facts of nature, but one is more true to independent facts of moral truth, about the more noble and generous outlook towards our fellow creatures; this is where the distinction between the humane and the sentimental is drawn.

Keywords:   moral truth, morality, relativism, humane, sentimental, fact, value, biology

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