Spór o „dobre racje” w etyce

Marek Fritzhand


After a characteristic of the controversy over „good reasons” in ethics that has been carried on over the past two decades, especially in the linguistic philosophers’ milieux, the author goes on to discuss the emotive approach represented in that controversy. After analysing that approach, the author gives expression to a view stating that even after Edwards’s amendments such an approach is untenable.

The author next reviews the opinions supported by the trend of „analytical moral philosophy” that came to be known as the „good reasons approach”. Particular attention is devoted to the „evaluative inference” and „third logic” concepts and the pattern of moral reasoning (respective moral argumentation) advocated. While rejecting the objections put to „evaluative inference” and to the „third logic” by Stevenson, the author nevertheless admits the aptness of the criticism made by Hare. It is not his opinion, however, that the rejection af the „evaluative inference” or „third logic” concepts should necessarily mean a consequent rejection of the pattern of moral argumentation evolved by the „good reasons approach”.

After due analysis the conclusion was reached showing the pattern in question to be not merely a proposed description of ordinary moral discourse, but also an actual methodological recommendation, while being also the majority of cases at least, a sort of screen enabling its advocates to smuggle across their own moral system. In this way, the author’s critical evaluation is effected along two lines: the descriptive, and the methodological. What it shows is that neither is the description adequate to do justice to the wealth and diversity of the state of affairs described, nor can the recommendations justly claim a monopolistic position. As to the question whether or not the „good reasons approach” representatives do smuggle across their own moral system, the author converts that problem into a question asking whether it is possible for metaethics to be morally neutral; however, owing to the limitations of an article such as this, the question is left open.

While not actually accepting the „good reasons” theory evolved by the „good reasons approach” advocates, the author nevertheless regards it as constituting a considerable step forward in the direction of finding a better theory. The article concludes with the idea that this better theory might probably be founded on the basis of neonaturalism, which, incidentally, the author considers to be best suited to Marxist interpretation.