The methods of ethics

Journal article


Crisp, Roger. (2018) The methods of ethics. Phenomenology and Mind. 15, pp. 48-58. https://doi.org/10.13128/Phe_Mi-24971
AuthorsCrisp, Roger
Abstract

The paper begins with an account of the intellectual background to Henry Sidgwick’s writing of his Methods of Ethics and an analysis of what Sidgwick meant by a ‘method’. His broad distinction between three main ethical theories – egoism, consequentialism, and deontology – is elucidated and accepted. Sidgwick’s different forms of intuitionism are explained, as are his criteria for testing the ‘certainty’ of a potentially self-evident belief. Section 3 discusses dogmatic intuitionism (common-sense morality systematized) and Sidgwick’s own view, in the light of his requirement for precision in ethics. The final section concerns the implications of Sidgwick’s position on disagreement for ethical theory. It is suggested that we have some knowledge in ethics, on which most converge, but not much. The paper concludes with a recommendation for a more eirenic and less dogmatic approach to philosophical ethics.

KeywordsHenry Sidgwick; ethical methodology; ethical intuitionism; moral disagreement
Year2018
JournalPhenomenology and Mind
Journal citation15, pp. 48-58
PublisherFirenze University Press
ISSN2280-7853
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.13128/Phe_Mi-24971
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85064396696
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range48-58
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online13 Mar 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Jun 2021
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