Sunday, January 01, 2017

Essays on Derek Parfit on Metaethics

Does Anything Really Matter?

Essays on Parfit on Objectivity

Ed. by Peter Singer

(Oxford University Press, 2017)

320 pages


In the first two volumes of On What Matters Derek Parfit argues that there are objective moral truths, and other normative truths about what we have reasons to believe, and to want, and to do. He thus challenges a view of the role of reason in action that can be traced back to David Hume, and is widely assumed to be correct, not only by philosophers but also by economists. In defending his view, Parfit argues that if there are no objective normative truths, nihilism follows, and nothing matters. He criticizes, often forcefully, many leading contemporary philosophers working on the nature of ethics, including Simon Blackburn, Stephen Darwall, Allen Gibbard, Frank Jackson, Peter Railton, Mark Schroeder, Michael Smith, and Sharon Street. Does Anything Really Matter? gives these philosophers an opportunity to respond to Parfit's criticisms, and includes essays on Parfit's views by Richard Chappell, Andrew Huddleston, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer, Bruce Russell, and Larry Temkin. A third volume of On What Matters, in which Parfit engages with his critics and breaks new ground in finding significant agreement between his own views and theirs, is appearing as a separate companion volume.

Contents [pre-view]

Preface - Peter Singer

1. Has Parfit's Life Been Wasted? - Larry Temkin
2. Two Sides of the Meta-Ethical Mountain? [pdf] - Peter Railton
3. Parfit on Normative Properties and Disagreement - Allan Gibbard
4. All Souls Night - Simon Blackburn
5. Parfit's Mistaken Metaethics [pdf] - Michael Smith
6. Nothing 'Really' Matters, but That's Not What Matters [Draft] - Sharon Street
7: Knowing What Matters - Richard Chappell
8. Nietzsche and the Hope of Normative Convergence - Andrew Huddleston
9. In Defence Of Reductionism In Ethics [pdf] - Frank Jackson
10. What Matters about Metaethics? [pdf] - Mark Schroeder
11. A Defense of Moral Intuitionism - Bruce Russell
12. Morality, Blame, and Internal Reasons - Stephen Darwall
13. Parfit on Objectivity and 'The Profoundest Problem of Ethics' [Related paper] - Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek & Peter Singer

See some of my previous blog posts on Derek Parfit's work:

* Derek Parfit's On What Matters (OUP, 2011)
* Reviews of Derek Parfit's book 
* Critical essays on Derek Parfit (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)

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