THE PLACE OF EMPIRICAL KNOWLEDGE IN ETHICS
Vast transformations in the conditions of human life and the growth of scientific knowledge call for large-scale reconstruction in morality. This is the historical context for the contemporary problem of the relation between empirical knowledge and ethics. The present paper examines the metaethical aspects of this problem. It is argued that the sharp isolation of ethics from empirical science, representing a philosophical convergence of Kantian, phenomenological and positivist theses, should be seen as a distinctive intellectual program in the 20th century ethics and not as an established theory; that this program has by now had its trial and failed, both on the conceptual and the empirical side; that the program rests on a psychology now abandoned in the progress of science. It is suggested that an opposing integrative program which relates empirical knowledge and ethics is more likely to succeed, that it is better grounded psychologically and stands a better chance of a helping deal with the practical problems of morality in the contemporary world. These several theses are explored in outline, with some indication of the way conceptual frameworks in ethics are to be justified in the long run.