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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Morality and the amoral agent Durward, Gregory William 1978

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MORALITY AND THE AMORAL AGENT by GREGORY WILLIAM DURWARD B.Math., University of Waterloo, 1969 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF . THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF . DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Philosophy) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1978 © .Gregory; William Durward, I978: In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s ih p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d tha t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f P h i l o s o p h y The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , Canada V6T 1W5 Date fyiA^ |\<\V) ABSTRACT The t h e s i s i s an e x p l o r a t i o n of the p o s s i b i l i t y and r a t i o n a l i t y of amoral agency. A c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the moral agent and h i s mode of p r a c t i c a l d e l i b e r a t i o n i s developed, t a k i n g as c e n t r a l the o b j e c t i v i t y or impersonal v a l i d i t y of moral judgments and p r i n c i p l e s , and the concern of m o r a l i t y w i t h the w e l f a r e of persons i n g e n e r a l . T h i s p r o v i d e s the framework f o r a d i s c u s s i o n of two main forms of a m o r a l i t y . A person may q u a l i f y as an amoral agent e i t h e r because he has l i t t l e or no concern f o r other persons' w e l l - b e i n g and r e c o g n i z e s no v a l i d c l a i m on him to thus concern h i m s e l f , or because he operates w i t h a r a d i c a l l y s u b j e c t i v i s t view of p r a c t i c a l reasons and p r i n c i p l e s of a c t i o n . As an i n t e r e s t i n g and widely d i s -cussed example of the former s o r t of amoralism, a number of forms of egoism are d i s c u s s e d and i t i s argued t h a t , while e t h i c a l egoism i s untenable, t h e r e are i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c e g o i s t i c t h e o r i e s which a v o i d the most s e r i o u s a n t i - e g o i s t arguments. The more i n t e r e s t i n g s o r t of a m o r a l i t y , from a p h i l o s o p h i c a l p o i n t of view, i s the s u b j e c t i v i s t one and some e f f o r t i s made to o u t l i n e a s u b j e c t i v i s t theory of p r a c t i c a l r e a s o n i n g . S u b j e c t i v i s t metamoral t h e o r i e s are c o n s i d e r e d and r e j e c t e d as accounts of the o r d i n a r y moral consciousness. The p o s s i b i l i t y o f t r e a t i n g such t h e o r i e s as r e v i s i o n i s t i c i n nature i s d i s c u s s e d and the c o n c l u s i o n i s t h a t , w h i l e they may underwrite an outlook which can p l a u s i b l y be regarded as moral, the s u b j e c t i v i s t moral agent can ma i n t a i n ( i i ) h i s p o s i t i o n only w i t h d i f f i c u l t y . This i s because there i s a n a t u r a l d r i f t from moral t h i n k i n g to an o b j e c t i v i s t posture and v i c e versa. ( i i i ) CONTENTS INTRODUCTION I MORALITY AND THE MORAL AGENT 1 The moral agent i n t r o d u c e d 2 The o b j e c t i v i t y of moral judgments 3 The w e l f a r e of o t h e r s 4 The moral p o i n t of view 5 Some other f e a t u r e s of m o r a l i t y and moral agency 6 The amoral agent II EGOISM 1 Egoism as a form of amoralism 2 M o r a l i t y and s e l f - i n t e r e s t 3 The concept of s e l f - i n t e r e s t 4 E t h i c a l egoism - an o b j e c t i v i s t amoralism 5 P e r s o n a l egoism - another o b j e c t i v i s t amoralism 6 Kurt B a i e r 7 David Gauthier 8 S u b j e c t i v i s t egoism 9 The r a t i o n a l i t y o f egoism I I I THE GROUNDS OF MORAL AGENCY 1 The p o s s i b i l i t y of a m o r a l i t y - n o n - r a t i o n a l c a p a c i t i e s 2 The p o s s i b i l i t y o f a m o r a l i t y - conceptual s t r u c t u r e s and r a t i o n a l i t y 3 Does "Why be moral?" make sense? 4 The Golden Rule 5 Thomas Nagel (iv) IV OBJECTIVISM AND SUBJECTIVISM 125 1 O b j e c t i v i s m 125 2 S u b j e c t i v i s m 133 3 The e r r o r theory 139 4 A g a i n s t o b j e c t i v i s m 146 5 The problems i n metamoral s u b j e c t i v i s m 154 6 R e v i s i o n i s t t h e o r i e s 160 V REASONS AND VALUES - A SUBJECTIVIST OUTLOOK 167 1 F a c t s , reasons, and'the d e f i n i t i o n o f "moral" 167 2 Reasons and e x p l a n a t i o n ; 174 3 Reasons and j u s t i f i c a t i o n 178 4 P r a c t i c a l debate and vocabulary 184 5 What can be valued? 187 6 V a l u i n g and commending 191 7 F a c t s and reasons again 197 VI MORAL AND AMORAL SUBJECTIVISM 203 1 The i n d i v i d u a l moral s u b j e c t i v i s t 203 2 Forms of moral s u b j e c t i v i s m 204 3 Moral and amoral s u b j e c t i v i s m c o n t r a s t e d 212 4 E x i s t e n t i a l i s m 214 5 Jean-Paul S a r t r e 216 6 N i e t z s c h e 220 BIBLIOGRAPHY 226 (V) ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the world's being burdened with y e t another PhD must be borne c h i e f l y by D.G. Brown, my s u p e r v i s o r , and M. Lynne Durward, my spouse. Without t h e i r p a t i e n t support t h i s t h e s i s would undoubtedly have met the f a t e i t so o f t e n seemed, i n my eyes, to deserve. I am e s p e c i a l l y indebted to Dr. Brown f o r h i s h e l p f u l comments on my work throughout the past three y e a r s . S t i m u l a t i n g d i s c u s s i o n s w i t h Edwin Levy, Gary Wedeking, A l i s t e r Browne and E l b r i d g e Rand a l s o p r o v i d e d v a l u a b l e food f o r thought. F i n a l l y , my thanks t o my d i l i g e n t and c h e e r f u l t y p i s t , Bev Thompson. (vi) 1 INTRODUCTION Everyone w i l l agree, I t h i n k , t h a t there are people who, f o r one reason or another, cannot be c l a s s e d as moral agents. Persons whose mental development has been s e v e r e l y r e t a r d e d or whose mental f u n c t i o n s have been h i g h l y d i s o r d e r e d or impaired through a c c i d e n t or d i s e a s e are among the c l e a r e s t cases. Such people are exempt from moral c r i t i c i s m ; we n e i t h e r p r a i s e them nor blame them f o r t h e i r a c t i o n s . In extreme cases we are s t r o n g l y i n c l i n e d to t h i n k of them i n roughly the way we t h i n k of v e g e t a b l e s or animals, a t l e a s t as f a r as t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e i r a c t i o n s ( i f any) i s concerned. We may suppose t h a t we have moral o b l i g a t i o n s t o them, of course, but we do not t h i n k they have o b l i g a t i o n s of a s i m i l a r or c o r r e l a t i v e s o r t . I t i s not easy to account f o r our a t t i t u d e s towards extreme cases of the k i n d j u s t mentioned. In p a r t i c u l a r , why do we exempt them m o r a l l y ? Is i t because they l a c k the concepts of r i g h t and wrong, of o b l i g a t i o n and so on, because they are not r a t i o n a l beings, because they cannot form or m a i n t a i n a s t a b l e and coherent view of t h e i r s i t u a t i o n , or i s i t some combination of these and o t h e r t h i n g s ? Perhaps the b e s t we can hope f o r by way of a g e n e r a l answer i s to note t h a t there are c e r t a i n c a p a c i t i e s which someone must have i n order to q u a l i f y as a moral agent. While t h e r e i s c o n s i d e r a b l e room f o r debate on j u s t what these c a p a c i t i e s are and to what degree and i n what combination they 2 must be present, we can expect t h a t t h i n g s l i k e a reasonable amount of g e n e r a l i n t e l l i g e n c e , a reasonably r e l i a b l e memory, a f a i r degree of r a t i o n a l i t y i n means/end t h i n k i n g , a f a i r l y "normal" view of the nature of t h e i r environment, and so on, w i l l be c e n t r a l . There may a l s o be some c o n s t r a i n t s c o n cerning t h e i r emotional makeup. In any case, I t h i n k t h a t the c o n s i d e r a t i o n of c a p a c i t i e s holds some promise of e n a b l i n g us t o d i s t i n g u i s h those e n t i t i e s which are non-moral from those which are moral, i n one very broad sense of "moral." Roughly, what we can expect i s a b i f u r c a t i o n of e n t i t i e s i n t o inanimate o b j e c t s , the animals and p l a n t s , and c e r t a i n s o r t s of " d e f e c t i v e " human beings on the one hand, and r a t i o n a l , r e l a t i v e l y normal mature a d u l t s on the other. There are bound to be very d i f f i c u l t b o r d e r l i n e cases i n v o l v i n g not on l y q u e s t i o n s of degree of c a p a c i t y development, but a l s o q u e s t i o n s about whether i t i s a c t u a l or p o t e n t i a l c a p a c i t i e s which are to count. What about c h i l d r e n , the s e n i l e , the tempor-a r i l y d i s a b l e d , and the m e n t a l l y d i s t u r b e d ? I am not very much i n t e r e s t e d i n these d i f f i c u l t q u e s t i o n s here, however. A l l t h a t i s r e q u i r e d i s to note t h a t t h e r e i s a d i s t i n c t i o n which can, a l b e i t w i t h d i f f i c u l t y , be drawn between the moral and the non-moral i n terms of those c a p a c i t i e s , whatever they are, which are r e q u i r e d f o r someone to form moral concepts, p a r t i c i p a t e i n moral debate, d e l i b e r a t e m o r a l l y , a p p r e c i a t e moral reasons, and so on. To be non-moral i s to e x i s t o u t s i d e of the moral by being i n c a p a b l e of p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the moral realm. By c o n t r a s t , to be amoral i s to e x i s t o u t s i d e of the moral i n some other way. 3 I t h i n k t h a t t h e r e are people who meet a l l the p r e r e q u i s i t e s f o r moral t h i n k i n g and y e t who f a i l t o q u a l i f y as moral agents i n another sense of "moral." These people are not non-moral agents. They are r e l a t i v e l y normal human beings but they do not operate w i t h the normal moral p e r s p e c t i v e . There are f e a t u r e s of the o r d i n a r y moral consciousness which are c o n s p i c u o u s l y absent from t h e i r p r a c t i c a l t h i n k i n g . What these f e a t u r e s are w i l l be i n v e s t i g a t e d i n due course. Such people, and I r e a l i z e a t t h i s stage l i t t l e has been done to p r o p e r l y i d e n t i f y them, I w i l l c a l l amoral agents. Unless the context i n d i c a t e s otherwise, I w i l l be u s i n g the term "moral agent" i n the sense i n which i t c o n t r a s t s w i t h "amoral agent." There are many s o r t s of amoral agents, as we w i l l see, but there i s one t h i n g which can be s a i d t o r e s t r i c t the range of persons w i t h which I w i l l be concerned. I am not here i n t e r e s t e d i n persons who are amoral o n l y because t h e i r environment i s such t h a t there i s no o p p o r t u n i t y or no need f o r them to t h i n k m o r a l l y . The p r i s o n e r , the hermit, the castaway and the s o l i t a r y s c i e n t i s t may a l l l e a d l i v e s l a r g e l y devoid of moral concerns but i t would be a p p r o p r i a t e to say t h a t they are s t i l l moral agents as long as they would b e g i n t o a p p r e c i a t e t h i n g s m o r a l l y i f t h e i r circum-stances were t o change. So f a r I have c o n t r a s t e d "moral" w i t h "non-moral" and wi t h "amoral." I f we can say t h a t these c o n t r a s t s correspond to two senses of the term "moral," then "moral" has a l s o a t h i r d sense i n which i t c o n t r a s t s with "immoral." The judgment t h a t some person, or some a c t i o n of a person, i s immoral i s c l e a r l y an 4 e v a l u a t i v e one and can o n l y be made s i n c e r e l y by someone who operates w i t h i n a c e r t a i n conceptual framework. "Immoral" means roughly " c o n t r a r y to the requirements of m o r a l i t y " and t h e r e f o r e can o n l y be used s i n c e r e l y ( i g n o r i n g i n v e r t e d comma uses) by someone who r e c o g n i z e s the p o s s i b i l i t y of t h e r e being requirements of a c e r t a i n s o r t on a c t i o n s . The judgment i s p r o p e r l y a moral one and t h e r e f o r e i t w i l l be m i s l e a d i n g i f i t i s made by an amoral (or even non-moral) agent, u n l e s s t h i s i s known and taken i n t o account. But not o n l y might i t be m i s l e a d i n g f o r an amoral agent to use the term "immoral," i t c o u l d a l s o be m i s l e a d i n g f o r a moral agent to use i t to d e s c r i b e an a m o r a l i s t or some a c t i o n of h i s . C a l l i n g someone immoral suggests t h a t he i s open to c e r t a i n s o r t s of c o n s i d e r a t i o n s and c e r t a i n modes of d i s c u s s i o n and p e r s u a s i o n (moral ones). I t i s the a m o r a l i s t ' s u n s u s c e p t i b i l i t y to these c o n s i d e r a t i o n s and h i s a b s t e n t i o n from moral forms of t h i n k i n g which make i t m i s l e a d i n g to say t h a t he acted immorally. He a c t e d , we should say o u t s i d e of moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s and not so much a g a i n s t them. U n f o r t u n a t e l y I f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to say much more at t h i s p o i n t to h e l p make c l e a r j u s t what s o r t of persons I am i n t e r -e s t ed i n and whom I c a l l amoral agents. The attempt to do so w i l l be the ongoing p r o j e c t i n v i r t u a l l y a l l of what f o l l o w s . I t r u s t t h a t my c l a i m t h a t t h e r e i s an i n t e r e s t i n g category of persons who are not non-moral and y e t who are amoral, w i l l be v i n d i c a t e d i n due course as the nature of amoral agency i s d i s c u s s e d . Before proceeding, something should perhaps be s a i d by way 5 of p r o v i d i n g a r a t i o n a l e f o r some of the s t r u c t u r e o f the t h e s i s and of e x p l a i n i n g why I d e a l w i t h some of the t o p i c s I do. L e t me attempt t o do t h i s by r e c o n s t r u c t i n g b r i e f l y the way i n which I came to see a m o r a l i t y as a s u b j e c t d e s e r v i n g c o n s i d e r a t i o n . H o p e f u l l y t h i s w i l l h e l p to pro v i d e the reader w i t h something of a p e r s p e c t i v e on what f o l l o w s . I have long been a t t r a c t e d by the view t h a t the very b e s t , i f not u l t i m a t e l y the o n l y , reasons a person c o u l d have f o r doing something are reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t . Thus, I began by asking i f some form of e g o i s t i c theory i n e t h i c s might be found which allo w s such reasons a c e n t r a l p l a c e but which a t the same time does j u s t i c e t o the f a c t s of human m o t i v a t i o n . I t seemed c l e a r enough t h a t no s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d form of p s y c h o l o g i c a l egoism, (according t o which no one does or can ever a c t except out o f s e l f - i n t e r e s t ) c o u l d be t r u e without a gross p e r v e r s i o n of the concept of s e l f - i n t e r e s t . Yet I had hoped t h a t under a suffice... i e n t l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d v e r s i o n of the n o t i o n of a person's i n t e r e s t , some f o r m u l a t i o n of e t h i c a l egoism might prove p l a u s i b l e enough. L i k e many people I h e l d the view t h a t there i s a c o r r e c t e t h i c a l theory. I supposed t h a t c e r t a i n s o r t s of t h i n g s are " r e a l l y " reasons f o r a c t i n g i n c e r t a i n ways and f u r t h e r t h a t some reasons are " r e a l l y " b e t t e r than o t h e r s . I b e l i e v e d t h a t there are c o r r e c t normative p r i n c i p l e s w i t h the help of which i t i s i n p r i n c i p l e p o s s i b l e to determine which s o l u t i o n s t o a p r a c t i c a l problem are c o r r e c t and which are i n c o r r e c t , g i v e n , of course a f u l l acquaintance w i t h the f a c t s of the case. Human beings, being i d e n t i c a l i n t h e i r e s s e n t i a l nature, must a l l be s u b j e c t 6 to the requirements of the same normative theory. My attempts to develop a t e n a b l e form of egoism, however, l e d me i n t o a number of d i f f i c u l t i e s . F i r s t , the n o t i o n of s e l f -i n t e r e s t i s very r e s t r i c t i v e . How, f o r example, c o u l d one have a good reason to be honest or to keep promises under imaginable s i t u a t i o n s i n which one c o u l d do b e t t e r by l y i n g or breaking f a i t h ? And i s i t r e a l l y p l a u s i b l e to suppose t h a t under such circumstances no one c o u l d p o s s i b l y have a very good reason to t e l l the t r u t h or keep a promise? More importantly, however, the l i t e r a t u r e on egoism i s f u l l of " r e f u t a t i o n s " which pu r p o r t to show t h a t e t h i c a l egoism i s beset w i t h e i t h e r p r a c t i c a l or t h e o r e t i c a l i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s . Since the e t h i c a l e g o i s t holds t h a t everyone ought to pursue h i s own s e l f - i n t e r e s t and s i n c e h i s s e c u r i n g advantages f o r h i m s e l f w i l l sometimes r e q u i r e t h a t o t h e r s be l e s s than e n t h u s i a s t i c about pursuing t h e i r i n t e r e s t s , the e g o i s t must h o l d a theory which he cannot advocate. T h i s i s enough to show t h a t there are grave problems i n the way of h o l d i n g e t h i c a l egoism as a moral theory. I w i l l have a good d e a l more to say about egoism l a t e r but I simply want to i n d i c a t e here how one might be d r i v e n to take s e r i o u s l y the p o s s i b i l i t y of adopting a p r a c t i c a l theory ( a theory about the nature of one's reason) which i s not a moral theory. The more I thought about the r a t i o n a l i t y of the e g o i s t ' s p o s i t i o n , the l e s s p e c u l i a r the idea of a non-moral p r a c t i c a l theory seemed. I f the e g o i s t c o u l d r a t i o n a l l y remain o u t s i d e m o r a l i t y , as i t seemed he c o u l d , might t h e r e not be other forms 7 of a m o r a l i t y perhaps more r a d i c a l and more i n t e r e s t i n g and no l e s s r a t i o n a l ? Having come to the p o i n t of being prepared to take amor-a l i t y s e r i o u s l y , i t became c l e a r t h a t I needed t o generate a c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of m o r a l i t y , moral t h i n k i n g and moral agency i n o r d e r to e x p l o r e s y s t e m a t i c a l l y the ideas of a m o r a l i t y , amoral t h i n k i n g and amoral agency. The r e s u l t s o f t h i s p a r t of the i n v e s t i g a t i o n appear i n Chapter I. There I argue t h a t most of what seems r i g h t i n the p l e t h o r a of metamoral t h e o r i e s which have been advanced can be understood i n terms of two b a s i c f e a t u r e s o f moral t h i n k i n g ; an o b j e c t i v i s t posture r e g a r d i n g q u e s t i o n s of va l u e and a concern f o r the w e l f a r e of other persons. The next chapter, on egoism, then c o n s t i t u t e s an e x p l o r a t i o n of one form of amoralism; v i z . , one i n which no ( d i r e c t ) concern f o r the w e l f a r e of ot h e r persons i s pres e n t . In s p i t e of the f a c t t h a t some forms of egoism are, I argue, l o g i c a l l y and p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y p o s s i b l e p o s i t i o n s , they are none-t h e l e s s somewhat p e c u l i a r . The e g o i s t ' s concerns are very narrowly d e l i m i t e d indeed, and t h i s robs the e g o i s t i c o r i e n t a t i o n of much of i t s r e a l i n t e r e s t . I t would be much more i n s t r u c t i v e i f forms of a m o r a l i t y c o u l d be found which a l l o w a r a t h e r broader range of i n t e r e s t s . But be f o r e proceeding to attempt t h i s I found i t u s e f u l t o pause to c o n s i d e r some of the arguments which have been advanced i n support of moral agency, and hence a g a i n s t amoral agency. Chapter I I I i s a survey of some of these arguments and i t s i m u l t a n e o u s l y f o c u s s e s the o b j e c t i v i t y i s s u e somewhat. I t i s i n the adoption of a r a d i c a l l y s u b j e c t i v e approach to va l u e 8 q u e s t i o n s t h a t I attempt to l o c a t e a more i n t e r e s t i n g k i n d of a m o r a l i t y . Chapter IV i s devoted to an e x p l o r a t i o n of the concepts of o b j e c t i v i t y and s u b j e c t i v i t y . There I argue t h a t s u b j e c t i v i s t metamoral t h e o r i e s are unacceptable as attempts to d e s c r i b e the phenomena of o r d i n a r y moral t h i n k i n g and d i s c o u r s e . Some problems i n o b j e c t i v i s t approaches are d i s c u s s e d . Chapter V i s a t e n t a t i v e account of an a l t e r n a t i v e to the o b j e c t i v i s m which I c l a i m i s e v i d e n t i n , and c e n t r a l t o , moral agency. F i n a l l y , i n Chapter VI, I suggest t h a t w hile a s u b j e c t i v i s t outlook i s not s t r i c t l y e n t i r e l y i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h moral agency, the form of s u b j e c t i v i s m which can be adopted by a moral agent can be maintained o n l y w i t h c o n s i d e r a b l e e f f o r t and w i t h the h e l p o f a c e r t a i n s e l f -c o n c e p t i o n . Since t h i s s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n d i f f e r s from t h a t of an a m o r a l i s t , t h e r e i s s t i l l a p o s s i b i l i t y of d i s t i n g u i s h i n g the moral from the amoral agent even when we c o n s i d e r s u b j e c t i v i s t v e r s i o n s o f each. T h i s chapter concludes w i t h a b r i e f c o n s i d e r -a t i o n of J.P. S a r t r e ' s e x i s t e n t i a l i s t theory and N i e t z c h e ' s concept of das ubermensch and t h e i r r e l e v a n c e to a m o r a l i t y as i t i s developed i n the t h e s i s . I hope to show t h a t i t i s a r e a l and r a t i o n a l o p t i o n f o r a mature and r e f l e c t i v e person to stand o u t s i d e of m o r a l i t y i n c e r t a i n ways. The most p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y interesting form of a m o r a l i t y and hence the one which r e c e i v e s most a t t e n t i o n i s the one which i n v o l v e s an extremely i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c and s u b j e c t i v i s t outlook on the nature of p r a c t i c a l r e a s o n i n g . I t i s a l s o tQ.-be. hoped t h a t the e x p l o r a t i o n of amoral agency w i l l shed some u s e f u l 9 l i g h t on the concept of moral agency i n roughly the way t h a t a t t e n t i o n to exceptions helps to c l a r i f y the r u l e . The poss-i b i l i t y of a m o r a l i t y i s not o f t e n taken very s e r i o u s l y by moral p h i l o s p h e r s and I know of no systematic e x p l o r a t i o n of the idea. Too o f t e n i t i s simply assumed e i t h e r that there must be good arguments against anyone who f a i l s to appreciate t h i n g s m o r a l l y ( i f only we can f i n d them) or worse, t h a t there i s no use arguing w i t h such a person at a l l . In some cases these assumptions may be w e l l j u s t i f i e d but i n general they are based on no r e a l understanding of the amoral outlook. Perhaps what f o l l o w s w i l l serve as a beginning toward t h a t understanding. 10 I MORALITY AND THE MORAL AGENT 1 The moral agent i n t r o d u c e d Since I am concerned to ex p l o r e the nature of a c l a s s of persons who operate, i n some sense, o u t s i d e of m o r a l i t y , the n a t u r a l p l a c e to begin i s wi t h an attempt to c h a r a c t e r i z e a moral agent. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , t h i s i s not a t a l l a simple matter, l a r g e l y because the concept of m o r a l i t y i s not one which can be analyzed i n a very s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d way. Many attempts have been made to get c l e a r on j u s t what i s i n v o l v e d i n t h i n k i n g m o r a l l y and to g i v e some account to the meaning o f moral terms, the nature o f moral debate, the c h a r a c t e r of moral p r i n c i p l e s , and so on. Yet i n s p i t e of the amount of energy which has been expended on these and r e l a t e d problems, nothing l i k e a c l e a r consensus has even begun t o emerge. I c e r t a i n l y do not wish to c l a i m t h a t the f o l l o w i n g c o n s t i t u t e s a r e s o l u t i o n of these d i f f i c u l t problems, but then I am not sure t h a t the quest f o r a d e f i n i t i v e a n a l y s i s of moral language i s one which holds much promise of success anyway. As i s o f t e n the case i n phi l o s o p h y , the r e a l v a l u e of a l i n e of enquiry l i e s , not i n the f i n a l answer, but i n the process of e x p l o r i n g the i s s u e s which a r i s e along the way. Even i f we seem to end where we star,ted, we can hope t h a t something of i n t e r e s t has been glimpsed en r o u t e . Round t r i p f a r e s are not even u s u a l l y a waste of money. 11 L e t me begin the attempt to c h a r a c t e r i z e the moral agent by simply producing a composite sketch whose elements are drawn from the testimony of p h i l o s o p h e r s who have g i v e n the problem t h e i r c a r e f u l c o n s i d e r a t i o n . I f the end product i s a r e c o g n i z a b l e f a c -s i m i l e of a type of person we cannot but c a l l a moral agent, some progress w i l l have been made, e s p e c i a l l y i f i t enables us to c o n s t r u c t a p o r t r a i t of h i s c o u n t e r p a r t , the a m o r a l i s t . Throughout t h i s chapter there w i l l be something of a problem i n v o l v e d i n keeping c l e a r the d i s t i n c t i o n between the moral agent (the not-moral agent) and the m o r a l l y good agent (the not-immoral agent). T h i s i s because the d i s t i n c t i o n between the m o r a l l y good person and the immoral (or m o r a l l y i n f e r i o r ) person i s l a r g e l y i a matter of how c o n s i s t e n t l y and how s u c c e s s f u l l y a person operates as a moral agent - o f how s e r i o u s l y and c o n s c i e n t i o u s l y he takes h i s involvement i n the moral realm. As an analogy, c o n s i d e r a man p l a y i n g a game of g o l f . He may p l a y f o l l o w i n g the r u l e s to the l e t t e r , c o n s c i e n t i o u s l y n o t i n g h i s s t r o k e s on each h o l e , p l a y i n g the b a l l from where i t l i e s each time, and so on. But another man may cheat, b r e a k i n g or bending the r u l e s , e i t h e r t o win or to a v o i d c e r t a i n f r u s t r a t i o n s which d e t r a c t from h i s enjoyment of the game. In s o f a r as t h i s second man i s p l a y i n g g o l f , however, he w i l l t y p -i c a l l y r e a c t i n one or more of c e r t a i n p r e d i c t a b l e ways i f con-f r o n t e d w i t h h i s t r a n s g r e s s i o n s . He may deny t h a t he has committed them; he may admit them and attempt to j u s t i f y them i n some way, e.g. by an appeal to some a l l e g e d l y higher p r i n c i p l e or purpose ("After a l l we're here to enjoy o u r s e l v e s " ) or he may go so f a r as to advocate t h a t the r u l e s of the game be changed to conform w i t h 1 2 h i s p r a c t i c e . Such a man i s p l a y i n g g o l f and even though he i s not always, or c a r e f u l l y , f o l l o w i n g the r u l e s , he r e c o g n i z e s the v a l i d i t y of those r u l e s . C o n t r a s t these 'cases w i t h one i n which a man goes from hole to h o l e on a g o l f course, sometimes h i t t i n g the b a l l i n the " c o r r e c t " manner, sometimes throwing i t and sometimes k i c k i n g i t . Occasion-a l l y he s k i p s a hole o r p l a y s one twice, and so on. Confronted w i t h the charge o f c h e a t i n g or unsportsmanlike conduct, he i s q u i t e unperturbed. His o n l y answer i s t h a t he i s n ' t i n t e r e s t e d i n a l l those r u l e s and c o n s t r a i n t s because he i s n ' t p l a y i n g g o l f . T h i s man i s not c h e a t i n g a t g o l f - he i s n ' t p l a y i n g g o l f . The f i r s t man we co n s i d e r e d i s l i k e the m o r a l l y good man and the second l i k e the immoral man. Both are , i n some sense, p l a y i n g the game of m o r a l i t y . The immoral man w i l l t y p i c a l l y deny, j u s t i f y , excuse or defend h i s a c t i o n s when co n f r o n t e d w i t h the charge of moral wrong-doing. He r e c o g n i z e s the v a l i d i t y of m o r a l i t y and accepts the r i g h t of o t h e r s to r e q u i r e of him e i t h e r an excuse, a j u s t i f i c a t i o n or an admission of g u i l t and the acceptance of t h e i r r i g h t to reprimand or punish him. The t h i r d man, the one who i s not p l a y i n g the game of g o l f , i s l i k e the amoral agent. P r o p e r l y speaking he i s n ' t c h e a t i n g or a c t i n g immorally, u n l e s s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the game i s not v o l u n t a r y . ( A c t u a l l y t h a t i s the p o i n t a t which the analogy i s weakest because most people, I t h i n k , do not suppose t h a t the requirements of m o r a l i t y are escapable i n anything l i k e the way the r u l e s of g o l f a r e . I f you can p l a y , you must p l a y , l i k e i t or not, and your o n l y c h o i c e i s to p l a y w e l l or poorly.) In any case, i n d e s c r i b i n g the r u l e s of g o l f , one can l a r g e l y 13 ignore the f a c t t h a t some people cheat, and s i m i l a r l y i n d e s c r i b i n g the nature of m o r a l i t y or moral agency, one may overlook the f a c t t h a t people o f t e n a c t immorally. T h i s i s because the immoral man admits, i n some sense, the v a l i d i t y of moral requirements,, however i n c o n s i s t e n t and l a x he may be i n l i v i n g those c l a i m s , and however perverse ( w i t h i n l i m i t s of course) h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of them. He does not become amoral, f o r example, by c o n v i n c i n g h i m s e l f t h a t h i s own case i s a s p e c i a l one exempt from the u s u a l r u l e s : on the c o n t r a r y , i n h i s v e r y e f f o r t to make of h i s own case an e x c e p t i o n , he i s engaged i n the moral e n t e r p r i s e . L e t me o f f e r a thumbnail sketch of the moral agent. (The f e a t u r e s of the sketch w i l l be e l u c i d a t e d and expanded i n sub-sequent s e c t i o n s . ) The moral agent i s a p a r t i c i p a t i n g member of a s o c i a l u n i t and he sees h i m s e l f as such. Confronted w i t h a p r a c t i c a l problem i n which the i n t e r e s t s or w e l f a r e of other persons i n h i s s o c i a l group are i n v o l v e d , he c o n s i d e r s the e f f e c t s of h i s a c t i o n s on these persons, not because i t i s to h i s b e n e f i t to do so but because he r e c o g n i z e s a requirement t h a t he do so (and i d e a l l y because he ca r e s about them). He r e c o g n i z e s d u t i e s and o b l i g a t i o n s which f u n c t i o n as v a l i d c l a i m s on him and which r e s t r i c t h i s freedom to do as he p l e a s e s . In s i t u a t i o n s i n which the w e l f a r e of o t h e r s i s i n v o l v e d , he asks h i m s e l f what he ought to do, what a c t i o n s would be r i g h t or wrong to do, and so on, and i n doing so he supposes t h a t , i n some f a i r l y s trong sense, there are c o r r e c t or i n c o r r e c t ways of r e s o l v i n g the p r a c t i c a l problems he f a c e s . He must decide what to do but h i s d e c i s i o n can be mistaken s i n c e there i s something 14 l i k e a f a c t o f the matter about the q u e s t i o n of what he ought t o do. In d e l i b e r a t i n g , he takes up the moral p o i n t of view from which he sees h i m s e l f as j u s t one person among many and from which h i s own f i r s t - o r d e r i n t e r e s t s appear p r e t t y much on a par with the f i r s t - o r d e r i n t e r e s t s of o t h e r s . From t h i s p o i n t of view he can be assured of a r r i v i n g a t a r e s o l u t i o n which i s a c c e p t a b l e to anyone and everyone s i n c e i t i s most l i k e l y to r e p r e s e n t a s o l u t i o n unbiased by p e r s o n a l t a s t e s and d e s i r e s . He uses moral concepts and p a r t i c i p a t e s i n moral debate with o t h e r s , r e q u i r i n g o f o t h e r s and p r o v i d i n g as b e s t he can, j u s t i f i -c a t i o n s f o r v a r i o u s l i n e s of conduct. His reasons and j u s t i f i c a t i o n s a r e , he supposes, a s s e s s a b l e i n p r i n c i p l e by i n t e r p e r s o n a l l y v a l i d standards. His moral judgments and those of o t h e r s , he t r e a t s as i f they have a determinate t r u t h v a l u e . Moral d e t e r m i n a t i o n s have f o r him, and ought to have f o r a l l , he t h i n k s , an o v e r r i d i n g n e s s and a u t h o r i t y i n p r a c t i c a l matters. Whatever the outcome of a s i t u a t i o n , i t s v a l u e i s u n a f f e c t e d by who i s c o n s i d e r i n g the matter. There are q u e s t i o n s o f va l u e which cannot be a s s i m i l a t e d to matters of p r e f e r e n c e or t a s t e , however deep and p e r v a s i v e . Now I suppose t h a t t h e r e w i l l h a r d l y be a s i n g l e p h i l o s o p h e r who c o u l d not f i n d something to q u a r r e l w i t h i n t h i s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , and t h e r e are those who would r e j e c t a good d e a l o f i t o u t r i g h t . S t i l l , a s t a r t must be made somewhere and i t has been my experience t h a t , r a d i c a l as i t might seem, something very l i k e the above w i l l be accepted by many and perhaps most people as approximating the way they view themselves. I do not wish to minimize the importance, 15 however, of the f a c t t h a t t h e r e are d i f f e r e n t - indeed r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t - ways of c h a r a c t e r i z i n g the moral agent. But i t would be a mistake, I t h i n k , to suppose t h a t what f o l l o w s w i l l have l i t t l e or no i n t e r e s t to someone who does not s u b s c r i b e to the a n a l y s i s 1 adopt. The i s s u e s I w i l l be d e a l i n g w i t h w i l l , i n l a r g e measure, be i s s u e s f o r anyone i n t e r e s t e d i n the nature of p r a c t i c a l r e a s oning, even i f the terms i n which they are d i s c u s s e d here seem to be i n a p p r o p r i a t e . The view I w i l l be t a k i n g of the moral agent i s , i n any case, one which i s w e l l enough entrenched i n the l i t e r a t u r e t o p r o v i d e a p l a u s i b l e and i n t e r e s t i n g , even i f c o n t e n t i o u s , p o i n t of departure. In the remainder of t h i s chapter I w i l l d e a l w i t h the v a r i o u s elements of the p r o f f e r e d s k e t c h of the moral agent and I w i l l argue t h a t most of them can be generated, as i t were, out of two funda-mental f e a t u r e s of the moral outlook: o b j e c t i v i s m about ques t i o n s of value and a concern f o r the i n t e r e s t s of persons. I c o n s i d e r these f e a t u r e s f i r s t . F i n a l l y , i n the l a s t s e c t i o n , I attempt a p r e l i m i n a r y account o f amoral agency i n terms of these c e n t r a l f e a t u r e s . 2 The o b j e c t i v i t y of moral judgments In t h i s s e c t i o n I w i l l argue t h a t one c e n t r a l f a c t about moral language users i s t h e i r s u p p o s i t i o n t h a t moral judgments are t r u e or f a l s e , or a t l e a s t c o r r e c t or i n c o r r e c t , and t h a t the standards f o r t h e i r assessment are o b j e c t i v e and i n t e r p e r s o n a l l y v a l i d . L a t e r I w i l l a l s o argue t h a t t h i s o b j e c t i v i t y e x p l a i n s to some exte n t other f e a t u r e s of m o r a l i t y . The d i s c u s s i o n here w i l l 16 be b r i e f s i n c e the q u e s t i o n of o b j e c t i v i s m i s d e a l t w i t h a t some l e n g t h i n Chapter IV. Grammatically speaking, moral language does not d i f f e r s i g -n i f i c a n t l y from non-moral language. Indeed one u s u a l way of demar-c a t i n g moral d i s c o u r s e i n v o l v e s a t t e n d i n g to c e r t a i n words or phrases (e.g. "good" or "morally good,1" "ought" o r "morally ought," " r i g h t " or "morally r i g h t " e t c . ) . The presence of these terms i n a sentence i s then taken as a prima f a c i e i n d i c a t i o n t h a t the sentence belongs to moral d i s c o u r s e . Something l i k e t h i s seems necessary s i n c e there are no grammatical c o n s t r u c t i o n s p e c u l i a r t o moral language on the b a s i s o f which to make the d i s t i n c t i o n . Moral judgments have the same form as o r d i n a r y statements of e m p i r i c a l f a c t . Even "ought" judgments whose f u n c t i o n i s q u i t e d i s t i n c t i v e can be transformed i n t o o r d i n a r y e m p i r i c a l statements by s u b s t i t u t i n g f o r "ought" a verb such as " f o r g o t " or "decided" or "promised." Not o n l y do moral judgments have a grammatical form which makes the a t t r i b u t i o n of t r u t h and f a l s i t y to them seem n a t u r a l , they a l s o f u n c t i o n i n o r d i n a r y language as i f they a c t u a l l y do have a t r u t h v a l u e . U n l i k e matters of t a s t e , moral i s s u e s are t y p i c a l l y ones over which the r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of opposing views cannot content themselves w i t h a g r e e i n g to d i f f e r , and t h i s i s not simply because moral i s s u e s have a p r a c t i c a l urgency which matters of t a s t e l a c k . Even when the p a r t i e s to a moral debate have reached the p o i n t a t which each has done a l l he can do to dissuade the o t h e r s from t h e i r p o s i t i o n , t h e r e i s u s u a l l y the r e s i d u a l b e l i e f among a l l t h a t there i s a " r e a l " and c o r r e c t moral s o l u t i o n to the problem. Moral judgments, then, have a form and use which l e n d c o n s i d -17 e r a b l e support to the id e a t h a t they, l i k e other u t t e r a n c e s of the a s s e r t i v e form, are e i t h e r t r u e or f a l s e . The moral agent accepts the i d e a which i s i m p l i c i t i n h i s language t h a t t h e r e are i n t e r -p e r s o n a l l y v a l i d standards f o r the assessment of a c t i o n s , which do not r e f e r to the wants, d e s i r e s , p r e f e r e n c e s , e t c . o f the agent. But i f moral judgments are t r u e or f a l s e what makes them so, and how do we know which are t r u e and which f a l s e ? And i f they are not statements of some k i n d of f a c t which can be t r u e or f a l s e , what are they? The attempts t o answer these q u e s t i o n s form much of the h i s t o r y of moral p h i l o s o p h y i n the Western t r a d i t i o n . O r dinary language and o r d i n a r y moral t h i n k i n g are, I t h i n k , s a t u r a t e d w i t h the view t h a t t h e r e i s a " r e a l " r i g h t and wrong, t h a t t h e r e are o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d requirements on a c t i o n which have a c l a i m on persons r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e i r f i r s t - o r d e r i n t e r e s t s , p r e f e r e n c e s and d e s i r e s . T h i s i s not to suggest t h a t t h e r e are no problems i n t h i s view; t h e r e are, and I w i l l d i s c u s s them a t l e n g t h i n Chapter IV. But the id e a t h a t m o r a l i t y , whether i t i s conceived of as a s e t of r u l e s or p r i n c i p l e s or as a mode of p r a c t i c a l d e l i b e r a t i o n , has an a u t h o r i t y which r e s i d e s i n something o b j e c t i v e and o u t s i d e of the i n d i v i d u a l , seems t o me an i d e a deeply engrained i n the o r d i n a r y man's t h i n k i n g . Moral judgments appear to most people to be t r u e or f a l s e , i n s p i t e of e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l problems of how we can know which are t r u e and which f a l s e . O b viously, not a l l p r a c t i c a l judgments i n which the terms "ought," " r i g h t , " "wrong," "good" and so on appear are moral judgments and there i s no need to suppose t h a t the moral agent g i v e s an o b j e c t i v i s t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n to a l l of them. For example, 18 when we t e l l someone t h a t he ought to see a c e r t a i n p l a y or t h a t he i s d r i v i n g i n the wrong gear, we are not t y p i c a l l y i n v o k i n g any standards of a c t i o n which have an a p p l i c a b i l i t y beyond what they have as a r e s u l t of a c o n s i d e r a t i o n of what we take t h a t person's a c t u a l concerns to be. As a f i r s t approximation, l e t us take as paradigmatic o f moral judgments, a judgment to the e f f e c t t h a t some person ought to do something, where the speaker takes t h a t judgment to be t r u e or c o r r e c t , and where the standard's a p p l i c a b i l i t y to the a c t i o n i n q u e s t i o n i s independent of the wants, d e s i r e s , t a s t e s and p r e f e r e n c e s of the persons i n v o l v e d . A person may, of course, want to do what he ought to do; indeed i f he does the t h i n g i n q u e s t i o n t h e r e must be some sense i n which he wanted to do i t but the f o r c e of the moral "ought" judgment i s not dependent on h i s e v i d e n t wants. C l o s e l y connected w i t h the idea t h a t moral judgments can be t r u e or f a l s e , or a t l e a s t c o r r e c t or i n c o r r e c t a c c o r d i n g to i n t e r p e r s o n a l l y v a l i d standards, i s the view t h a t moral judgments are o v e r r i d i n g or supremely a u t h o r i t a t i v e i n p r a c t i c a l matters. There i s a r e a l problem i n v o l v e d i n understanding someone who s i n c e r e l y b e l i e v e s t h a t he ought m o r a l l y to do something and y e t f a i l s t o do i t , s i n c e t h e r e seems to be nothing which c o u l d u l t i -mately j u s t i f y h i s a c t i o n . In some sense, moral reasons are the v e r y b e s t . There are a t l e a s t two ways of accounting f o r the supremacy of the moral "ought," both of them c o n s i s t e n t with the n o t i o n t h a t "morally ought" e n t a i l s "ought, a l l t h i n g s c o n s i d e r e d . " F i r s t , one might suppose t h a t a moral judgment i n c l u d e s , by g i v i n g due and 19 proper weight t o , a l l of the v a r i o u s s o r t s of reasons i n a s i t u a t i o n r e q u i r i n g a moral d e c i s i o n . T h i s , what we might c a l l the summary view of the moral "ought," i s i l l u s t r a t e d In the f o l l o w i n g passage by C.I. Lewis: Other c o n s i d e r a t i o n s not w i t h s t a n d i n g , what i s not m o r a l l y r i g h t simply i s not right to do We s h a l l h a r d l y conceive of the moral judge-ment as such a f i n a l a r b i t r a r m e n t u n l e s s we a l s o t h i n k of i t as a judgement i n which a l l v a l i d c l a i m s upon the a c t i n q u e s t i o n are d u l y weighted and a b j u d i c a t e d . And the t e c h -n i c a l and p r u d e n t i a l , as w e l l as c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the consequences to o t h e r s , are such v a l i d c l a i m s . (Lewis, 1969, Values and Imperatives, p. 7) Secondly, i t might be thought t h a t moral requirements have a s p e c i a l c h a r a c t e r such t h a t they are incommensurably w e i g h t i e r than c l a i m s of any other s o r t . I f , f o r example, one t h i n k s t h a t moral q u e s t i o n s a r i s e o n l y when the w i l l o f God i s i n v o l v e d and t h a t n o t h i n g c o u l d have any f o r c e i n such s i t u a t i o n s except f o r c o n s i d e r a t i o n of what God wants, then the moral "ought" w i l l be supreme because i t has a s p e c i a l source and a u t h o r i t y and not because i t i n c l u d e s and balances a number of v a l i d c l a i m s of v a r i o u s k i n d s . I t h i n k t h a t the summary view i s the more p l a u s i b l e and i t has the advantage of a l l o w i n g f o r a r a t h e r broader range of moral problems. The summary view c o u l d be h e l d i n the extreme form i n which any p r a c t i c a l "ought" judgment counts as moral r e g a r d l e s s of the nature of the s i t u a t i o n i n which i t arose, but u s u a l l y t h e r e are some c o n s t r a i n t s p l a c e d on the s o r t of s i t u a t i o n i n which a moral problem can a r i s e . In the next s e c t i o n , I argue t h a t the b e s t c a n d i d a t e i n t h i s r e g ard i s the requirement t h a t the i n t e r e s t s or w e l f a r e of persons o t h e r than the agent be i n v o l v e d . 2 0 I s a i d t h a t the i s s u e of the p r a c t i c a l supremacy of moral judgments i s connected w i t h the t h e s i s of the o b j e c t i v i t y of moral judgments. A c t u a l l y the co n n e c t i o n i s q u i t e t r i v i a l s i n c e any summary "ought," being e q u i v a l e n t to "ought a l l t h i n g s c o n s i d e r e d , " w i l l have the r e q u i r e d a u t h o r i t y . For example, i n a s i t u a t i o n i n which the o n l y v a l i d reasons a person has are p r u d e n t i a l ones, the judgment t h a t he ought ( a l l t h i n g s considered) to do t h i s o r t h a t w i l l have a supremacy over any and a l l the prima f a c i e "oughts" which go i n t o the f i n a l judgment. However, i t i s not very p l a u s i b l e to construe every "ought, a l l t h i n g s c o n s i d e r e d , " as a moral judgment. Even when the "ought" judgment i n v o l v e s accounting f o r the w e l f a r e of persons, i t w i l l seem l i k e a moral judgment o n l y i f i t can be supposed t h a t there i s a more or l e s s determinate way o f weighting the c l a i m s supposed to be prima f a c i e v a l i d which cannot l e g i t i m a t e l y vary depending on who makes the judgment or when i t i s made. In Chapter I I I I w i l l examine some attempts t o t a c k l e the problem of showing t h a t t h e r e are such v a l i d modes of r e a s o n i n g . Most attempts a t understanding m o r a l i t y have taken an o b j e c t i v i s t l i n e ; however, there are metamoral t h e o r i e s which are n o n - o b j e c t i v i s t and I w i l l c o n s i d e r them l a t e r as regards t h e i r a c c e p t a b i l i t y as analyses of moral phenomena. I t w i l l t u r n out t h a t , to the extent t h a t they are a c c e p t a b l e , they do not capture the p r a c t i c a l t h i n k i n g of an a m o r a l i s t . For the prese n t I must content myself w i t h the unargued statement of the c l a i m t h a t metamoral t h e o r i e s which attempt to analyze moral judgments as ex p r e s s i o n s of emotion or a t t i t u d e a l l f a i l to make sense of the l i f e moral 21 concepts a c t u a l l y l e a d i n o r d i n a r y t h i n k i n g . In p a r t i c u l a r , they do not p r o v i d e an account of the sense t h a t most people have t h a t m o r a l i t y i n v o l v e s r e a l and o b j e c t i v e c l a i m s , d u t i e s and o b l i g a t i o n s which are independent of t h e i r own p e r s o n a l emotions, v a l u a t i o n s and a t t i t u d e s . Sidgwick, a l l o w i n g f o r the emotional content of moral judg-ments says: The p e c u l i a r emotion of moral approbation i s , i n my experience, i n s e p a r a b l y bound up w i t h the c o n v i c t i o n , i m p l i c i t or e x p l i c i t , t h a t the conduct approved i s ' r e a l l y ' r i g h t -i . e . t h a t i t cannot, without e r r o r , be d i s -approved by any other mind (p. 27). So f a r , then, from being prepared to admit t h a t the p r o p o s i t i o n "X ought to be done" m e r e l y expresses the e x i s t e n c e of a c e r t a i n sentiment i n myself or o t h e r s , I f i n d i t s t r i c t l y i m p o s s i b l e so to regard my own moral judgments without e l i m i n a t i n g from the concomitant sentiment the p e c u l i a r q u a l i t y s i g n i f i e d by the term 'moral.' (Sidgwick, 1966, The Methods of Ethics, p. 28) T h i s seems to me to be a very good statement of the element of o b j e c t -i v i s m p r e s e n t i n the o r d i n a r y moral consciousness. A note about terminology: In the remainder of the t h e s i s I w i l l use the terms " o b j e c t i v i s t " and " s u b j e c t i v i s t " i n two ways. Sometimes they w i l l r e f e r t o a t h e o r e t i c a l view about the nature of moral language, v a l u e judgments and so on. Sometimes, however, they w i l l r e f e r t o the s o r t of person whose concepts and language are c o r r e c t l y described by these t h e o r i e s . I f someone i s h i g h l y r e f l e c t -i v e i n h i s use of concepts he w i l l h o l d a theory about the nature of those concepts as w e l l as use them i n the way d e s c r i b e d by the theory. A s u b j e c t i v i s t , f o r example, may be someone who does not a s s i g n o b j e c t i v e v a l u e to anything, does not r e c o g n i z e o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d 22 standards of a c t i o n , e t c . and who r e a l i z e s t h a t o t hers do and con-sequently understands t h a t h i s use of c e r t a i n words may m i s l e a d o t h e r s . I hope t h a t which o f these uses o f " o b j e c t i v i s t " and " s u b j e c t i v i s t " i s intended i n v a r i o u s contexts w i l l be c l e a r , and t h a t no s e r i o u s c o n f u s i o n s w i l l r e s u l t . 3 The w e l f a r e of ot h e r s The acceptance of the o b j e c t i v i t y of judgments about what persons ought to do, or about what s t a t e s o f a f f a i r s have value and ought to be promoted, goes a long way, I t h i n k , toward con-s t i t u t i n g a person as a moral agent. But i t c e r t a i n l y does not go a l l the way. Consider, f o r example, someone who b e l i e v e s t h a t the o n l y t h i n g of r e a l v a l u e i s the e x i s t e n c e of g r e a t works of a r t , or the e x i s t e n c e of as much "u n s p o i l e d " nature as p o s s i b l e , or the supremacy of the Na z i s t a t e . Such a person can t a l k comfort-a b l y enough about what ought t o be done, what o b l i g a t i o n s and d u t i e s people have, what a c t i o n s are r i g h t and wrong, and so on; yet I t h i n k we would h e s i t a t e to c a l l h i s p o s i t i o n a moral one. For convenience, l e t us c a l l a person who i s prepared to make o b j e c t -i v e "ought" judgments of t h i s s o r t , to advocate such v a l u e s pub-l i c l y and to defend them as v a l i d and b i n d i n g on a l l , i n s p i t e o f the obvious c o n f l i c t between these v a l u e s and any t r u e concern f o r the weal and woe of human beings g e n e r a l l y , an e t h i c a l (but amoral) agent. An e t h i c a l amoral theory, then, w i l l be a p r a c t i c a l theory about how people ought t o a c t , what o b l i g a t i o n s and d u t i e s they have and so on, which can be c o n s i s t e n t l y maintained, acted upon and p u b l i c l y advocated w i t h some (perhaps o n l y minimal) p l a u s i b i l i t y 23 and which c l a i m s to express the t r u t h about what reasons people have f o r a c t i n g . To use Hare's u s e f u l terminology the e t h i c a l "ought," l i k e the moral "ought," i s u n i v e r s a l i z a b l e and p r e s c r i p t i v e (1963) and t h i s commits those who use i t to p u b l i c d i s c u s s i o n . What I want to c l a i m i s t h a t , as we normally understand the i d e a of m o r a l i t y , a moral agent must d i s p l a y some d i r e c t concern f o r the w e l f a r e of persons. Whether h i s concern r e s t s on the b e l i e f t h a t i t i s h i s duty to care f o r o t h e r s or whether i t r e s t s on nothing beyond i t s e l f may not be c r u c i a l , but i t cannot, f o r example, r e s t on a b e l i e f t h a t h i s own happiness depends on making ot h e r s happy. More about t h a t l a t e r , but the b a s i c i d e a i s t h a t there i s a d i f f e r e n c e between t a k i n g p l e a s u r e i n h e l p i n g others and h e l p i n g o t h e r s i n order t o get a f e e l i n g of p l e a s u r e . D i f f e r e n t moral t h e o r i e s w i l l ground t h i s concern f o r o t h e r s d i f f e r e n t l y but i t makes, l i t t l e d i f f e r e n c e t o my p o i n t here whether, f o r example, we are to r e s p e c t o t h e r s because they are endowed w i t h the f a c u l t y of reason or because they are capable of f e e l i n g p a i n and p l e a s u r e . W.D. F a l k (1963, " M o r a l i t y , S e l f , and Others") d i s t i n g u i s h e s what he c a l l s the " f o r m a l i s t " and the " n o n - f o r m a l i s t " views of the nature of the moral "ought." Acc o r d i n g to the f o r m a l i s t , an "ought" judgment i s normal i f i t expresses a person's o v e r r i d i n g concerns or p r i n c i p l e s . On t h i s view any r e s o l u t i o n of a person's p r a c t i c a l problems w i l l count as moral provided t h a t i t embodies t h a t person's h i g h e s t ( o v e r r i d i n g ) v a l u e s . For the n o n - f o r m a l i s t , an "ought" judgment i s moral o n l y i f i t a l s o i n v o l v e s a concern w i t h the w e l f a r e of o t h e r persons. I have suggested t h a t the l a t t e r approach i s more i n l i n e w i t h our o r d i n a r y understanding of moral 24 agency. Moral thinking, then, has a central formal feature - the o b j e c t i v i t y of moral judgments and t h e i r attendant overridingness; and a central substantive feature - a manifest involvement with the welfare of persons. Various philosophers have t r i e d i n various ways to account for the necessity of considering others i n our p r a c t i c a l d e l i b e r -ations. David Hume, for example, postulated a universal natural a f f e c t i o n or sentiment directed toward the benefit of other persons and society i n general. Only i f men have such a sentiment, he thought, could they be moved to moral action. He says: [T]hough t h i s a f f e c t i o n of humanity may not generally be esteemed so strong as vanity or ambition, yet, being common to a l l men, i t can alone be the foundation of morals, or of any general system of blame or praise. (Hume, 1966, Enquiry Concerning the P r i n c i p l e s of Morals, IX, I, p. U D Hume's problem, however, was to show how thi s natural a f f e c t , sup-posing i t e x i s t s , comes to appear i n the guise of objective and external requirements on action - whence duties and obligations, etc.? Joseph Butler t r i e d to solve t h i s problem by postulating a f a c u l t y of conscience whose nature i t was to issue authoritative d i r e c t i v e s on behalf of our various sentiments (notably benevolence) (Butler, 1967, esp. p. 53). The central importance of the notion of the welfare of others to moral agency i s further attested to by the fact that love of humanity, benevolence, kindliness, brotherly love, charity and so on have always been primary moral vi r t u e s . Not content with the postulation of a natural and universal sentiment as the basis for the requirement to display a regard for 2 5 o t h e r s i n moral t h i n k i n g , some w r i t e r s , R.M. Hare (1963) f o r example, have argued t h a t the moral requirement t o c o n s i d e r the i n t e r e s t s o f ot h e r s i s d e r i v a t i v e from a formal or l o g i c a l f e a t u r e o f moral d i s c o u r s e . Hare m a i n t a i n s t h a t the d i s t i n c t i v e f e a t u r e s of moral language are i t s prescriptiveness and i t s u n i v e r s a l i z a b i l i t y , the l a t t e r b eing the source of the moral i n j u n c t i o n t o c o n s i d e r o t h e r s . That i s , any a c t i o n which has consequences f o r persons o t h e r than the agent can be the s u b j e c t o f a moral judgment and s i n c e moral judg-ments are u n i v e r s a l i z a b l e , the agent, i f he concerns h i m s e l f w i t h the moral nature of h i s a c t i o n s , must be prepared to accept (even p r e s c r i b e ) a c t i o n s o f the same s o r t by o t h e r s i n cases where the r o l e s are r e v e r s e d . T h i s i s because moral judgments imply the acceptance of a p r i n c i p l e which a p p l i e s to anyone. Thus, when c o n s i d e r i n g what to do, the moral person c o n s i d e r s the e f f e c t s of h i s a c t i o n s on o t h e r s as though he were i n t h e i r shoes, having t h e i r concerns. No g e n e r a l sentiment of benevolence i s p o s t u l a t e d as u n d e r l y i n g t h i s imagined r e v e r s a l of r o l e s ; r a t h e r i t i s , accord-i n g t o Hare, a requirement of p l a y i n g the m o r a l i t y game. Other statements of such a Golden Rule approach abound. The id e a i s always b a s i c a l l y the same; m o r a l i t y r e q u i r e s us t o look to the e f f e c t s of our a c t i o n s on others as though we were i n t h e i r p o s i t i o n because of the l o g i c of moral judgments, p r i n c i p l e s ox- . r u l e s . In s p i t e o f the wide acceptance of such arguments among p h i l o s p h e r s , they f a i l to address the c r u c i a l q u e s t i o n s , I t h i n k . I t needs to be e x p l a i n e d why anyone should be concerned to engage i n moral d e l i b e r a t i o n s and hence t o s u b j e c t themselves to the a l l e g e d l o g i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s of making moral judgments. Even i f a deep 26 concern for others could explain p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the moral realm, the use of moral language, etc., the very fact that moral require-ments are so often seen as external impositions serving to modify the "natural" course of behaviour suggests t h i s sentiment i s not strong enough, i n general and i n i t s e l f , to account for the f e e l i n g that moral thinking i s required. This may lead to the postulation of a d i s t i n c t i v e l y moral sort of motivation such as Kantian "love of duty" or "reverence for the moral law" and to the idea that moral requirements are objecti v e l y v a l i d and independent of even the limited concern which people have naturally for th e i r fellows. Setting aside for now the problems involved i n attempting to show that a concern for others i s somehow required, l e t me suggest what form t h i s concern takes for the moral agent. The next section deals with the concept of the moral point of view, a point of view from which i t i s inevitable that one take f u l l cognizance of other persons' i n t e r e s t s . In Chapter I I I , I w i l l take up the ques-t i o n of why i t might be supposed that anyone i s required to take up that special point of view i n his p r a c t i c a l deliberations. 4 The moral point of view Moral thinking involves the adoption of a special point of view. Kurt Baier (1958) has termed t h i s the "moral point of view" and the "God's eye point of view." The notion that there i s some perspective above the concerns of the deliberating agent from which situations requiring a moral decision are to be viewed, however, goes back at least as far as Adam Smith (1976, The Theory of Moral S e n t i -27 ments, esp. V I I , i i , 1 . 4 9 ) . The b a s i c i d e a i s t h a t to a c t as a moral agent one must, i n d e l i b e r a t i n g on what t o do, c o n s i d e r o n e s e l f as j u s t one person among ot h e r s and one must regard one's i n t e r e s t s as j u s t the i n t e r e s t s o f one person a f f e c t e d by the a c t i o n o f o n e s e l f c o n s i d e r e d as a "someone." The concept o f the moral p o i n t o f view i s connected with the idea t h a t moral judgments are o b j e c t i v e s i n c e d e l i b e r a t i n g from an "impersonal" p o i n t of view i s h e l p f u l i n r i s i n g above one's own p a r t i c u l a r i n c l i n a t i o n s to a view of one's s i t u a t i o n i n which one w i l l not confuse one's own good (welfare) w i t h what i s t r u l y ( o b j e c t i v e l y , r e a l l y , i mpersonally) good. I have d i s c u s s e d the o b j e c t i v i t y of moral judgments b r i e f l y i n a p r e v i o u s s e c t i o n and I w i l l d e a l w i t h i t i n more depth i n a l a t e r chapter. I t has been argued t h a t t h e r e i s a p o i n t o f view, t h a t of an ideal observer, which i s e i t h e r i n v o l v e d i n the v e r y meaning of moral judgments o r which h e l p s to g i v e the t r u t h - c o n d i t i o n s f o r moral judgments. T h e o r i e s which h o l d t h a t moral judgments can be analyzed as meaning t h a t an i d e a l o bserver would do o r t h i n k o r f e e l i n c e r t a i n ways can be d i s t i n g u i s h e d from t h e o r i e s which appeal to an i d e a l o bserver i n order to c l a r i f y the nature o f moral t h i n k i n g . As an example of the l a t t e r , c o n s i d e r t h e o r i e s such as those advanced by moral sense t h e o r i s t s - the i d e a l o bserver here i s u s u a l l y some (non-actual) being endowed with an uncorrupted moral sense who i s f u l l y aware of the f a c t s . Hume can be understood t h i s way although he has a l s o been taken to be an exponent of the former s t r o n g e r t h e s i s about the meaning of moral judgments ( c f . C D . Broad, 1 9 3 0 , Five Types of Ethical Theory, pp. 8 4 - 9 3 ) . 28 Roderick F i r t h (1951-2, " E t h i c a l A b s o l u t i s m and the I d e a l Observer") more r e c e n t l y has attempted a r e v i v a l of the i d e a l obser-ver t heory. His i s a theory about the meaning of e t h i c a l judgments i n which he proposes t h a t we express the meaning of statements of the form "x i s r i g h t " i n terms of o t h e r statements which have the form, "Any i d e a l observer would r e a c t to x i n such and such a way under such and such c o n d i t i o n s " (p. 329). F i r t h ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of the c o n d i t i o n s under which the i d e a l observer i s supposed to operate are i n s t r u c t i v e , as i s h i s d i s c u s s i o n of the nature of the i d e a l o b s e r v e r ' s r e a c t i o n . The i d e a l o b s e r v e r ' s r e a c t i o n i s to be one of the " s p e c i f i c a l l y moral emotions" of moral app r o v a l or d i s a p p r o v a l . F i r t h c l a i m s t h a t t h e r e c e r t a i n l y seems to be such emotions which are experienced and t h e r e f o r e "unless apparent f a c t s of t h i s k i n d can be d i s c o u n t e d by s u b t l e phenomenological a n a l y s i s , t here i s no e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l o b j e c t i o n to d e f i n i n g the e t h i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t r e a c t i o n s o f an i d e a l observer i n terms of moral emotions" (p. 329). The d e f i n i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the i d e a l observer are s e t out by F i r t h as i n c l u d i n g -the c o n d i t i o n s under which h i s r e a c t i o n to s i t u a t i o n s are m o r a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t . He notes, i n c i d e n t a l l y , t h a t : [T]here i s no good reason to b e l i e v e t h a t a l l human beings, no matter what the extent of t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l development, and no matter what t h e i r past s o c i a l environment, c o u l d analyze t h e i r e t h i c a l statements c o r r e c t l y by r e f e r e n c e to p r e c i s e l y the same k i n d of i d e a l observer and p r e c i s e l y the same p s y c h o l o g i c a l phenomena (p. 330). , With t h i s c a u t i o n i n mind, F i r t h d e s c r i b e s the i d e a l o b server. 1. "He i s omniscient with respect to non-ethical f a c t s . " T h i s r e f l e c t s the f a c t t h a t : "We sometimes d i s q u a l i f y o u r s e l v e s as- judges of a p a r t i c u l a r e t h i c a l q u e s t i o n on the ground 29 t h a t w e a r e n o t s u f f i c i e n t l y f a m i l i a r w i t h t h e f a c t s o f t h e c a s e , a n d w e r e g a r d o n e p e r s o n a s a b e t t e r m o r a l j u d g e t h a n a n o t h e r i f , o t h e r t h i n g s b e i n g e q u a l , t h e o n e h a s a l a r g e r a m o u n t o f r e l e v a n t f a c t u a l k n o w l e d g e t h a n t h e o t h e r " ( p . 3 3 3 ) . 2. "He i s omnipercipient." T h i s r e f l e c t s t h e f a c t t h a t : " W e s o m e t i m e s d i s q u a l i f y o u r s e l v e s a s j u d g e s o f c e r t a i n e t h i c a l q u e s t i o n s o n t h e g r o u n d t h a t w e c a n n o t s a t i s f a c t o r i l y i m a g i n e o r v i s u a l i z e s o m e o f t h e r e l e v a n t f a c t s , a n d i n g e n e r a l w e r e g a r d o n e p e r s o n a s a b e t t e r m o r a l j u d g e t h a n a n o t h e r i f , o t h e r t h i n g s b e i n g e q u a l , t h e o n e i s b e t t e r a b l e t o i m a g i n e o r v i s u a l i z e t h e r e l e v a n t f a c t s " ( p . 3 3 5 ) . 3 . "He i s disinterested." I . e . , h e i s e n t i r e l y l a c k i n g i n p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t s w h e r e a p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t i s o n e w h i c h c a n n o t b e s u i t a b l y d e s c r i b e d . i n t e r m s o f u n i v e r s a l s w i t h o u t a l t e r i n g t h e n a t u r e o f t h e i n t e r e s t . T h i s c o n d i t i o n r e f l e c t s t h e f a c t t h a t : " W e s o m e t i m e s d i s q u a l i f y o u r s e l v e s a s j u d g e s o f c e r t a i n e t h i c a l q u e s t i o n s o n t h e g r o u n d t h a t w e c a n n o t m a k e o u r s e l v e s i m p a r t i a l . . . " ( p . 3 3 5 ) . 4 . "He i s dispassionate." T h i s , a l o n g w i t h t h e a b s e n c e o f p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t s , c o m - - ; p l e t e s t h e a n a l y s i s o f i m p a r t i a l i t y m e n t i o n e d i n 3 : " . . . w e c a n s a y t h a t a n i d e a l o b s e r v e r i s d i s p a s s i o n a t e i n t h e s e n s e t h a t h e i s i n c a p -a b l e o f e x p e r i e n c i n g e m o t i o n s o f t h i s k i n d [ p a r t i c u l a r e m o t i o n s ] - s u c h a s e m o t i o n s o f j e a l o u s y , s e l f - l o v e , p e r s o n a l h a t r e d , a n d o t h e r s w h i c h a r e d i r e c t e d t o w a r d s p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l s a s s u c h " ( p . 3 4 0 ) . 5 . "He i s consistent." T h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i s a c o n s e q u e n c e o f a l l o f t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a n d t h e p r e s e n c e o r a b s e n c e o f c o n s i s t e n c y i s a test o f t h e a d e q u a c y o f t h e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f t h e i d e a l o b s e r v e r . T h a t i s , t h e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f t h e i d e a l o b s e r v e r m u s t g u a r a n t e e t h a t h i s r e a c t i o n s w i l l b e i n v a r i a n t a m o n g s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s . 6 . "In other respects he i s normal." T h e c o n c e p t o f n o r m a l c y i s n o t e a s i l y a n a l y z e d b u t t h e i d e a i s t h a t t h e i d e a l o b s e r v e r i s , a f t e r a l l , a person a n d h i s 30 p e r s o n a l i t y s h o u l d l i e w i t h i n t h e b o u n d s o f t h e n o r m a l ( c f . pp. 3 4 4 - 5 ) . I h a v e q u o t e d F i r t h a t l e n g t h b e c a u s e I t h i n k t h a t he h a s i s o l a t e d m o s t o f t h e f a c t o r s w h i c h a c t u a l l y a r e u s e d t o d i s c o u n t c e r t a i n p e r s o n s a s e l i g i b l e f o r i n c l u s i o n i n s e r i o u s m o r a l d e b a t e and t o d i s c o u n t p a r t i c u l a r m o r a l j u d g m e n t s . A l s o h i s a c c o u n t g i v e s a g o o d i n d i c a t i o n o f one way i n w h i c h t h e i n t e r e s t s a n d w e l f a r e o f o t h e r p e r s o n s may come t o g e t a g r i p on t h e p r a c t i c a l d e l i b e r a t i o n s o f t h e m o r a l a g e n t . 5 Some o t h e r f e a t u r e s o f m o r a l i t y a n d m o r a l a g e n c y So f a r I h a v e a r g u e d t h a t m o r a l a g e n c y i n v o l v e s p r i m a r i l y t h e a c c e p t a n c e o f t h e o b j e c t i v i t y o f m o r a l j u d g m e n t s a nd a p r e p a r e d -n e s s t o t a k e up a d e l i b e r a t i v e p o i n t o f v i e w f r o m w h i c h t h e i n t e r e s t s o f o t h e r p e r s o n s come t o h a v e c o n s i d e r a b l e p r a c t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . I n t h i s s e c t i o n I w i s h t o show t h a t i t i s r e a s o n a b l e t o t a k e t h e s e two f e a t u r e s t o be c e n t r a l o n e s b y c o n s i d e r i n g t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p t o o t h e r a s p e c t s o f m o r a l i t y a n d m o r a l a g e n c y . ( i ) M o r a l i t y i s p r a c t i c a l - t h e p r o b l e m o f m o t i v a t i o n One t h i n g w h i c h i s u t t e r l y b e y o n d d i s p u t e i s t h e i n t i m a t e c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n m o r a l i t y a n d a c t i o n . As Hume p u t i t : I f m o r a l i t y h a d no i n f l u e n c e o n human p a s s i o n s and' a c t i o n s , ' t w e r e i n v a i n t o t a k e s u c h p a i n s t o i n c u l c a t e i t ; a n d n o t h i n g wou'd be more f r u i t l e s s t h a n t h a t m u l t i t u d e o f r u l e s a n d precepts.,- w i t h w h i c h a l l m o r a l i s t s a b o u n d . P h i l o s o p h y i s commonly d i v i d e d b e t w e e n s p e c u l a t i v e a n d p r a c t i c a l ' , and a s m o r a l i t y i s a l w a y s c o m p r e h e n d e d u n d e r t h e l a t t e r d i v i s i o n , ' t i s s u p p o s e d t o i n f l u e n c e o u r p a s s i o n s a n d a c t i o n s , a n d t o go b e y o n d t h e c a l m a n d i n d o l e n t j u d g m e n t s o f t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g . And t h i s i s confirmed 31 by common experience, which informs us, t h a t men are o f t e n govern'd by t h e i r d u t i e s , and are d e t e r " d from some a c t i o n s by the o p i n i o n of i n j u s t i c e , and i m p e l l ' d t o o t h e r s by t h a t of o b l i g a t i o n . (Hume, 1888, T r e a t i s e , I I I , 1 , 1 , ' p. 457) While i t i s probably too much to say t h a t every u t t e r a n c e p r o p e r l y c l a s s e d as a moral judgment must be immediately r e l e v a n t to a c t i o n , there i s an undeniable and e s s e n t i a l c o n n e c t i o n between m o r a l i t y and q u e s t i o n s about what to do. C l e a r l y not a l l p r a c t i c a l q u e s t i o n s are candidates f o r moral s o l u t i o n and, perhaps l e s s c l e a r l y , i t i s always p o s s i b l e t o decide what to do without t h i n k i n g m o r a l l y . At l e a s t t h i s : anyone who s i n c e r e l y makes a moral judgment thereby makes a commitment to a c t i n accordance with t h a t judgment i n s o f a r as he i s capable o f doing so, should the o c c a s i o n a r i s e . Moral judgments, i n some sense, commit the w i l l . R.M. Hare (1952, pp. 163-8) puts the matter i n terms of moral judgments e n t a i l i n g i m p e r a t i v e s . C L . Stevenson (1944, pp. 13-19) speaks of moral judgments as e x p r e s s i n g a t t i t u d e s toward something,thereby e n s u r i n g the p r a c t i c a l b e a r i n g of moral judgments and Kant made the good w i l l the r e f e r e n c e p o i n t of a l l moral e v a l u a t i o n s . W.D. F a l k (1947-8, "'Ought' and M o t i v a t i o n ") i n t r o d u c e d a d i s t i n c t i o n between two views on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between moral "ought" judgments and m o t i v a t i o n or between two d i f f e r e n t uses of m o r a l l y "ought." On the e x t e r n a l i s t view, to say t h a t someone ought to do something i s to p o i n t to some o b j e c t i v e or e x t e r n a l requirement on him. The requirement may be e x t e r n a l i n the sense of being grounded i n the commands of a d e i t y , the d i c t a t e s of 32 s o c i e t y or even i n something as vague as the nature of h i s s i t -u a t i o n . The important t h i n g i s t h a t the demand expressed i n an e x t e r n a l use of "ought" "has an o b j e c t i v e e x i s t e n c e of i t s own depending i n no way on anything p e c u l i a r t o the agent's p s y c h o l o g i c a l c o n s t i t u t i o n " (pp. 125-126). The problem, F a l k argues, w i t h con-s t r u i n g the moral "ought" as e x t e r n a l i s t h i s : I f "I ought" means "I am from o u t s i d e myself demanded to do some a c t , " whether by the w i l l of another, or more i m p e r s o n a l l y by the " s i t u a t i o n , " t h e r e w i l l then be no necessary c o n n e c t i o n f o r anyone between having the duty and being under any manner of r e a l compulsion to do the a c t . For no one r e a l l y need do any a c t merely because i t i s demanded of him, whether by a d e i t y or s o c i e t y or the " s i t u a t i o n , " but o n l y i f , i n a d d i t i o n , he f i n d s w i t h i n h i m s e l f a motive s u f f i c i e n t f o r s a t i s f y i n g the demand (p. 126). But there i s another use of "ought" b e s i d e s the e x t e r n a l i s t one, a c c o r d i n g to F a l k . I t i s what he c a l l s the " i n t e r n a l i s t use" or " m o t i v a t i o n a l use." When "ought" i s used m o t i v a t i o n a l l y , ' to say t h a t someone ought to do something i s t o : express nothing other than a c e r t a i n r e l a t i o n between a person's d i s p o s i t i o n a l and o c c u r r e n t motives: t h a t though o c c u r r e n t l y he had no impulse or d e s i r e to do an a c t or none s u f f i c i e n t l y s t r o n g , d i s p o s i t i o n a l l y he was under an e f f e c t i v e and o v e r - r i d i n g compulsion to do i t (p. 129). In o r d i n a r y moral language, F a l k maintains, these two uses are not adequately d i s t i n g u i s h e d : The external and i n t e r n a l uses of "ought" ' remain u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , and are impercept-i b l y juxtaposed and confused. There may be an unnoticed switch from the use of "ought" from one to the oth e r , from a d i v i n e command, or requirement of o t h e r s , to a d i c t a t e of conscience, o r , when the more s o p h i s t i c a t e d speak the language of 33 o b j e c t i v e " c l a i m s , " an a l t e r n a t i o n between a nebulous e x t e r n a l i s t and an i n t e r n a l i s t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of one and the same t h i n g (p. 137). There may w e l l be cases i n which "ought" i s used e x t e r n a l l y and o t h e r s i n which i t i s used i n t e r n a l l y or m o t i v a t i o n a l l y . "You ought to d r i v e on the r i g h t hand s i d e , " may be an example of the former and "You ought to watch what you eat," may be an example of the l a t t e r . However, i t i s not a t a l l obvious t h a t i n moral d i s c o u r s e we need to make a c h o i c e between these two uses. An o b j e c t i v i s t can, i t seems, p e r f e c t l y w e l l argue t h a t the moral "ought" i s , s t r i c t l y speaking, n e i t h e r i n t e r n a l nor e x t e r n a l , or t h a t i t i s , i n important ways, both. There i s no obvious i n c o -herence i n arguing t h a t moral "ought" judgments present demands which are independent of any p a r t i c u l a r person's p e c u l i a r psycho-l o g i c a l c o n s t i t u t i o n and are to t h a t extent e x t e r n a l , but t h a t they n e v e r t h e l e s s recommend a c t i o n s which anyone (or any f a i r l y normal person about whom i t i s a p p r o p r i a t e to make moral judgments) would be motivated to perform under c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s . Of course, those c o n d i t i o n s would have to be grounded somehow i n some very b a s i c f a c t s about human nature, r a t i o n a l i t y , the p o i n t of d e l i b -e r a t i o n or something of t h a t s o r t . I t should perhaps be noted t h a t F a l k i s not very c a r e f u l to d i s t i n g u i s h " e x t e r n a l i s t " and " i n t e r n a l i s t " as a p p l i e d to u s e s o f "ought," to senses o f "ought," and to views about the meaning of "ought." I t h i n k he supposes t h a t there are a t l e a s t the two uses of "ought" d e f i n e d above and t h a t there are a t l e a s t two views about which use i s i n v o l v e d i n the use o f "ought" i n a moral co n t e x t . A c c o r d i n g to F a l k , we must decide which use or view b e s t 34 r e f l e c t s what we want to say u s i n g "ought" m o r a l l y . I am suggesting t h a t there i s no need to choose between the i n t e r n a l i s t and e x t e r n -a l i s t views about the nature of the moral "ought" s i n c e there may not be two d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e uses of "ought" i n moral d i s c o u r s e . I do not wish to suggest t h a t there are no d i f f i c u l t i e s i n the way of d i s c o v e r i n g an o b j e c t i v i s t a n a l y s i s of moral d i s c o u r s e which e f f e c t s a s y n t h e s i s between e x t e r n a l i s t and i n t e r n a l i s t views. I t h i n k there are very s e r i o u s d i f f i c u l t i e s indeed as w i l l become c l e a r as we proceed; however, I d i s a g r e e w i t h F a l k ' s c l a i m t h a t what one i s d e a l i n g w i t h i n attempting to understand moral language i s a c o n f u s i o n of two uses of "ought." C e r t a i n l y F a l k i s adequately aware of the appeal of o b j e c t i v i s t analyses which attempt the s y n t h e s i s . He notes: People very commonly combine a view of "ought" as a requirement from o u t s i d e , or an in n e r compulsion of a s p e c i a l q u a l i t y , w i t h adherence to a p u r i s t view of i t s co n n e c t i o n w i t h m o t i v a t i o n , not so much as long as they view the moral law as the demand of a d e i t y or of s o c i a l convention, but once they t h i n k of i t as somehow o b j e c t i v e l y grounded i n the nature of t h i n g s (p. 136). I r e j e c t , then, F a l k ' s c l a i m t h a t what i s u l t i m a t e l y r e q u i r e d i s something i n the nature of a d e c i s i o n between two uses of "ought." I f the moral "ought" i s to be understood a t a l l , as i t i s used i n o r d i n a r y moral d i s c o u r s e , i t must be understood as an e x p r e s s i o n of an " e x t e r n a l " demand or c l a i m which does have, a t l e a s t d i s p o s i t i o n a l l y , an i n t i m a t e c o n n e c t i o n with the m o t i v a t i o n s of normal human agents. T h i s must be so i f , as I have argued, moral judgments are understood, by those who make them, as e x p r e s s i o n s of o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d requirements on a c t i o n . 35 ( i i ) M o r a l i t y as a s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n Another f e a t u r e of m o r a l i t y which v i r t u a l l y a l l metamoral t h e o r i e s r e c o g n i z e i s t h a t the use of moral concepts and moral t h i n k i n g are e s s e n t i a l l y s o c i a l . R i chard T a y l o r (1970, pp. 125-128) makes the p o i n t t h a t moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s are s o c i a l i n nature by aski n g us f i r s t to imagine a world devoid of human l i f e and then one wit h a s i n g l e i n h a b i t a n t and f i n a l l y one wit h one or more persons. T a y l o r argues, r i g h t l y I t h i n k , t h a t no q u e s t i o n of a moral k i n d can a r i s e u n t i l the f i n a l stage a t which we have persons i n t e r a c t i n g i n a s o c i a l manner. R e c a l l t h a t Kant formu-l a t e s the C a t e g o r i c a l Imperative i n terms of r a t i o n a l agents l i v i n g as a kingdom of ends. Emphasizing the s o c i a l c h a r a c t e r of m o r a l i t y , P.P. Strawson suggests a "minimal c o n c e p t i o n of m o r a l i t y " as a " p u b l i c convenience." He says: [ I ] t i s a c o n d i t i o n of the e x i s t e n c e of any form of s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n , of any human community, t h a t c e r t a i n e x p e c t a t i o n s of be-haviour on the p a r t of i t s members should be p r e t t y r e g u l a r l y f u l f i l l e d : t h a t some d u t i e s , one might say, should be performed, some o b l i g a t i o n s acknowledged, some r u l e s observed. (Strawson, 1961, " S o c i a l M o r a l i t y and I n d i v i d u a l I d e a l , " p. 5) T h i s c o n c e p t i o n i s probably much more minimal than Strawson t h i n k s u n l e s s some con n e c t i o n i s made between " e x p e c t a t i o n s , " and " d u t i e s " and " o b l i g a t i o n s " s i n c e m o r a l i t y i n v o l v e s d u t i e s and o b l i g a t i o n s and not j u s t e x p e c t a t i o n s . I t i s a t a u t o l o g y t h a t s o c i a l organ-i z a t i o n i n v o l v e s persons f u l f i l l i n g e x p e c t a t i o n s " p r e t t y r e g u l a r l y " : s t i l l , every s o c i e t y does have a m o r a l i t y of some s o r t and t h a t may a t l e a s t be an i n t e r e s t i n g t a u t o l o g y . 36 The idea that morality has a function and that i t s function i s the preservation of s o c i a l l i f e i s a powerful one and linked to i t are other features. For example, morality, as a system of rules and p r i n c i p l e s or as a mode of deliberation, must be teach-able and must be such that human nature being what i t i s , people w i l l for the most part adopt the rules or deliberative procedures and act i n accordance with them. Morality cannot absolutely require what most people cannot be expected to do. The require-ments of morality must not seem a r b i t r a r y or overly oppressive and they must carry authority of some sort i n order that i t be capable of curbing behaviour which would jeopardize the s t a b i l i t y of the s o c i a l unit. Most, i f not a l l , of morality i s thus concerned with modes of behaviour which p o t e n t i a l l y a f f e c t others. Even those areas of private morality (as opposed to s o c i a l morality) which seem to concern no one but the ind i v i d u a l concerned, can generally be understood i n terms of the production of character types which are b e n e f i c i a l or at least benign from the point of view of the survival of society. If a boundary can be drawn between moral virtues and vices, and non-moral human excellences and de f i c i e n c i e s , i t i s l i k e l y to l i e at the juncture of those things which are s i g n i f i c a n t to the maintenance of so c i e t a l s t a b i l i t y and those which are not. The s o c i a l character of morality can be seen as a c o r o l l a r y of the fact that moral agents recognize the (objective) require-ment to concern themselves with the welfare of others. Moral problems aris e when the actions of one person or group of persons a f f e c t the welfare of others and t h i s means that the appropriate 37 forms of s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n ( s o c i e t y ' s r u l e s , conventions and laws) w i l l be determined i n l a r g e measure by the outcome of d e l i b e r a t i o n s conducted i n the moral mode. Where the a c t i o n s of i n d i v i d u a l s do not a f f e c t o t h e r s there i s no need f o r anyone to c o n s i d e r anyone's w e l f a r e but h i s own, and there i s thus no room f o r moral judgments. But i n a s o c i a l s e t t i n g moral agents w i l l s e t about determining (e.g. by pondering the s i t u a t i o n or a range of p o s s i b l e s i t u a t i o n s from the moral p o i n t of view) how to achieve and e n f o r c e c o r r e c t modes of conduct. ( i i i ) M o r a l i t y a d j u d i c a t e s c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t s Connected w i t h the i d e a t h a t the moral agent c o n s i d e r s the i n t e r e s t s of ot h e r s i s the n o t i o n t h a t i t i s of the essence of m o r a l i t y t h a t i t prevent as f a r as p o s s i b l e , and t h a t i t a d j u d i c a t e where not p o s s i b l e , c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t among persons i n a s o c i e t y . I t i s a l s o o f t e n suggested t h a t m o r a l i t y serves to remove con-f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t s w i t h i n a g i v e n i n d i v i d u a l ( P l a t o and B u t l e r come to mind). T h i s view i s put s u c c i n t l y by G.W. A l l p o r t : [A]11 t h e o r i e s of moral conduct have one primary purpose: they s e t bef o r e us some a p p r o p r i a t e formula f o r ha n d l i n g c o n f l i c t s -whether the c o n f l i c t s be between warring i n t e r e s t s i n one i n d i v i d u a l or among i n d i -v i d u a l s . ( A l l p o r t , 1959, "Normative Compat-i b i l i t y i n the L i g h t of S o c i a l S c i e n c e , " p. 139) Many moral p h i l o s o p h e r s have h e l d the view t h a t m o r a l i t y can be c o n s i d e r e d as a d e v i c e or method or s e t of p r i n c i p l e s whose primary f u n c t i o n i s the r e s o l u t i o n of c o n f l i c t s which a r i s e from the f a c t t h a t people o f t e n have d e s i r e s or i n t e r e s t s which cannot be a l l s i m u l t a n e o u s l y s a t i s f i e d . Kurt B a i e r goes so far as to say, 38 " ... by 'the moral p o i n t of view' we mean a p o i n t of view which i s a c o u r t of appeal f o r c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t " (Baier, 1958, The Moral Point of View, p. 190). Often people who t h i n k of m o r a l i t y i n these terms suppose t h a t , m o r a l l y speaking, a l l i n t e r -e s t s are e q u a l l y l e g i t i m a t e taken by themselves; t h a t i s , i f t h i n g s were arranged i n such a way t h a t no one's i n t e r e s t s con-f l i c t e d w i t h anyone e l s e ' s i n t e r e s t s there would be no need f o r -no reason f o r and no room f o r - m o r a l i t y . Many u t i l i t a r i a n s , e s p e c i a l l y those i n f l u e n c e d by modern w e l f a r e economists, tend to take t h i s l i n e . Other t h i n k e r s see the r o l e of m o r a l i t y s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t l y , p l a c i n g the emphasis on the p r e v e n t i o n r a t h e r than on the r e s o l u t i o n of c o n f l i c t s . On t h i s view m o r a l i t y concerns i t s e l f w i t h the l e g i t i m a c y of i n t e r e s t s , e v a l u a t i n g them r a t h e r than t a k i n g them as givens to be d e a l t with a c c o r d i n g to some s o r t of c a l c u l u s . I t h i n k the l a t t e r approach i s c l o s e r to the way i n which m o r a l i t y a c t u a l l y operates. Given t h a t moral agents concern themselves with the i n t e r e s t s of o t h e r s , i t i s easy to see how i t comes about t h a t m o r a l i t y should be seen as f u n c t i o n i n g to a v o i d or r e c o n c i l e c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t . The i d e a t h a t there i s a c o r r e c t r e s o l u t i o n of s i t u a t i o n s i n which i n d i v i d u a l s ' i n t e r e s t s c o n f l i c t combined wi t h a w i l l i n g n e s s to take everyone's w e l f a r e i n t o account leads n a t u r a l l y to the view t h a t not a l l i n t e r e s t s are l e g i t i m a t e or t h a t not a l l i n t e r e s t s have a l e g i t i m a t e c l a i m to be f u l l y s a t i s f i e d . The c o r r e c t s o l -u t i o n must be one i n which everyone can do as he ought to do and a t r u e concern f o r persons' w e l f a r e i s c o n s i s t e n t o n l y w i t h a s o l u t i o n which g i v e s due c o n s i d e r a t i o n to the w e l f a r e (represented, 39 at l e a s t i n p a r t , by i n t e r e s t s ) of a l l . Since i t i s hard to see how everyone's w e l f a r e can be g i v e n due weight by a s o l u t i o n which recommends c o n f l i c t and c o m p e t i t i o n , we can expect the moral out-come to be one which s p e c i f i e s , i n some way, which i n t e r e s t s are to be s a t i s f i e d to what degree. Thus m o r a l i t y ' s f u n c t i o n of r e s o l v i n g c o n f l i c t s i s grounded i n o b j e c t i v i s m and concern f o r o t h e r s which were e a r l i e r i d e n t i f e d as the core of moral agency. 6 The amoral agent I f my c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the moral agent has been made s u f f i c i e n t l y p l a u s i b l e , i t should not be d i f f i c u l t t o see t h a t there are two main l i n e s of enquiry open i n our search f o r a way to understand a m o r a l i t y . F i r s t , i f the acceptance of o b j e c t i v i s m i s a c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the moral agent, we can expect to f i n d t h a t a r a d i c a l departure from t h i s posture, toward s u b j e c t -i v i s m , w i l l y i e l d one form of amoralism. Secondly, an absence of, or minimal, or h i g h l y s e l e c t i v e , concern f o r the w e l f a r e of others i n someone may a l s o p r o v i d e grounds f o r c o n s i d e r i n g him to be amoral. At the r i s k of being crude, the s i t u a t i o n can be represented as f o l l o w s : o b j e c t i v i s t <4 * s u b j e c t i v i s t h i g h r e g a r d f o r the w e l f a r e o f p e r s o n s i n g e n e r a l low r e g a r d f o r the w e l f a r e o f p e r s o n s i n g e n e r a l 40 Looking at t h i n g s i n t h i s way we can i s o l a t e f o u r extreme p o s i t i o n s ; (A) The a r c h e t y p i c a l moral agent T h i s i s the s o r t of person I have been d e s c r i b i n g i n the p r e s e n t chapter and h o p e f u l l y n o t h i n g f u r t h e r i s r e q u i r e d here by way of e x p l a n a t i o n . (B) The a r c h e t y p i c a l amoral agent To understand t h i s s o r t of person p r o p e r l y would r e q u i r e t h a t a g r e a t d e a l be s a i d about s u b j e c t i v i s m and s i n c e i t w i l l be more f u l l y d i s c u s s e d l a t e r , I w i l l simply sketch some main idea s here. The r a d i c a l s u b j e c t i v i s t denies t h a t there i s any very s i g -n i f i c a n t sense i n the n o t i o n of t h i n g s being " r e a l l y " v a l u a b l e or t h a t anyone i s s u b j e c t to requirements or c l a i m s on h i s a c t i o n s "from without." Things are v a l u a b l e only i n the sense t h a t they are a c t u a l l y (or p o s s i b l y p o t e n t i a l l y ) valued by a c t u a l persons. The most extreme form of s u b j e c t i v i s m which has r e c e i v e d any very complete treatment i s probably to be found i n S a r t r e ' s Being and ' Nothingness. S a t r e there advances the theory t h a t i n some very r e a l and r a d i c a l sense people do (or a t l e a s t can) f r e e l y choose t h e i r v a l u e s , t h e i r c h a r a c t e r and so on. Because of h i s extreme s u b j e c t i v i s m , the a r c h e t y p i c a l amor-a l i s t cannot make s i n c e r e moral judgments s i n c e to do so would i n v o l v e him i n the acceptance of i n t e r p e r s o n a l l y v a l i d standards of a c t i o n and would commit him to t r y i n g to j u s t i f y h i s or o t h e r s ' a c t i o n s on such grounds. Furthermore, the person at (B) takes l i t t l e or no i n t e r e s t i n the w e l f a r e of others and thus whatever explan-a t i o n s of h i s a c t i o n s i n "moral s i t u a t i o n s " he gave they c o u l d h a r d l y be construed as c o n t r i b u t i o n s to a moral debate. He takes 41 no pains to adopt the moral p o i n t of view s i n c e to do so would be to remove h i m s e l f from any concern with the world he might have had. These c l a i m s w i l l , I hope, become c l e a r e r through the d i s -c u s s i o n s which appear i n Chapter I I I s e c t i o n 6 and f o l l o w i n g . (C) The o b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t Consider someone who i s f a n a t i c a l l y committed to the p r e s e r -v a t i o n of w i l d l i f e t o the t o t a l n e g l e c t of the w e l f a r e of anyone. He may even be prepared to s a c r i f i c e (or merely give) h i s l i f e f o r the cause. Not o n l y i s he commited to t h i s g o a l , he regards i t as one which everyone ought to embrace. It just i s very important ( o b j e c t i v e l y speaking), a c c o r d i n g to him, t h a t the w i l d l i f e of the p l a n e t be preserved. I t i s not (anyway p r i m a r i l y ) t h a t he wants to have the animals preserved f o r f u t u r e g e n e r a t i o n s , nor t h a t he b e l i e v e s t h a t human s o u l s i n h a b i t the bodies of the b i r d s and beasts, l e t us say. Rather, f o r whatever reason, ( d i v i n e r e v e l a t i o n ? ) he t h i n k s i t important to f o l l o w the course he recommends. Other cases can be manufactured as w e l l , perhaps l e s s f a n t a s t i c ones. A c t u a l l y t h e r e i s one s o r t of o b j e c t i v e a m o r a l i s t which has r e c e i v e d c o n s i d e r a b l e a t t e n t i o n - the e g o i s t . The next chapter i s devoted to a d i s c u s s i o n of egoism. In my sketch I have i n d i c a t e d t h a t i t might be p o s s i b l e f o r someone at (C) to be c o n s i d e r e d a moral agent. I am not very happy wit h t h i s i d e a f o r reasons I have a l r e a d y g i v e n , but some p h i l o s -ophers seem w i l l i n g t o embrace the p o s s i b i l i t y l e s s r e l u c t a n t l y . Hare, f o r example, l e a n i n g h e a v i l y on the f a c t t h a t the person at (C) can use a p r a c t i c a l v o c abulary i n which a l l of the l o g i c a l s t r u c t u r e of moral d i s c o u r s e as he d e f i n e s i t i s present, seems 42 tempted to grant the f a n a t i c ( his term as well) the s t a t u s of moral agent (my term). U l t i m a t e l y , however, he says t h a t " i t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of moral thought i n ge n e r a l to acc o r d equal weight t o the i n t e r e s t o f a l l persons" (Hare, 1963, Freedom and Reason, p. 177). (D) The o t h e r - r e g a r d i n g s u b j e c t i v i s t In many ways the person at (D) i s the most i n t e r e s t i n g and I d e a l with the c o m p l e x i t i e s of t h i s case i n the l a s t c hapter. I t seems to me t h a t t h e r e i s here some p o s s i b i l i t y o f moral agency of a s p e c i a l s o r t but f u r t h e r d i s c u s s i o n must wait. Whether an o t h e r - r e g a r d i n g s u b j e c t i v i s t i s to be c l a s s e d as an amoral or as a moral agent may depend on such t h i n g s as how s t a b l e h i s concern f o r others i s and what form h i s concern takes c o n c e p t u a l l y f o r him. 43 II EGOISM 1 Egoism as a form of amoralism The moral agent r e c o g n i z e s , i n the i n t e r e s t s o f oth e r persons, a source of v a l i d c l a i m s on h i s a c t i o n s . These c l a i m s may a r i s e d i r e c t l y from a b e l i e f t h a t o t h e r s ' w e l f a r e has an o b j e c t i v e value or i n d i r e c t l y from an acceptance of a requirement t h a t he d e l i b e r -ate from the moral p o i n t of view, t a k i n g no s p e c i a l cognizance of h i s own p a r t i c u l a r v a l u a t i o n s and i n t e r e s t s . I f a r e c o g n i t i o n of c l a i m s grounded i n the w e l f a r e of others i s , as I have argued, a necessary component of moral t h i n k i n g , someone who does not rec o g n i z e such c l a i m s w i l l be an amoral agent. There may be people who take minimal i n t e r e s t i n anyone's i n t e r e s t s , i n c l u d i n g t h e i r own; e.g. n i h i l i s t s w i t h l i t t l e i n t e r e s t i n any t h i n g , i d e a l i s t s , f a n a t i c s , r e l i g i o u s z e a l o t s , e t c . who care o n l y f o r the g r e a t e r g l o r y of the type man, the supremacy of the Na z i s t a t e , the de v o t i o n of the human race t o the Almighty, and so on. Such people are r a r e , but there i s a type of person, the e g o i s t , who s t r i k e s one as being r a t h e r l e s s b i z a r r e . The e g o i s t , a t l e a s t , cares about h i s own w e l f a r e , as we a l l do, and h i s p e c u l i a r i t y l i e s o n l y i n h i s d i s r e g a r d i n g the w e l f a r e of o t h e r s , except when t h e i r w e l f a r e i s of more or l e s s d i r e c t consequence to h i s own. Egoism, l i k e the forms of "fanatacism" mentioned above may 44 be h e l d o b j e c t i v e l y o r s u b j e c t i v e l y . The o b j e c t i v i s t e g o i s t t h i n k s t h a t t h e o n l y r e a l r e a s o n s anyone has o r c o u l d have f o r d o i n g some a c t i o n i s t h a t d o i n g so c o n d u c e s t o h i s own w e l f a r e . T h i s s o r t o f v i e w i s u s u a l l y c a l l e d e t h i c a l e g o i s m and i s e x p r e s s e d i n t h e c l a i m t h a t e v e r y o n e o u g h t t o p u r s u e h i s own i n t e r e s t s . E g o i s m may a l s o be h e l d s u b j e c t i v e l y , however. The s u b j e c t i v i s t e g o i s t need n o t make any g e n e r a l c l a i m s a b o u t who has what s o r t s o f r e a s o n s - he s i m p l y d o e s c a r e o n l y a b o u t h i s own w e a l . I f he h o l d s h i s p o s i t i o n r e f l e c t i v e l y we c a n e x p e c t t h a t he w i l l have some v i e w s a b o u t t h e n a t u r e o f p r a c t i c a l r e a s o n i n g . B u t i f he i s t r u l y a s u b j e c t i v i s t he w i l l n o t s u p p o s e t h a t any e r r o r i s n e c e s s a r i l y b e i n g made by n o n - e g o i s t s , s i n c e t h e r e a r e no o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s (whether r e l a t -i v i z e d t o i n d i v i d u a l s o r n o t ) . I n t h e n e x t s e c t i o n I c o n s i d e r some v i e w s w h i c h have been a d v a n c e d on t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between m o r a l i t y and s e l f - i n t e r e s t . L a t e r I w i l l c o n s i d e r i n more d e t a i l some v a r i o u s f o r m s o f e g o i s m . 2 M o r a l i t y and s e l f - i n t e r e s t B e c a u s e a l l o f us a r e c o n s i d e r a b l y c o n c e r n e d a b o u t o u r s e l v e s and a r e sometimes t e m p t e d t o i g n o r e t h e i n t e r e s t s o f o t h e r s , e g o i s m has a c e r t a i n i n t e r e s t and a p p e a l . Y e t most o f us s u s p e c t t h a t t h e r e i s s o m e t h i n g f u n d a m e n t a l l y wrong (and n o t j u s t f r o m a m o r a l p e r s p e c t i v e ) w i t h e g o i s m . The p r o b l e m i s e x p r e s s e d by S i d g w i c k i n h i s Methods of Ethics i n t h i s way: I f i n d t h a t I u n d o u b t e d l y seem t o p e r c e i v e , as c l e a r l y and c e r t a i n l y a s I see any a x i o m i n A r i t h m e t i c o r Geometry, t h a t i t i s ' r i g h t ' and ' r e a s o n a b l e ' f o r me t o t r e a t o t h e r s a s I s h o u l d t h i n k t h a t I m y s e l f o u g h t t o be t r e a t e d u n d e r s i m i l a r c o n d i t i o n s , 45 and to do what I b e l i e v e to be u l t i m a t e l y conducive to u n i v e r s a l Good or Happiness (p. 507). [E]ven i f a man admits the s e l f - e v i d e n c e of the p r i n c i p l e of R a t i o n a l Benevolence, he may s t i l l h o l d t h a t h i s own happiness i s an end which i t i s i r r a t i o n a l f o r him to sac-r i f i c e to any other; and t h a t t h e r e f o r e a harmony between the maxim o f Prudence and the maxim of R a t i o n a l Benevolence must be somehow demonstrated, i f m o r a l i t y i s to be made completely r a t i o n a l . T h i s l a t t e r view, indeed ... appears to me, on the whole, the view of Common Sense: and i t i s t h a t which I myself h o l d (p. 498). (Sidgwick, 1966) Many e f f o r t s have been made to r e c o n c i l e these c o n f l i c t i n g i n t u i t i o n s by attempting to show t h a t the c o n s c i e n t i o u s moral agent w i l l a c t u a l l y best serve h i s own i n t e r e s t s . I f i t c o u l d be shown t h a t m o r a l i t y and s e l f - i n t e r e s t c o i n c i d e or a c t u a l l y amount to the same t h i n g , i n some sense, then Sidgwick's problem would evaporate. P l a t o sought to show t h a t i f we o n l y understand happiness p r o p e r l y , we w i l l be able to see t h a t o n l y the j u s t (the moral) man can a t t a i n t h a t t r u e happiness which depends on a w e l l - o r d e r e d s o u l . Even i f one c o u l d accept P l a t o ' s p s y c h o l o g i c a l views, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to see why p r e c i s e l y those a c t i o n s produced by moral d e l i b e r a t i o n should everywhere and f o r everyone be j u s t the ones which conduce to the p r o d u c t i o n o f , or flow n a t u r a l l y from, the presence of an i n n e r harmony, and i t i s even more probl e m a t i c how a n o t i o n of moral o b l i g a t i o n (which we suppose can o v e r r i d e pru-dence) i s p o s s i b l e , l e t alone necessary, on such a view. Joseph B u t l e r thought t h a t the c r u c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n i s not the one between s e l f - i n t e r e s t and m o r a l i t y , but r a t h e r the one between those pa s s i o n s d i r e c t e d a t one's own w e l f a r e and those 4 6 d i r e c t e d a t the w e l f a r e of o t h e r s , s e v e r a l l y or as mankind. More im p o r t a n t l y , B u t l e r thought t h a t there i s i n each of us a f a c u l t y which a r b i t r a t e s among these p a s s i o n s , bestowing on some on v a r i o u s o c c a s i o n s a c e r t a i n a u t h o r i t y . T h i s f a c u l t y , which he c a l l s "Conscience," seems to be a c o g n i t i v e f a c u l t y as w e l l as being the d i s t i n c t i v e l y moral one. P a ssions have many s o r t s of o b j e c t s , the two most important of which are one's own w e l f a r e and the w e l f a r e of o t h e r s . But both of these s o r t s of passions in fact can be s a t -i s f i e d by the same l i n e of conduct. Conscience, as a c o g n i t i v e guide, r e v e a l s the course of a c t i o n which w i l l l e a d to the s a t i s -f a c t i o n of both kinds of p a s s i o n , whether we r e a l i z e i t or not. In B u t l e r ' s words: I must however remind you t h a t though benevol-ence and s e l f - l o v e are d i f f e r e n t ; though the former tends most d i r e c t l y to p u b l i c good, and the l a t t e r to p r i v a t e : yet they are so p e r f e c t l y c o i n c i d e n t , t h a t the g r e a t e s t s a t i s f a c t i o n s to o u r s e l v e s depend upon our having benevolence i n a due degree; and t h a t s e l f -l o v e i s one c h i e f s e c u r i t y of our r i g h t behaviour towards s o c i e t y . ( B u t l e r , 1967, "Upon Human Nature," I, Fifteen Sermons, pp. 35-36) B u t l e r ' s theory partakes of a l l the d i f f i c u l t i e s of i n t u i t i o n i s t t h e o r i e s and one suspects t h a t B u t l e r ' s f a i t h i n the u l t i m a t e c o n g r u i t y of benevolence and s e l f - i n t e r e s t should have g i v e n him more t r o u b l e than i t a p p a r e n t l y d i d . B u t l e r and P l a t o argue f o r a v i r t u a l i d e n t i t y of s e l f - i n t e r e s t and m o r a l i t y , but they both make an appeal to some n o t i o n of a person's "real" s e l f - i n t e r e s t i n ..order to e x p l a i n the a p p a r e n t l y obvious f a c t t h a t s e l f - i n t e r e s t and m o r a l i t y do, a t l e a s t sometimes, c o n f l i c t . P l a t o ' s i d e a of s e l f - i n t e r e s t r e s t s on h i s concept of t r u e 47 happiness which i n v o l v e s the n o t i o n of the n a t u r a l supremacy of the f a c u l t y of reason; reason serves to keep the p o t e n t i a l l y u n r u l y and d i s r u p t i v e p a s s i o n s i n check, u n c o n t r o l l e d p a s s i o n being the source of both e v i l and happiness. B u t l e r sees our t r u e happi-ness as c o n s i s t i n g i n the f u l f i l l m e n t of our s o c i a l nature as w e l l as our p r i v a t e nature and i t i s the f u n c t i o n of conscience to show the way to t h i s d u a l s a t i s f a c t i o n . I t i s probably f a i r t o say t h a t i n s o f a r as attempts to show the coincidence of m o r a l i t y and s e l f - i n t e r e s t do j u s t i c e to our o r d i n a r y c o n c e p t i o n of m o r a l i t y , they d i s t o r t our o r d i n a r y n o t i o n of s e l f - i n t e r e s t , " m o r a l i z i n g " the l a t t e r i n a way which p r o v i d e s the d e s i r e d c o n c l u s i o n (that i t i s i n our " t r u e s e l f - i n t e r e s t " to be moral w h i l e l e a v i n g us with the o r i g i n a l problem i n a new form. Why f o l l o w our " t r u e " i n s t e a d o f our "apparent" s e l f - i n t e r e s t ? On the other hand, i n s o f a r as such e f f o r t s do j u s t i c e to our o r d i n a r y concept of s e l f - i n t e r e s t , they t y p i c a l l y f a i l to show t h a t t h e r e are no r e a l and troublesome c o n f l i c t s between a person's s e l f - i n t e r e s t and the requirements of m o r a l i t y . The p o i n t of view of s e l f - i n t e r e s t and the moral p o i n t of view are d i s t i n c t . T h i s would be t r u e even i f i t c o u l d be shown (as I t h i n k i t p l a i n l y cannot) t h a t i t makes no d i f f e r e n c e p r a c t -i c a l l y which p o i n t of view one adopts. Even i f i t were the case, t h a t d e l i b e r a t i o n from e i t h e r p o i n t of view would always, i f done c o r r e c t l y , recommend the same a c t i o n s , there would be s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the moral agent and the e g o i s t . The a t t i t u d e s , v a l u e s , and g e n e r a l temperament of these two s o r t s of persons, as w e l l as t h e i r s u s c e p t i b i l i t y to v a r i o u s s o r t s of c o n s i d e r a t i o n s 48 and argument forms, would d i f f e r r a d i c a l l y . K a i N i e l s e n (1963) adduces "weighty • c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of a mundane s o r t i n favour of the i n d i v i d u a l ' s t a k i n g the moral p o i n t of view." The c o n s i d e r a t i o n s he o f f e r s are designed p r i m a r i l y to show t h a t a c t i n g i n c e r t a i n "immoral" ways i s l i k e l y to produce p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t r a i n s and imbalances which tend to produce p e r s o n a l unhappiness. The moral te a c h i n g s of s o c i e t y are lodged deep i n our subconscious and are not e a s i l y ignored o r o v e r r i d e n . A c t i n g "immorally" w i l l a l s o o f t e n make i n t e r p e r s o n a l d e a l i n g s very d i f f i -c u l t . But, however s u c c e s s f u l these arguments are i n g e t t i n g the e g o i s t to act m o r a l l y , i t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t they can go very f a r toward e r a s i n g the d i f f e r e n c e between the e g o i s t and the moral agent. For one t h i n g , the e g o i s t ' s c o n f o r m i t y to the requirements of m o r a l i t y and even h i s adoption o f the moral p o i n t o f view i n d e l i b -e r a t i o n are mere expedients. They r e p r e s e n t no a p p r o p r i a t e recog-n i t i o n of the v a l i d i t y of the cl a i m s of the i n t e r e s t s of ot h e r s on him. Of course, i t might be h e l d t h a t the "mundane c o n s i d e r a t i o n s " N i e l s e n o f f e r s w i l l s u f f i c e to get the e g o i s t i n v o l v e d i n ( i n s i n -cere) moral t h i n k i n g and t h a t from t h e r e something w i l l happen t o e f f e c t a genuine c o n v e r s i o n to moral agency, but t h a t i s another s t o r y . 3 The concept of s e l f - i n t e r e s t I have argued t h a t many attempts t o minimize the c o n f l i c t between m o r a l i t y and s e l f - i n t e r e s t run a f o u l of our o r d i n a r y under-standing of what the l a t t e r i n v o l v e s and something f u r t h e r should be s a i d i n t h i s c o n n e c t i o n . 49 To begin with, i t would not do to analyze the concept of s e l f - i n t e r e s t i n a way which d e s t r o y s the d i s t i n c t i o n between the i d e a of someone's a c t i n g from s e l f - i n t e r e s t , and the more g e n e r a l i d e a of someone's a c t i n g to produce some s t a t e of a f f a i r s which he i s i n t e r e s t e d i n b r i n g i n g about. T h i s would not y i e l d a view prop-e r l y c a l l e d "egoism" a t a l l s i n c e i t would make the most d e d i c a t e d moral agent out to be concerned w i t h h i s own s e l f - i n t e r e s t . That i s , w h i l e t h e r e i s some sense i n which the d e d i c a t e d moral agent i s i n t e r e s t e d i n doing the m o r a l l y r i g h t t h i n g , i t would h a r d l y accord w i t h common usage to say t h a t he i s a c t i n g from s e l f - i n t e r e s t . " S e l f - i n t e r e s t " i s a concept r e l a t e d to i n t e r e s t i n oneself and not to i n t e r e s t of o n e s e l f . Our normal concept of s e l f - i n t e r e s t has content i n s o f a r as there are c e r t a i n s o r t s of t h i n g s which are taken to be i n a person's i n t e r e s t r e g a r d l e s s ( i n l a r g e measure, at l e a s t ) of what he takes an i n t e r e s t i n , although there i s undoubtedly a component of s e l f - i n t e r e s t which depends on what concerns a person a c t u a l l y has. I t i s not d i f f i c u l t to begin a l i s t of t h i n g s which have a p l a c e here: h e a l t h , wealth, happiness, r e s p e c t , i n t e l l i g e n c e , o p p o r t u n i t y , s e c u r i t y and so on are prime c a n d i d a t e s . I am not i n t e r e s t e d i n completing or r e f i n i n g such a l i s t - the concept i s not l i k e l y determinate enough f o r t h i s anyway - but i t i s c l e a r t h a t i t c o u l d o n l y be termed miraculous i f i t should t u r n out t h a t the maximal s a t i s f a c t i o n of a l l items on the l i s t f o r everyone should t u r n out to r e q u i r e j u s t those a c t i o n s which d e l i b e r a t i o n from the moral p o i n t of view would r e q u i r e , and t h a t i s enough to show t h a t m o r a l i t y i s not s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d l y a matter of s e l f -50 i n t e r e s t . I n s o f a r as we are c o n s i d e r i n g egoism as a form of amoral-ism i n v i r t u e of the f a c t t h a t the e g o i s t has l i t t l e o r no concern f o r the w e l f a r e o f o t h e r s , i t i s not r e a l l y v e r y important e x a c t l y how we analyze s e l f - i n t e r e s t . Any ve r y p l a u s i b l e account of our o r d i n a r y use of the concept w i l l s u s t a i n the necessary d i s t i n c t i o n between the e g o i s t and the moral agent. 4 E t h i c a l egoism - an o b j e c t i v i s t amoralism The most commonly d i s c u s s e d f o r m u l a t i o n o f egoism i s the p o s i t i o n which has come to be known as e t h i c a l egoism and which i s u s u a l l y s t a t e d i n the form, "Everyone ought to pursue h i s own s e l f -i n t e r e s t . 1 ' The view c e r t a i n l y has the appearance of an e t h i c a l theory, but s i n c e anyone who holds i t w i l l not concern h i m s e l f to any extent w i t h the w e l f a r e of o t h e r s i t cannot be c o n s i d e r e d a moral theory. ' „ R e c a l l t h a t i n the l a s t chapter I d e f i n e d an e t h i c a l theory as a g e n e r a l o b j e c t i v i s t p r a c t i c a l theory about what s o r t s of reasons people have, what s o r t s o f t h i n g s are v a l u a b l e , what s o r t s of s t a t e s of a f f a i r s ought to o b t a i n , and so on. The theory, t o count as e t h i c a l , must be one which can be p u b l i c l y defended. Again, to use R.M. Hare's terms, an e t h i c a l "ought" i s p r e s c r i p t i v e as w e l l as u n i v e r s a l i z a b l e . I t i s a theory about how people ought to a c t and the "ought" i n i t s f o r m u l a t i o n must " c a r r y the w i l l " so t h a t some-one who holds the theory wants, i n some sense, people to do as they ought t o do. For most " f a n a t i c s " t h i s i s not a s e r i o u s problem -the N a z i , f o r example, can wholeheartedly hope t h a t everyone w i l l c o n t r i b u t e i n whatever way they can to e s t a b l i s h i n g the supremacy 51 of the T h i r d Reich and he can p u b l i c l y advocate h i s views. The e t h i c a l e g o i s t , however, has problems here. Indeed there i s some q u e s t i o n whether e t h i c a l egoism i s a t e n a b l e theory. A good d e a l of a t t e n t i o n has been p a i d t h i s q u e s t i o n i n r e c e n t years and i t i s worth pausing t o c o n s i d e r the i s s u e . Many arguments have been advanced t o the e f f e c t t h a t e t h i c a l egoism i s e i t h e r not a theory of egoism a t a l l or e l s e i t i s not an e t h i c a l theory or e l s e t h a t i t i s not a c o n s i s t e n t p r a c t i c a l theory. The main arguments can be summarized as f o l l o w s : >1. I f the e t h i c a l e g o i s t ' s d o c t r i n e i s an e t h i c a l one (a quasi-moral one) he must be abl e to promulgate i t p u b l i c l y ; t h a t i s , he must be abl e to advocate t h a t o t h e r s accept i t , pursuing t h e i r own i n t e r e s t s even when t h e i r i n t e r e s t s c o n f l i c t w i t h h i s own. But, s i n c e i t i s almost c e r t a i n t h a t c o n f l i c t w i l l occur, t h i s would be to a c t a g a i n s t h i s i n t e r e s t s . T h e r e f o r e , the e t h i c a l e g o i s t cannot both accept the d o c t r i n e h i m s e l f and advocate the u n i v e r s a l acceptance of i t . Thus, anyone who adopts the d o c t r i n e as an e t h i c a l theory i s i n v o l v e d i n a p r a c t i c a l i n c o n s i s t e n c y . 2. I f e t h i c a l egoism i s an e t h i c a l theory then the "ought" i n i t s f o r m u l a t i o n must " c a r r y the w i l l " i n the sense t h a t the e t h i c a l e g o i s t must w i l l the s t a t e of a f f a i r s i n which everyone pursues h i s own i n t e r e s t s . But then h i s own i n t e r e s t s are not h i s main concern and he i s not an e g o i s t a t a l l . (See Campbell, 1972, "A Short R e f u t a t i o n o f E t h i c a l Egoism.") 52 3. I t would be i r r a t i o n a l or odd i n some s e r i o u s way to w i l l t h a t someone pursue some end and a t the same time remain i n d i f f e r e n t t o , or even opposed t o , h i s a c h i e v -i n g t h a t end. But the e t h i c a l e g o i s t i s i n j u s t t h i s s i t u a t i o n when h i s i n t e r e s t s c l a s h w i t h o t h e r s ' . (See S i l v e r s t e i n , 1968, " U n i v e r s a l i z a b i l i t y and Egoism"; Medlin, 1957, "Ultimate P r i n c i p l e s and E t h i c a l Egoism"; Narveson, 1967, Morality and u t i l i t y , pp. 268— 271.) 4. I f someone ought to do something, then no one ought to attempt to prevent him from doing i t . The e t h i c a l e g o i s t a c t s and counsels o t h e r s t o a c t i n ways which are i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h i s a n a l y t i c t r u t h t o which he i s committed by h i s use of "ought" i n i t s e t h i c a l sense i n h i s d o c t r i n e . Thus the e t h i c a l e g o i s t i s not a b l e t o accept the p r i n c i p l e he t h i n k s he a c c e p t s . (See Baumer, 1967, " I n d e f e n s i b l e Impersonal Egoism"; B a i e r , 1973, " E t h i c a l Egoism and I n t e r p e r s o n a l Com-p a t a b i l i t y . " ) 5. The e t h i c a l "ought" commits one to the view t h a t what s a t i s f i e s the "ought" i s o b j e c t i v e l y good and ought to be promoted. The e t h i c a l e g o i s t i s committed to the view t h a t t h e r e are many incompatible s t a t e s of a f f a i r s which ought to be promoted, one f o r each person roughly. (See Moore, 1903, P r i n c i p i a Ethica, pp. 96-105; Quinn, 1974, "Egoism as an E t h i c a l System.") Other arguments can be found, f o r example, Glasgow (1968, "The 53 C o n t r a d i c t i o n i n E t h i c a l Egoism"); Singer (1959, "On D u t i e s to O n e s e l f " ) . Some attempts have been made to save e t h i c a l egoism from these problems. Ayn Rand (1964) and members of her O b j e c t i v i s t f o l l o w i n g (eg. Branden, 1970) defend a form of e t h i c a l egoism which avoids the arguments. But they succeed o n l y to the extent t h a t they are prepared to defend a v e r y s p e c i a l and not at a l l o r d i n a r y c o n c e p t i o n of a person's s e l f - i n t e r e s t , a c c o r d i n g to which i t i s i n the p e r s o n 1 s i n t e r e s t s to be a c e r t a i n s o r t of i d e a l r a t i o n a l agent which among other t h i n g s i n v o l v e s a commitment to honesty, i n t e g r i t y , and so on. John Hospers has suggested t h a t the o b j e c t i o n s above can be avoided by supposing the e g o i s t t o be sa y i n g something l i k e t h i s : "I hope each of you [everyone] t r i e s to come out on top," or "Each of you should t r y t o come out the v i c t o r . " There i s s u r e l y no i n c o n s i s t e n c y here. The hope he i s e x p r e s s i n g here i s the k i n d of hope t h a t the i n t e r e s t e d but i m p a r t i a l spect-a t o r expresses a t a game. Perhaps the e g o i s t l i k e s to l i v e l i f e i n a dangerous c u t t h r o a t manner, u n w i l l i n g t o help others i n need but not d e s i r i n g o t h e r s to help him e i t h e r . He wants l i f e to be s p i c y and dangerous; t o him the whole world i s one v a s t e g o i s t i c game, and l i v i n g l i f e a c c o r d -i n g l y i s the way t o make i t i n t e r e s t i n g and e x c i t i n g . (Hospers, 1961, "Ba i e r and Medlin on E t h i c a l Egoism," p. 16) Under such a f o r m u l a t i o n , the d o c t r i n e r e t a i n s some of i t s ego-i s t i c f l a v o u r , although i t i s c l e a r t h a t the t h i n g of g r e a t e s t i n t e r e s t to the e g o i s t i s no longer h i s own w e l f a r e s i m p l i c i t e r but h i s attempting to achieve h i s s e l f - i n t e r e s t i n a world i n which o t h e r s are attempting t o do the same, or perhaps i t i s simply 54 to l i v e i n a world i n which everyone attempts to do as w e l l f o r hi m s e l f as p o s s i b l e and where the a c t u a l achievement of h i s g o a l i n t h i s game has no more i n t r i n s i c i n t e r e s t f o r him than the pro-t e c t i o n of h i s ki n g i n a game of chess. T h i s i s a p o s s i b l e theory, I suppose, but i t i s a p e c u l i a r one s i n c e , i f the "ought" i s the normal one of e t h i c a l t h e o r i e s , the e g o i s t must be t a k i n g an odd d i s i n t e r e s t e d view of h i s i n t e r e s t or e l s e the s a t i s f a c t i o n of h i s i n t e r e s t s has value f o r him o n l y under a c o n d i t i o n of compet-i t i o n and not i n i t s e l f . T h i s makes the theory look l e s s e g o i s t i c than i t might a t f i r s t , but i t must be admitted t h a t an e t h i c a l theory of t h i s s o r t c o u l d be h e l d . I t i s not a moral theory because there i s no p r o v i s i o n f o r a settlement of c o n f l i c t s of i n t e r e s t s and t h a t i s one mark of a moral theory. The theory does not hold t h a t the s t r o n g e s t should win; the a c t u a l outcome of any s t r u g g l e i s e t h i c a l l y i r r e l e v a n t although each e g o i s t i c p a r t i c i p a n t can be expected to p r e f e r winning t o l o s i n g , as i n any game. Attempts t o pre s e r v e the cogency of e t h i c a l egoism as a t r u l y e t h i c a l theory, i . e . as a theory which can be a r t i c u l a t e d and advocated as an a l t e r n a t i v e to m o r a l i t y ( i n the sense of s e r v i n g as a u n i v e r s a l theory about how people ought t o a c t without necess-a r i l y s a t i s f y i n g a l l of the c o n s t r a i n t s on a moral t h e o r y ) , seem u l t i m a t e l y v e r y desperate. They a l s o , through t h e i r e f f o r t s to pres e r v e the " e t h i c a l n e s s " o f the theory, i n e v i t a b l y f a i l t o capture the egoism of the o r i g i n a l p o s i t i o n . Of course i t can h a r d l y be co n s i d e r e d a f a t a l o b j e c t i o n to a theory t h a t i t would be m i s l e a d i n g to c a l l i t a k i n d of egoism. The onl y reason I 55 have drawn a t t e n t i o n to the f a c t t h a t some attempts to save e t h i -c a l egoism t u r n out to i n v o l v e the defense of some n o n - e g o i s t i c theory i s t h a t such a l t e r n a t i v e t h e o r i e s u s u a l l y must forgo most of the i n t u i t i v e p l a u s i b i l i t y t h a t egoism gains by i t s c l a i m i n g the support of the g e n e r a l l y r e c o g n i z e d r a t i o n a l i t y of a c t i n g i n one's own i n t e r e s t . 5 P e r s o n a l egoism - another o b j e c t i v i s t amoralism I have been d i s c u s s i n g egoism as an e t h i c a l theory, t h a t i s , as a theory someone might h o l d about how people ought to a c t or about what s o r t s of reasons people have,, where the f o r c e of " e t h i c a l " has been to r e t a i n the requirements t h a t the theory be one which i s o b j e c t i v i s t and can be a d v e r t i s e d and promulgated as a u n i v e r s a l l y adoptable p r a c t i c a l theory. T h i s much an e t h i c a l theory shares w i t h a moral theory and thus I have used the term "quasi-moral." There i s a tendency to analyze a statement to the e f f e c t t h a t someone ought t o do something as roughly e q u i v a l e n t to a statement to the e f f e c t t h a t the person i n q u e s t i o n has ( c o n c l u s i v e ) reasons to do t h a t t h i n g . T h i s tendency i s harmless i n some cont e x t s but i t i s to be r e s i s t e d i n o t h e r s , I t h i n k . I have used the f o r m u l a t i o n of e t h i c a l egoism i n terms of what people ought to do and I have a s s o c i a t e d the term " e t h i c a l " with a s p e c i f i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the f o r c e of the "ought" i n t h a t judgment. In p a r t i c u l a r , I have supposed t h a t to make such an "ought" judgment i s t o commit o n e s e l f , i n some sense, to wanting or w i l l i n g t h a t people a c t i n accordance w i t h i t . There i s something p e c u l i a r , i f 56 not a c t u a l l y s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y , i n s a y i n g , f o r example, "Jones ought to do t h a t , but I hope he doesn't." Expressed ought judg-ments imply t h a t the speaker i s prepared to support, encourage, and promote a c t i o n i n accordance w i t h those judgments. Statements about what reasons someone has, on the o t h e r hand, do not c a r r y the same s o r t of i m p l i c a t i o n s . "Jones has every reason to do i t but I hope he doesn't," i s not an odd t h i n g t o say. Thus, egoism s t a t e d i n terms of reasons, ( s t i l l , remember, as an o b j e c t i v i s t p o s i t i o n ) does not have q u i t e the same f l a v o u r . The view t h a t the o n l y of the very b e s t reasons anyone can have are reasons o f s e l f - i n t e r e s t , does not seem to r e q u i r e any commit-ment of the w i l l where the a c t i o n s of o t h e r s are concerned. T h i s view I w i l l c a l l p e r s o n a l egoism because someone can h o l d i t and yet be under no requirement to advocate i t or even to admit he holds i t . The e t h i c a l e g o i s t and the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t agree about the nature of p r a c t i c a l reasons but the e t h i c a l e g o i s t supposes (mistakenly I have argued) t h a t h i s p o s i t i o n can be c o n s i s t e n t l y promulgated. The e t h i c a l e g o i s t ' s c o n c e p t i o n o f , and a t t i t u d e toward, h i s p r a c t i c a l t heory i s one which cannot be maintained on r e f l e c t i o n and so he must a l t e r h i s c o n c e p t i o n of s e l f - i n t e r e s t ( i n e f f e c t exchanging i t f o r something e l s e ) or f a l l i n t o p e r s o n a l egoism. I t would be m i s l e a d i n g to say t h a t p e r s o n a l e g o i s t s h o l d the same p r a c t i c a l theory as e t h i c a l e g o i s t s and d i f f e r o n l y i n t h e i r s t r a t e g y . The e t h i c a l e g o i s t t h i n k s people ought to a c t i n a c e r t a i n way and t h a t commits him to more than the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t i s committed t o . Henry Jack (1969, p. 479) suggests t h a t egoism might be 57 understood as an "attempt to s t a t e the t r u t h about e t h i c s . " Ego-ism, on h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , i s a p h i l o s o p h i c a l theory about the reasons people r e a l l y have and he admits t h a t i t c o u l d be promul-gated c o n s i s t e n t l y o n l y by someone whose g r e a t e s t happiness l i e s i n the promulgation of p h i l o s o p h i c a l t r u t h . I f egoism does s t a t e the t r u t h about e t h i c s t h e r e i s no e v i d e n t reason why anyone must f e e l bound t o a d v e r t i s e t h a t t r u t h or defend i t p u b l i c l y . The p e r s o n a l e g o i s t need not r e c o g n i z e any o b l i g a t i o n to t e l l the t r u t h and, i n the p u r s u i t of h i s s e l f i s h ends, he may w e l l f i n d i t expedient to w i t h h o l d what he takes to be the t r u t h about what reasons people have and even to l i e about t h i s . He a c t s so as to serve, as best he can, h i s own i n t e r e s t s and when he b e l i e v e s t h a t o t h e r s have reasons of a s i m i l a r k i n d to a c t c o n t r a r y to h i s i n t e r e s t s , he g e n e r a l l y makes no e f f o r t t o t e l l them so. Because he r e c o g n i z e s no requirement to t e l l the t r u t h he sees no reason i n p r i n c i p l e , to t e l l the t r u t h about e t h i c s . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t p e r s o n a l egoism i s not the o n l y p r a c t i c a l theory which opens the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t c o n c e a l i n g the t r u t h about e t h i c s may be r e q u i r e d . P l a t o can be read as endorsing t h i s s o r t of d e c e p t i o n , a l b e i t toward a d i f f e r e n t end, and any t e l e o l o g i c a l theory which makes the achievement of some end s t a t e the a p p r o p r i a t e g o a l o f a c t i o n must reckon with the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t achievement of t h a t end may r e q u i r e t h a t people g e n e r a l l y not be t o l d t h a t they ought to aim a t i t . The p e r s o n a l e g o i s t , of course, i s not open to the s o r t s of argument we encountered above a g a i n s t e t h i c a l egoism s i n c e they r e s t on the f a c t t h a t the e t h i c a l e g o i s t i s r e q u i r e d , by h i s use 58 of the e t h i c a l "ought," t o promulgate h i s view. But does t h i s mean t h a t no a t t a c k i s p o s s i b l e a g a i n s t the p o s i t i o n o f the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t ? I t h i n k t h e r e are a t l e a s t two ways i n which he can be co n f r o n t e d . F i r s t , s i n c e the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t t h i n k s t h a t h i s view of e t h i c s i s the t r u e one, we c o u l d , i f we knew more about h i s reasons f o r t h i n k i n g t h a t people o n l y have reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t , open debate on t h a t f r o n t . I t i s not i n c o n c e i v a b l e t h a t he c o u l d be brought t o admit t h a t he was mistaken i n t h i s r e agrd. Secondly (although i f the p r o j e c t i s to get the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t to change h i s behaviour, i t i s not c l e a r how t h i s would h e l p ) , one c o u l d argue t h a t he i s mistaken i n t h i n k i n g t h a t t h e r e i s any t r u t h about e t h i c s i n the way he supposes. That i s , t h e r e may be a way of showing the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t t h a t he i s mistaken i n t h i n k i n g t h a t there i s any o b j e c t i v e v a l i d i t y to the reasons he (or someone el s e ) has f o r a c t i n g . T h i s l i n e o f argument seems to me to under-mine m o r a l i t y as w e l l as p e r s o n a l egoism a t l e a s t i f my c h a r a c t e r -i z a t i o n of m o r a l i t y as i t i s o r d i n a r i l y conceived was c o r r e c t , but i t does open a l i n e of i n v e s t i g a t i o n . Once the e g o i s t g i v e s up h i s o b j e c t i v i s m i t may be p o s s i b l e to get him to change h i s p r a c t i c a l b a s i s so as to i n c l u d e a concern f o r o t h e r s . As long as someone t h i n k s t h a t h i s r e a l reasons are a l l ones of s e l f -i n t e r e s t he may not be very s u s c e p t i b l e to c e r t a i n modes of t h i n k i n g . Whether we count i t as a form of argument or not, rubbing someone's nose i n the f a c t s of human e x i s t e n c e can be e f f e c t i v e . S i n c e I am here i n t e r e s t e d i n the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t who accepts the n o t i o n of e t h i c a l t r u t h , I s h a l l s h e l v e the second of the above 59 approaches t e m p o r a r i l y and concentrate on the f i r s t . What s o r t s of arguments then are a v a i l a b l e a g a i n s t o b j e c t i v e p e r s o n a l egoism? The most promising and most popular approach i s one a c c o r d i n g to which t h e r e are a c t u a l l y good reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t f o r being moral; t h a t i s , i t l o c a t e s the personal e g o i s t ' s mistake i n h i s f a i l i n g to f u l l y a p p r e c i a t e the nature of the reasons he a l r e a d y r e c o g n i z e s . (In the next two s e c t i o n s I w i l l be c o n s i d e r i n g some arguments which have been r e c e n t l y advanced a g a i n s t egoism. While most of these d i s c u s s i o n s c o u l d be a p p l i e d t o e t h i c a l egoism, I take i t t h a t enough has been s a i d i n the pr e v i o u s s e c t i o n to d i s -c r e d i t t h a t view and consequently I s h a l l assume t h a t t h e ' p e r s o n a l e g o i s t i s the t a r g e t of what f o l l o w s . ) 6 Kurt B a i e r Since Socrates t r i e d to s a t i s f y Thrasymachus t h a t j u s t i c e p r o f i t s the j u s t man, p h i l o s o p h e r s have t r i e d time and again to show t h a t somehow m o r a l i t y can be grounded i n s e l f - i n t e r e s t . One of the bes t known r e c e n t attempts i s Kurt B a l e r ' s Moral P o i n t of view (1958) i n which i t i s argued t h a t there are "the very best reasons" f o r t a k i n g up the moral p o i n t of view. B a i e r s t a t e s h i s case i n terms of types of reasons and t r i e s to show t h a t moral reasons are b e t t e r than, or s u p e r i o r t o , reasons of every other type. He begins w i t h the c l a i m : "The very r a i s o n d'etre of a m o r a l i t y i s t o y i e l d reasons which o v e r r u l e the reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t i n those cases when everyone's f o l l o w i n g s e l f -i n t e r e s t would be harmful to everyone" (p. 309). Si n c e everyone would be b e t t e r o f f i n a world where everyone f o l l o w s moral r u l e s 60 than i n a world where everyone f o l l o w s s e l f - i n t e r e s t , B a i e r argues, moral r u l e s are s u p e r i o r to r u l e s of s e l f - i n t e r e s t . But once we see t h a t moral r u l e s are s u p e r i o r to r u l e s of s e l f - i n t e r e s t , we have been gi v e n a l l the reason we need or c o u l d want f o r f o l l o w i n g moral r u l e s . ( A c t u a l l y B a i e r t a l k s as though he has e s t a b l i s h e d the s u p e r i o r i t y of moral r u l e s to a l l other s o r t s of r u l e s . ) The argument r e s t s c r u c i a l l y on the n o t i o n of one k i n d of reason's being s u p e r i o r t o another. A s i d e from the q u e s t i o n o f why we should suppose t h a t a l l reasons of a giv e n k i n d must be s u p e r i o r to a l l reasons o f another k i n d or v i c e v e r s a , and a s i d e from the q u e s t i o n o f why the reasons which are s u p e r i o r f o r one person should be thought to be s u p e r i o r a l s o f o r everyone e l s e , there i s a problem of why we should f e e l i n c l i n e d to accept B a i e r ' s c r i t -e r i o n f o r s u p e r i o r i t y as the r e l e v a n t one. I t would seem t h a t i f i t makes sense to speak of choosing what s o r t of reasons are to be t r e a t e d as s u p e r i o r , then the r e l e v a n t c r i t e r i a should come from a c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the p o i n t of d e l i b e r a t i o n ( i . e . of us i n g reasons at a l l ) . B a i e r h i m s e l f , t r i e s to do j u s t t h i s : Our v e r y purpose i n " p l a y i n g the re a s o n i n g game" i s to maximize s a t i s f a c t i o n s and min-imize f r u s t r a t i o n s . D e l i b e r a t e l y to f r u s t -r a t e o u r s e l v e s and to minimize s a t i s f a c t i o n would c e r t a i n l y be to go counter to the very purpose f o r which we d e l i b e r a t e and weigh the pros and cons. These c r i t e r i a a re, t h e r e f o r e , n e c e s s a r i l y l i n k e d with the very purpose of the a c t i v i t y of reasoning (pp. 301-2). I f we grant B a i e r ' s c l a i m t h a t we "pla y the reasoning game" i n o r d e r to maximize our s a t i s f a c t i o n s and minimize our f r u s t r a t i o n s ^ what we need i s some l i n k between t h i s and the concept of the s u p e r i o r i t y o f one s o r t of reasons over another. His attempt/to 61 provide t h i s l i n k has already been noted: reasons of type A are sup e r i o r to reasons of type B j u s t i n case everyone would be b e t t e r o f f (experience more s a t i s f a c t i o n s and fewer f r u s t r a t i o n s ) i n a world wherein everyone gave A-reasons p r i o r i t y over B-reasons. The t r o u b l e here i s t h a t while i t may be up to an i n d i v i d u a l to t r e a t moral reasons as su p e r i o r (to d e l i b e r a t e from the moral p o i n t of view), i t i s not up to an i n d i v i d u a l to have everyone do so. I f i n choosing what s o r t of reason t o count as s u p e r i o r , one were faced w i t h the choice between a world i n which everyone f o l l o w s moral r u l e s and a world i n which everyone f o l l o w s some other s o r t of r u l e s , then one wou-ld have a reason ( r e l a t e d to one's concern to maximize one's s a t i s f a c t i o n s ) to opt f o r m o r a l i t y . However, t h i s i s c l e a r l y not a choice which does confront anyone. Ba i e r ' s argument could be made good i f he could e s t a b l i s h the (obviously f a l s e ) premise t h a t i t i s not p o s s i b l e f o r anyone (the e g o i s t i n p a r t i c u l a r ) to maximize h i s own s a t i s f a c t i o n s w i t h -out f o l l o w i n g reasons of the " s u p e r i o r " k i n d . But the e g o i s t may w e l l be i n a p o s i t i o n such t h a t he i s best o f f f o l l o w i n g reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t while others a l s o pursue h i s i n t e r e s t s , second best o f f i f he f o l l o w s reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t w h i l e others f o l l o w moral r u l e s , t h i r d best o f f i f he f o l l o w s s e l f - i n t e r e s t and others do whatever they w i l l i n f a c t do (assuming, as i t i s reasonable to assume, th a t h i s choice w i l l not g r e a t l y a f f e c t others' c h o i c e s ) , f o u r t h best o f f i f he and everyone e l s e f o l l o w s e l f - i n t e r e s t , and worst o f f i f he f o l l o w s m o r a l i t y and everyone e l s e f o l l o w s s e l f -i n t e r e s t . I f the po i n t of d e l i b e r a t i o n i s to maximize s a t i s f a c t i o n s then the e g o i s t i s best o f f f o l l o w i n g reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t 62 i t seems. The o n l y way I can see of making B a i e r ' s argument cogent i s t o suppose t h a t i t i s r e a l l y premised on the i d e a t h a t the p o i n t of d e l i b e r a t i o n i s to generate r a t i o n a l a c t i o n and t h a t to a c t r a t i o n a l l y i s to f o l l o w the best reasons and t h a t the b e s t reasons are the ones i d e n t i f i e d by h i s c r i t e r i o n of s u p e r i o r i t y . I t h i n k t h i s probably i s the way B a i e r intends the argument to run, g i v e n h i s t a l k of s u p e r i o r s o r t s of reasons. S t i l l i t i s p a r a d o x i c a l to attempt to ground the s u p e r i o r i t y of moral reasons i n an appeal to the s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d p o i n t of d e l i b e r a t i o n i n the way he does. Indeed, Baier notes the c i r c u l a r i t y of t r y i n g t o g i v e moral reasons f o r adopting the moral p o i n t of view and the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of g i v i n g o r d i n a r y reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t f o r t a k i n g up a p o i n t of view designed to o v e r r i d e reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t . But h i s attempt to g i v e the sense i n which moral reasons are supposed to be s u p e r i o r t o , yet somehow based on, s e l f - i n t e r e s t i s not very s a t i s f a c t o r y . I f the reasons f o r t a k i n g up the moral p o i n t of view are n e i t h e r moral nor s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d ones, one wants to ask, w i t h B a i e r , "And what other reasons are t h e r e ? " He answers: The answer i s t h a t we are now l o o k i n g a t the world from the p o i n t of view of anyone. We are not examining p a r t i c u l a r courses of a c t i o n before t h i s or t h a t person; we are examining two a l t e r n a t i v e worlds, one i n which moral reasons are always t r e a t e d by everyone as s u p e r i o r to reasons of s e l f - i n t e r e s t and one i n which the r e v e r s e i s the p r a c t i c e . And we can see t h a t the f i r s t world i s the b e t t e r world, because we can see t h a t the second world would be the s o r t which Hobbes d e s c r i b e s as the s t a t e of nature (p. 310). 63 The problem w i t h t h i s s o r t of appeal i s t h a t i t i s i n e f f e c t i v e when addressed to the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t , the s o r t of person i t i s designed to convince. The p o i n t of view of "anyone" i s , e s s e n t i a l l y , the moral p o i n t of view and i t does no good to t r y to convince someone to take up the moral p o i n t of view by p o i n t i n g out t h a t from the moral p o i n t of view t h i s or t h a t w i l l appear to be the case. The p e r s o n a l e g o i s t sees t h i n g s from a p a r t i c u l a r p o i n t of view - h i s own - and u n l e s s t h e r e i s something demonstrably wrong wi t h h i s having t h a t p o i n t of view, B a i e r ' s approach must appear q u i t e i r r e l e v a n t . David Gauthier (1967), i n h i s e x c e l l e n t a r t i c l e " M o r a l i t y and Advantage," argues t h a t there i s an important d i s t i n c t i o n between the q u e s t i o n "Why should I be moral?" and the q u e s t i o n "Why should we be moral?" The l a t t e r q u e s t i o n i s one which can be addressed by the s o r t of c o n s i d e r a t i o n s advanced by B a i e r , a t l e a s t i n p a r t . I f i t were a complete c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of m o r a l i t y to note t h a t i t i s a system of p r i n c i p l e s or r u l e s such t h a t everyone i s or can expect to be b e t t e r o f f i f t h a t system r a t h e r than any other system were f o l l o w e d u n i v e r s a l l y , then i t i s c e r t a i n l y p l a u s i b l e to argue t h a t we, as some s o r t of d e l i b e r a t i v e community, have reason to adopt m o r a l i t y . G a u t hier suggests t h a t such a c h a r a c t e r -i z a t i o n i s not a complete account of what we normally understand m o r a l i t y to i n v o l v e and I t h i n k he i s r i g h t i n t h i s . But beyond t h a t the problem remains, as he p o i n t s out, t h a t the e g o i s t does not d e l i b e r a t e as though he were choosing f o r such a community. What i s needed i t seems, i s an argument to show t h a t there i s something non-morally amiss w i t h the e g o i s t ' s p o s i t i o n . The argu-64 ments i n the next s e c t i o n c o u l d be d i r e c t e d a t both the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t and the s u b j e c t i v i s t e g o i s t c o n s i d e r e d i n s e c t i o n 8, but, s i n c e I t h i n k they do no s i g n i f i c a n t damage to e i t h e r p o s i t i o n , I w i l l d e a l w i t h them as i f they were d i r e c t e d j u s t a g a i n s t the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t . 7 David Gauthier I t i s important to note a t the o u t s e t t h a t David Gauthier, i n the a r t i c l e s c o n s i d e r e d i n t h i s s e c t i o n , d i r e c t s h i s a t t e n t i o n to a c l a s s of agents which i s c o n s i d e r a b l y broader than the one I have been d e a l i n g w i t h . In p a r t i c u l a r he i s concerned w i t h persons whose v a l u e s are not c o n f i n e d to those " s e l f i s h " ends I a l l o w the e g o i s t . In "The I m p o s s i b i l i t y of R a t i o n a l Egoism," (1974) he says: "An e g o i s t i s a person who on every o c c a s i o n and i n every r e s p e c t a c t s to b r i n g about as much as p o s s i b l e of what he v a l u e s " , (p. 442). S i m i l a r l y , i n "Reason and Maximization" (1975) , he c o n s i d e r s a person who always a c t s so t h a t "the expected outcome of h i s a c t i o n a f f o r d s him a u t i l i t y a t l e a s t as g r e a t as t h a t of the expected outcome of any a c t i o n p o s s i b l e f o r him i n the s i t u a t i o n " (p. 418). The v a l u e s or u t i l i t i e s of the agent Gauthier c o n s i d e r s may concern v i r t u a l l y anything, i n c l u d i n g the w e l f a r e of o t h e r s . I t h i n k i t i s i n a p p r o p r i a t e to c a l l such a person an e g o i s t , but t h a t i s not important f o r the assessment of G a u t h i e r ' s arguments s i n c e my e g o i s t i s a s p e c i a l case of h i s ego-i s t . I f h i s arguments succeed i n the more g e n e r a l case they succeed i n the more p a r t i c u l a r case I have con c e n t r a t e d on. I propose to show t h a t the arguments f a i l i n the g e n e r a l case and t h e r e i s 65 no reason t o suppose s i m i l a r arguments would succeed a g a i n s t the narrower v e r s i o n of egoism d e s c r i b e d above, (i) Incompleteness F i r s t , c o n s i d e r G a u t h i e r ' s attempt i n "The I m p o s s i b i l i t y o f R a t i o n a l Egoism" to show t h a t there i s a s e r i o u s i n t e r n a l problem i n the theory of egoism. Gauthier s t r e s s e s the d i f f e r e n c e between the p o l i c y of t r y i n g to do as w e l l f o r o n e s e l f as p o s s i b l e understood as an " o v e r - a l l concern to maximize one's u t i l i t i e s " and t h a t p o l i c y understood as the attempt to a c t on each and every o c c a s i o n i n a way which w i l l maximize one's u t i l i t i e s . The former p o l i c y i s c o n s i s t e n t , f o r example, with a person's making promises and keeping them without r a i s i n g the q u e s t i o n of whether or not the promised a c t i o n i s to h i s b e n e f i t when the o c c a s i o n f o r per-forming i t a r i s e s . I t i s , then, o n l y to the p o l i c y of always l o o k i n g t o u t i l i t i e s on a l l o c c a s i o n s t h a t Gauthier addresses him-s e l f . The argument goes as f o l l o w s . There are s i t u a t i o n s i n which egoism does not u n i q u e l y i d e n t i f y a s i n g l e a c t i o n or s t r a t -egy as the one which w i l l maximize the e g o i s t ' s expected u t i l i t i e s . T h e r e f o r e , egoism i s not a complete p r a c t i c a l theory. T h e r e f o r e , " p r a c t i c a l r a t i o n a l i t y cannot be i d e n t i f i e d w i t h u n r e s t r i c t e d maximization" (pp. 455-6). I am not as i n t e r e s t e d i n the d e t a i l s of the s i t u a t i o n Gauthier c o n s t r u c t s t o show h i s incompleteness r e s u l t as i n the u n d e r l y i n g i d e a t h a t a p r a c t i c a l theory which i s incomplete i s unacceptable. Put another way, my concern i s wit h the c l a i m t h a t there must be a unique r a t i o n a l a c t i o n i n any s i t u a t i o n . I t h i n k i t i s c l e a r enough t h a t Gauthier i s committed; to'. t h i s c l a i m . He 66 says: Before one can measure egoism a g a i n s t an e x t e r n a l standard, one must measure i t a g a i n s t an i n t e r n a l standard. One must decide what c o n d i t i o n s a p r i n c i p l e of a c t i o n must meet, to be an e g o i s t i c p r i n c i p l e , and then ask whether any p r i n c i p l e of . a c t i o n can a c t -u a l l y meet them. I f no p r i n c i p l e can meet these c o n d i t i o n s , then egoism l a c k s i n t e r n a l r a t i o n a l i t y . . . . I f egoism c o l l a p s e s i n t o i n t e r n a l incoherence, r a t i o n a l egoism i s im p o s s i b l e . I s h a l l demonstrate t h a t no complete p r i n c i p l e o f a c t i o n meets the c o n d i t i o n s of egoism. By a complete p r i n c i p l e of a c t i o n I mean a f u n c t i o n whose domain i n -cl u d e s every p o s s i b l e s i t u a t i o n i n which a person might f i n d h i m s e l f and whose v a l u e s i n c l u d e every p o s s i b l e a c t i o n he might perform. A complete p r i n c i p l e of a c t i o n determines an a c t i o n f o r every p o s s i b l e s i t u a t i o n . I s h a l l show then t h a t the c o n d i t i o n s of egoism cannot be s a t i s f i e d by any f u n c t i o n d e f i n e d over a l l p o s s i b l e s i t u a t i o n s i n which one might a c t and s p e c i f y i n g an a c t i o n f o r each of those s i t u a t i o n s (pp. 4 4 0-1). I f I understand t h i s c o r r e c t l y , i t means t h a t any p r i n c i p l e of a c t i o n which f a i l s to s p e c i f y an a c t i o n f o r every p o s s i b l e s i t u -a t i o n i n which an agent f i n d s h i m s e l f , i s incomplete and t h e r e f o r e " l a c k s i n t e r n a l r a t i o n a l i t y " and " c o l l a p s e s i n t o i n t e r n a l i n c o -herence." F u r t h e r evidence t h a t t h i s i s Ga u t h i e r ' s p o s i t i o n i s pr o v i d e d i n h i s c o n c l u d i n g s e c t i o n where he says: Furthermore, i f i t i s not p o s s i b l e always t o a c t egoistically, then p r a c t i c a l r a t i o n a l i t y cannot be i d e n t i f i e d with u n r e s t r i c t e d maximization. And one may suppose t h a t , i f e g o i s t i c behaviour i s ever r a t i o n a l , i t must be shown to be r a t i o n a l by d e r i v a t i o n from some more g e n e r a l c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of p r a c t i c a l r a t i o n a l i t y , which can be a p p l i e d to a l l s i t u a t i o n s (pp. 455-6). Now, how p l a u s i b l e i s t h i s completeness requirement? I should l i k e to argue t h a t i t i s not r e a l l y v ery p l a u s i b l e a t a l l . 67 In the f i r s t p l a c e , i t seems t h a t there are a number of kinds of s i t u a t i o n i n which no p r i n c i p l e o f a c t i o n can get a g r i p . Consider, f o r example, a s i t u a t i o n i n which nothing of consequence i s a t stake, or i n which th e r e i s n o t h i n g to choose among the a l t e r n a t i v e s -a l l of them being e q u a l l y d e s i r a b l e or u n d e s i r a b l e . To r e q u i r e a p r i n c i p l e of a c t i o n to p i c k out one of the p o s s i b l e a c t i o n s i n these circumstances i s very p e c u l i a r . Or suppose someone f i n d s h i m s e l f i n a s i t u a t i o n i n which he has v i r t u a l l y no r e l i a b l e i n f o r m a t i o n on what the e f f e c t s of h i s a c t i o n s w i l l be. Here again the f a i l u r e of an otherwise p l a u s i b l e p r a c t i c a l theory to recommend any p a r t i c u l a r a c t i o n seems more a s t r e n g t h of the theory than a weakness. In s h o r t , i t appears t h a t any a c c e p t a b l e p r i n -c i p l e of a c t i o n ought to remain s i l e n t i n a t l e a s t some s i t u a t i o n s . Secondly, i t should be noted t h a t there i s a d i f f e r e n c e between some a c t i o n ' s being r a t i o n a l i n a g i v e n s i t u a t i o n and i t s being r a t i o n a l l y r e q u i r e d . While i t may be t r u e t h a t i n any s i t u a t i o n a t l e a s t one a c t i o n must be r a t i o n a l , i t may not be t r u e t h a t o n l y one (or even a t l e a s t one) a c t i o n must be r a t i o n a l l y r e q u i r e d . In some cases anything p o s s i b l e may be r a t i o n a l (not i r r a t i o n a l ) or any of a number of a c t i o n s may be so. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , Gauthier says: My argument i s then p e r f e c t l y compatible w i t h the view t h a t i t i s r a t i o n a l to a c t e g o i s t i c a l l y whenever i t i s p o s s i b l e to a c t e g o i s t i c a l l y . There are no d i r e c t p r a c t i c a l consequences to be drawn from the demon-s t r a t i o n t h a t i t i s not always p o s s i b l e to a c t e g o i s t i c a l l y (p. 4 5 5 ) . He nonetheless t h i n k s t h a t the incompleteness of egoism robs i t of much of i t s appeal. I f egoism needs to be m o d i f i e d , i t l o s e s 68 i t s s i m p l i c i t y and t h a t s i m p l i c i t y , t h i n k s Gauthier, i s one source of egoism's appeal. But' why suppose t h a t the e g o i s t would admit t h a t h i s p o s i t i o n needs to be modified? The e g o i s t I have been c o n s i d e r i n g i s not committed to the view t h a t every s i t u a t i o n must be such as to a l l o w him to c a r r y out h i s e g o i s t i c c a l c u l a t i o n s . He pursues h i s i n t e r e s t s whenever he can and when he cannot he must simply hope f o r the b e s t . There i s nothing i n G a u t h i e r ' s argument to embarrass him, although there i s a good d e a l to i n t e r e s t him. ( i i ) Is egoism s e l f - d e f e a t i n g ? Consider a P r i s o n e r ' s Dilemma s i t u a t i o n as f o l l o w s : Person does A-^  Person does A2 Person P 2 does B 1 (4 , 4) (8, -8) Person P 2 does B 2 (-8, 8) (0, 0) The f i r s t number i n the b r a c k e t s r e p r e s e n t s the u t i l i t y to P^ of the outcome and the second number r e p r e s e n t s the u t i l i t y t o P 0 of the outcome. I f each preson reasons i n a p u r e l y e g o i s t i c manner each, being f u l l y acquainted w i t h the s i t u a t i o n , w i l l perform t h a t a c t i o n which l e a v e s him as w e l l o f f as p o s s i b l e , g i v e n the a c t i o n of the o t h e r . Thus P-^  w i l l reason t h a t i f P 2 does B^ he i s b e s t o f f doing A 2 and i f P 2 does B 2 he i s s t i l l b est o f f doing A 2. That i s , r e g a r d l e s s of what P 2 does P^ i s •• best o f f doing A 2. But s i n c e P 2 can reason s i m i l a r l y to the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t he i s b e s t o f f doing B 2 the outcome achieved w i l l have u t i l i t i e s ( 0 , 0 ) . C l e a r l y , however, both would be b e t t e r o f f i f P-^  d i d A^ and P 2 d i d s i n c e t h a t outcome has u t i l i t i e s (4, 4). But how c o u l d e g o i s t s achieve t h i s r e s u l t ? The answer i s t h a t as long as t h e i r a c t i o n s are independent, n e i t h e r ' s c h o i c e of a c t i o n i n f l u e n c i n g the o t h e r , they cannot achieve i t . I f each knows the other to be an e g o i s t , each can a n t i c i p a t e the o t h e r ' s r e a s o n i n g and (0, 0) i s the o n l y p o s s i b l e outcome. Suppose they c o n s i d e r agreeing to a c t together to achieve ( 4 , 4 ) . As long as n e i t h e r places any u t i l i t y on keeping h i s agreements, no agreement i s p o s s i b l e s i n c e each knows t h a t no v e r b a l exchange (agreement making) w i l l make any d i f f e r e n c e . The r e d e s c r i p t i o n of a c t i o n as "I>2,s breaking an agreement" w i l l make no d i f f e r e n c e to the u t i l i t y m atrix. The c o n c l u s i o n i s t h a t there are u t i l i t i e s which are a v a i l a b l e to people who can t r u s t each other to keep agreements which are not a v a i l a b l e to e g o i s t s (again assuming the e g o i s t s p l a c e no u t i l i t y on the keeping of agreements). T h i s r e s u l t might seem to p r o v i d e an argument to the e f f e c t t h a t there i s a sense i n which the e g o i s t ' s p o l i c y of always t r y i n g to do as w e l l f o r h i m s e l f on every o c c a s i o n as p o s s i b l e i s a s e l f - d e f e a t i n g one. By adopting t h i s p o l i c y he cuts o f f the p o s s i b i l i t y of g a i n i n g the advantages of agreements i n s i t u a t i o n s such as the one j u s t c o n s i d e r e d . But some care i s necessary i n i n t e r p r e t i n g the r e s u l t . F i r s t , we have assumed t h a t the e g o i s t does not p l a c e any u t i l i t y on the keeping of h i s agreements and i t i s not c l e a r t h a t t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y should be r u l e d out on G a u t h i e r ' s d e f i n i t i o n of the e g o i s t . (This p o s s i b i l i t y can be r u l e d out on my d e f i n i t i o n of egoism and hence I w i l l not c o n s i d e r here how i t might help or hinder the argument.) Secondly, we have assumed t h a t each of the agents i n the P r i s o n e r ' s Dilemma s i t u a t i o n knows the other to be an e g o i s t . 70 Our c o n c l u s i o n was, r e c a l l , t h a t e g o i s t s , known to each other as such, cannot reap the advantages of agreements because n e i t h e r can take the o t h e r ' s "agreement" s e r i o u s l y . Suppose, then, t h a t we imagine the e g o i s t ' s p o l i c y o p e r a t i n g i n a d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n ; namely, one i n which the other person i n the P r i s o n e r ' s Dilemma s i t u a t i o n i s known to the e g o i s t not to be an e g o i s t . In f a c t , suppose the e g o i s t knows the other w i l l keep h i s agree-ment as long as he b e l i e v e s the other p a r t i e s to an agreement w i l l keep f a i t h . Then, f i n a l l y , suppose the non-egoist b e l i e v e s the e g o i s t to be l i k e h i m s e l f . Now the e g o i s t can t r i c k the non-e g o i s t i n t o agreeing t h a t each w i l l aim a t the outcome (4, 4). The e g o i s t (say P^) w i l l then perform a c t i o n A 2 r e a s o n i n g as befo r e w h i l e the non-egoist (P->) w i l l perform a c t i o n B-^  s i n c e he expects P-^  to keep the agreement. The r e s u l t i n g outcome has u t i l i t i e s (8, -8). C l e a r l y then under some c o n d i t i o n s there are u t i l i t i e s which may be open t o the e g o i s t which are not open to persons who can be t r u s t e d to keep agreements! There i s no c o n t r a d i c t i o n here with the e a r l i e r c o n c l u s i o n t h a t there are u t i l i t i e s which may be open to persons who can be t r u s t e d to keep agreements which are not open to e g o i s t s . What u t i l i t i e s are open depends i n p a r t on the c h a r a c t e r s and b e l i e f s o f the other persons i n a s i t u a t i o n . G a u t h i er concludes, c o r r e c t l y , i n " M o r a l i t y and Advantage": [N]o man can ever g a i n i f he i s moral. Not only does he not g a i n by being moral,-i f o t h e r s are prudent [ e g o i s t i c ] , but he does not g a i n by being moral i f others are moral. For although he now r e c e i v e s the advantage of o t h e r s ' adherence to moral p r i n c i p l e s , he reaps the disadvantage of h i s own adherence. As long as h i s own 71 adherence to m o r a l i t y i s independent of what oth e r s do ..., he must do b e t t e r to be prudent (p. 469). As long as o t h e r s do not r e a c t to the e g o i s t ' s egoism (as they w i l l not i f , f o r example, he d e l i b e r a t e l y d e c e i v e s them or i f they simply assume he w i l l a c t morally) the e g o i s t does not n e c e s s a r i l y a c t i n any s e l f - d e f e a t i n g way by attempting to max-imize h i s expected u t i l i t i e s on each o c c a s i o n where t h i s i s p o s s i b l e . I n t e r e s t i n g l y , Gauthier o f f e r s an argument designed to upset t h i s c o n c l u s i o n i n a l a t e r a r t i c l e , "Reason and Maximization." There he argues: The s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f r a t i o n a l i t y w i t h the aim of i n d i v i d u a l u t i l i t y - m a x i m i z a t i o n [egoism], although not i n c o n s i s t e n t , i s n e v e r t h e l e s s inadequate, because i t denies the p o s s i b i l i t y of agree-ments which r e q u i r e one or more of the p a r t i e s to r e f r a i n from the maximization of i n d i v -i d u a l u t i l i t y , y e t secure to each of the p a r t i e s g r e a t e r u t i l i t y than i s p o s s i b l e without such agreement (p. 427). Of course someone who i d e n t i f i e s r a t i o n a l i t y w i t h the aim of the e g o i s t does not n e c e s s a r i l y deny the p o s s i b i l i t y of such agree-ments but o n l y the r a t i o n a l i t y of e n t e r i n g i n t o them. Thus the sheer p o s s i b i l i t y o f persons' e n t e r i n g those agreements does not show th e r e i s an inadequacy i n egoism and Gauthier's argument does not suggest he t h i n k s otherwise. What he attempts to show i s t h a t someone who i d e n t i f i e s r a t i o n a l i t y with the aims of ( s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d , e g o i s t i c ) u t i l i t y maximization a c t s i n a s e l f -d e f e a t i n g way s i n c e t h e r e i s another c o n c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y which opens the p o s s i b i l i t y of g r e a t e r u t i l i t i e s to those who employ i t . The a l l e g e d l y s u p e r i o r c o n c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y i s 72 one a c c o r d i n g to which i t i s r a t i o n a l to enter i n t o agreements of the k i n d we found i m p o s s i b l e f o r two e g o i s t s i n the P r i s o n e r ' s Dilemma. The c r u c i a l c l a i m then i s the f o l l o w i n g . [ S ] i n c e the c o n s t r a i n e d maximizer [the adopter of the s u p e r i o r concept of r a t i o n a l i t y ] has i n some circumstances some p r o b a b i l i t y of being a b l e to enter i n t o , and c a r r y out, an agreement, whereas the s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d maximizer has no such p r o b a b i l i t y , the expected u t i l i t y o f the c o n s t r a i n e d maximizer i s g r e a t e r . T h e r e f o r e s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d maxim-i z a t i o n [egoism] i s not s e l f - s u p p o r t i n g ; i t i s not r a t i o n a l f o r economic man to choose to be a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d maximizer (p. 4 30). I have not i n d i c a t e d e x a c t l y what i s i n v o l v e d i n the s u p e r i o r c o n c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y which endorses c o n s t r a i n e d (agreement-bound) maximization because I t h i n k the f a u l t i n Gau t h i e r ' s -argument i s e v i d e n t without going i n t o the d e t a i l s of i t . Indeed i t i s the same f a u l t we n o t i c e d e a r l i e r i n the attempt t o use the e g o i s t s ' "problem" i n . t h e P r i s o n e r ' s Dilemma.as an argument f o r the s e l f - d e f e a t i n g nature o f egoism. I t i s tr u e t h a t i n some s i t u a t i o n s the e g o i s t (now under-stood as the person who i d e n t i f i e s r a t i o n a l i t y w i t h the aim of s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d u t i l i t y maximization) cannot reap the b e n e f i t s of e n t e r i n g i n t o agreements. But i t i s e q u a l l y true t h a t i n some s i t u a t i o n s the e g o i s t can reap the b e n e f i t s of appearing to ent e r agreements and d e f a u l t i n g , and those b e n e f i t s are not open to the person who adopts and a c t s on the con c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y which r e q u i r e s him to keep those agreements. Which of these s o r t s of s i t u a t i o n s are l i k e l y to occur more f r e q u e n t l y and which c o n c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y i s more l i k e l y to y i e l d the h i g h e s t u t i l i t i e s i n the long run turns out the be an e m p i r i c a l 7 3 matter. I t w i l l depend on the c o n c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y o t h e r s adopt, the d e v o t i o n to r a t i o n a l i t y o t h ers d i s p l a y , the a b i l i t y o f the e g o i s t to d e c e i v e o t h e r s , and so on. G a u t h i e r ' s argument would have c o n s i d e r a b l y more appeal i f the q u e s t i o n of the adequacy of a c o n c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y turned, as he seems to t h i n k i t does, on some necessary r e l a t i o n s h i p among expected u t i l i t i e s r a t h e r than on such c o n t i n g e n c i e s as those i n d i c a t e d above. I t should be noted t h a t the e g o i s t i s not committed to advocating or a d v e r t i s i n g h i s c o n c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y . To r e q u i r e t h i s would be l i k e r e q u i r i n g t h a t he announce h i s i n t e n t i o n to break the agreement he wishes to seem to enter and t h a t , of course, would t r i v i a l i z e the matter by making independent a c t i o n i m p o s s i b l e i n the i n t e r e s t i n g cases. My c o n c l u s i o n , then, i s t h a t there i s nothing n e c e s s a r i l y ( e i t h e r l o g i c a l l y or e m p i r i c a l l y ) s e l f - d e f e a t i n g about the egoist:'s p o s i t i o n as Gauthier understands i t . Consequently t h e r e i s no reason to t h i n k there i s anything n e c e s s a r i l y s e l f - d e f e a t i n g i n the e g o i s t ' s s t r a t e g y as I understand egoism. 8 S u b j e c t i v i s t egoism So f a r I have c o n s i d e r e d o n l y o b j e c t i v i s t forms of egoism. The e t h i c a l e g o i s t and the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t both accept the i d e a t h a t t h e r e are o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d standards f o r the assessment of a c t i o n s , t h a t some s o r t s o f t h i n g s r e a l l y p r o v i d e anyone w i t h reasons f o r a c t i o n r e g a r d l e s s of t h e i r a c t u a l d e s i r e s , wants, and so on. There i s however, a k i n d of person we can c a l l the sub-74 j e c t i v i s t e g o i s t who does not adopt t h i s o b j e c t i v i s t p o s ture. V i s - a - v i s h i s s t a t u s as an amoral agent he i s i n the company of other a r c h e t y p i c a l a m o r a l i s t s who share h i s s u b j e c t i v i s m . I f the s u b j e c t i v i s t e g o i s t holds h i s p o s i t i o n r e f l e c t i v e l y he may be expected t o have some theory about the nature of p r a c t i c a l reason. I f he does not he may be d e s c r i b e d simply as someone who j u s t does concern h i m s e l f w i t h h i s own i n t e r e s t s without r e c o g n i z i n g any need to suppose t h a t everyone e l s e does, or ought t o , or has good reason t o , concern themselves l i k e w i s e . We may suppose t h a t he c o n s i d e r s h i m s e l f r a t i o n a l but he may a l l o w t h a t o t h e r o r i e n t a t i o n s are r a t i o n a l as w e l l . That i s , u n l i k e the o b j e c t i v i s t e g o i s t , he does not t h i n k t h a t anyone who i s not an e g o i s t i s n e c e s s a r i l y making any s o r t of mistake. L i k e the o b j e c t i v e p e r s o n a l e g o i s t , the s u b j e c t i v i s t e g o i s t i s open to the s o r t of mundane c o n s i d e r a t i o n s advanced by N i e l s e n but because he i s not disposed to demand t h a t someone prove t h a t he i s a c t u a l l y mistaken about what h i s reasons r e a l l y are, these c o n s i d e r a t i o n s may have a g r e a t e r impact and they may serve to e f f e c t a broadening of h i s i n t e r e s t s . They may not. In any case i t remains debatable whether simply expanding the concerns of a person to i n c l u d e d i r e c t i n t e r e s t i n the we l f a r e o f o t h e r s i s s u f f i c i e n t to tran s f o r m him i n t o a moral agent. T h i s i s a q u e s t i o n I w i l l take up i n a l a t e r chapter but f o r now l e t me j u s t say t h a t I t h i n k something more i s r e q u i r e d and t h a t the something more has to do wit h a person's acceptance of these e x t r a - r e g a r d i n g concerns as i n some way r e q u i r e d , v a l i d , and so on. Simply coming t o care about o t h e r s , i f t h i s i s f e l t as a matter 75 of p e r s o n a l t a s t e , f o r example, does not t r a n s f o r m the s u b j e c t -i v i s t e g o i s t i n t o a moral agent. In many ways the s u b j e c t i v i s t v e r s i o n of egoism i s more i n t e r e s t i n g i n the p r e s e n t context than the o b j e c t i v i s t one. U n f o r t u n a t e l y I have not s a i d enough about s u b j e c t i v i s m i n g e n e r a l to develop t h i s p o s i t i o n very u s e f u l l y or completely here. The n o t i o n of s u b j e c t i v i s t egoism should become much c l e a r e r w i t h the d i s c u s s i o n i n the l a s t s e c t i o n of the next chapter and I beg leave to postpone f u r t h e r d i s c u s s i o n u n t i l then. 9 The r a t i o n a l i t y of egoism Per s o n a l and s u b j e c t i v i s t egoism, i n the l i g h t of the con-s i d e r a t i o n s advanced so f a r a t l e a s t , seem t o be p o s s i b l e and r a t i o n a l p o l i c i e s a t l e a s t to the extent t h a t they a v o i d p r a c t i c a l and t h e o r e t i c a l i n c o n s i s t e n c y . However, i t might be argued t h a t they are not r a t i o n a l i f a broader view i s taken of what r a t i o n -a l i t y i n v o l v e s . In p a r t i c u l a r , the concepts of d e f e n s i b i l i t y and reasonableness c o u l d be invoked. As we have seen, the o p t i m a l s t r a t e g y f o r the e g o i s t i n v o l v e s h i s keeping h i s egoism s e c r e t to a l a r g e e x t e n t , a t l e a s t i n s o f a r as he needs to r e l y on o t h e r s to i n t e r a c t w i t h him i n c e r t a i n ways. T h i s means t h a t he cannot, without a c t i n g a g a i n s t h i m s e l f , p u b l i c l y defend h i s p o l i c y or the a c t i o n s which i t d i c t a t e s . To do so would i n v o l v e r e v e a l i n g h i m s e l f f o r what he i s and t h a t would be i r r a t i o n a l g i v e n h i s concern to do as w e l l as p o s s i b l e f o r h i m s e l f . Thus, i n one sense p e r s o n a l egoism i s i n d e f e n s i b l e but i n another i t i s not. The e g o i s t can be 7 6 defended aga i n s t charges of s t r i c t i r r a t i o n a l i t y , but he cannot very w e l l defend h i m s e l f . I t i s d i f f i c u l t to argue w i t h someone who cannot admit h i s own p o s i t i o n to be as i t i s because one cannot f i n d out who he i s . The s e l f - c o n f e s s e d e g o i s t i s already doing a l l t hat can be done against h i s p o s i t i o n and the s e c r e t i v e e g o i s t may not be v u l n e r a b l e on any grounds he w i l l c o n s i d e r . I f egoism i s i n d e f e n s i b l e i n a sense, i t i s a l s o unreasonable in a sense, i f to be reasonable i s to be w i l l i n g to enter i n t o a s i n c e r e debate on the pros and cons of one's proposed a c t i o n s . This i n v o l v e s a w i l l i n g n e s s to a l l o w t h a t there are p u b l i c l y accepted and acceptable standards f o r what c o n s t i t u t e s good reasons. The o n l y reasons the e g o i s t accepts are ones of s e l f - i n t e r e s t and whether or not others would accept those reasons from him as j u s t i f y i n g h i s a c t i o n s or even as making them r a t i o n a l need be of no i n t e r e s t t o him. S t i l l , i n another sense the e g o i s t i s reasonable. He a c t s f o r reasons and as long as others are prepared to g i v e the r i g h t s o r t of advice he can respond w i t h i n t e l l i g e n t debate. U s u a l l y , however, when the charge of unreason-ableness i s made i t i s d i r e c t e d against someone who i t i s f e l t does not take s e r i o u s l y enough the e f f e c t s of h i s a c t i o n s on others - the departure he makes from the p u b l i c l y accepted standards f o r reasons i s i n h i s r e f u s a l to take the i n t e r e s t s of others s u f f i c i e n t l y i n t o account. Another s t r i k i n g p e c u l i a r i t y of egoism under the f o r m u l a t i o n I have been us i n g , according to which the e g o i s t i s concerned only w i t h t h i n g s l i k e h i s own wealth, happiness, s e c u r i t y , e t c . i s the e x c l u s i o n of any i n t e r e s t s which do not bear e i t h e r 77 d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y on what can be c a l l e d h i s w e l f a r e . Almost no one has concerns so narrowly confined. As has been noted o f t e n enough, i t i s s c a r c e l y p o s s i b l e to f i n d a s i n g l e person who takes no d i r e c t i n t e r e s t i n the welfar e of another, who would make no s a c r i f i c e of personal good f o r some cause of which he i s not the b e n e f i c i a r y . In general, the f a c t t h a t one f e e l s s a t i s f a c t i o n i n performing a c t i o n s which b e n e f i t others does not reduce such a c t i o n s t o p u r s u i t s of s e l f - i n t e r e s t s i n c e i t i s the f a c t t h a t one already cares about others which must be appealed to i n order to e x p l a i n the f e e l i n g of s a t i s f a c t i o n . I w i l l not deny the p o s s i b i l i t y of someone's being a t r u e e g o i s t , but i t seems a remote p o s s i b i l i t y and, one could reasonably p r e d i c t , an unstable one. 78 I I I THE GROUNDS OF MORAL AGENCY 1 The p o s s i b i l i t y of a m o r a l i t y - n o n - r a t i o n a l c a p a c i t i e s In the l a s t chapter I examined egoism as one k i n d of amoral-ism. I argued t h a t , while e t h i c a l egoism i s open to s e r i o u s a t t a c k , e s p e c i a l l y as regards i t s p r a c t i c a l c o n s i s t e n c y , there are two v e r s i o n s of egoism - ( o b j e c t i v i s t ) personal egoism and s u b j e c t i v i s t egoism - which can s u r v i v e the arguments u s u a l l y d i r e c t e d against e g o i s t i c t h e o r i e s . There are, however, other arguments which purport to show that moral agency i s , i n some sense, a requirement on a l l mature, r a t i o n a l , f u l l y human persons. In t h i s chapter I w i l l be d e a l i n g w i t h a number of these argu-ments. Some of them are d i r e c t e d against o b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t s and are designed to show tha t one i s bound (somehow) to take account of the w e l f a r e of other persons i n one's d e l i b e r a t i o n s about a c t i o n . Others are d i r e c t e d against s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t s and these are c a l c u l a t e d to demonstrate t h a t anyone who f a i l s to recognize o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d standards of a c t i o n or o b j e c t i v e l y v a l u a b l e s t a t e s of a f f a i r s i s making some important s o r t of mistake. Consider the q u e s t i o n , "Why be moral?" In the i n t r o d u c t i o n I suggested t h a t there are three senses of "moral" depending on 79 whether "moral" i s being c o n t r a s t e d w i t h "non-moral," "amoral," or "immoral." Now o b v i o u s l y the s o r t of answers which might be g i v e n to the q u e s t i o n , "Why be moral?" w i l l depend on how the word "moral" i s understood. I f the q u e s t i o n i s "Why be not non-moral?" i t makes l i t t l e sense because the non-moral agent (taking "agent" broadly) w i l l l a c k the c a p a c i t y to c o n s i d e r the q u e s t i o n i n t e l l i g e n t l y . Animals, the s e v e r e l y r e t a r d e d , and the thoroughly insane, f o r example, c o u l d not face the q u e s t i o n of whether to become other than they a r e . I f the q u e s t i o n i s understood to be "Why not be an immoral person?" then, or so I have argued, i t can a r i s e o n l y f o r some-one who a l r e a d y i s a moral (not amoral) agent - i . e . f o r someone who, a t some l e v e l , a l r e a d y r e c o g n i z e s t h a t there are moral requirements. The moral agent might ask the q u e s t i o n , "Why not be 'immoral 1? 1' where he wants to know what reasons can be g i v e n f o r a c t i n g i n accordance w i t h what are taken, g e n e r a l l y or i n h i s s o c i a l group, to be the requirements of m o r a l i t y . And he can request to be motivated to do what he a l r e a d y admits to be r e q u i r e d m o r a l l y , but he cannot i n any other way r a i s e the q u e s t i o n s e r -i o u s l y , u n l e s s , of course, he i s a c t u a l l y c o n s i d e r i n g abandoning m o r a l i t y and t a k i n g up an a m o r a l i s t outlook. But i s a m o r a l i t y , a f t e r a l l , a r e a l p o s s i b i l i t y ? There are two main d i r e c t i o n s from which the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of a m o r a l i t y can be argued. F i r s t , i t might be thought t h a t being f u l l y human (where I mean by " f u l l y human" j u s t not non-moral) i n v o l v e s , among other t h i n g s , having a c e r t a i n s o r t of psycholog-i c a l s e n s i t i v i t y which n e c e s s a r i l y m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f i n the use of 80 moral language and i n a preparedness t o t h i n k and speak " i n the moral mode." Moral sense t h e o r i e s , f o r example, suggest t h i s approach. Secondly, i t has been argued t h a t being r a t i o n a l , t r a d i t i o n a l l y a d e f i n i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of human beings, i n v o l v e s a person i n m o r a l i t y , at l e a s t i n s o f a r as he f o l l o w s h i s r a t i o n a l nature. The Kantian approach comes r e a d i l y to mind. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to d e a l w i t h these two l i n e s o f thought without con-s i d e r i n g the d e t a i l s o f the p a r t i c u l a r conceptions of moral s e n s i t i v i t y and of r a t i o n a l i t y h e l d by a c t u a l t h e o r i s t s ; however a b r i e f look a t some well-known attempts t o d e a l w i t h the quest-i o n may be of some use. David Hume b e l i e v e d t h a t the a b i l i t y t o make, and the w i l l i n g -ness to use, moral d i s t i n c t i o n s i s u n i v e r s a l among human beings i n v i r t u e of t h e i r n a t u r a l emotional make-up. He says: I f any man from a c o l d i n s e n s i b i l i t y , or narrow s e l f i s h n e s s of temper, i s u n a f f e c t e d w i t h the images o f human unhappiness o r misery, he must be e q u a l l y i n d i f f e r e n t to the images o f v i c e and v i r t u e : As on the other hand, i t i s always found, t h a t a warm concern f o r the i n t e r e s t s o f our s p e c i e s i s attended w i t h a d e l i c a t e f e e l i n g o f a l l moral d i s t i n c t i o n s ; a strong resentment o f i n j u r y done t o men; a l i v e l y a p p r o bation of t h e i r w e l f a r e . In t h i s p a r t i c u l a r , though g r e a t s u p e r i o r i t y i s obser-v a b l e o f one man above another; y e t none are so e n t i r e l y i n d i f f e r e n t to the i n t e r e s t of t h e i r f e l low-creatures, as to perceive no d i s t i n c t i o n s of moral good and e v i l , i n conse-quence of the d i f f e r e n t tendencies of a c t i o n s and p r i n c i p l e s . (Hume, 1966, Enquiry Concerning the P r i n c i p l e s of Morals, p. 60; emphasis mine). I f one i s prepared to grant Hume's c l a i m t h a t " p e r c e i v i n g moral d i s t i n c t i o n s " i s a matter of p r e f e r r i n g ( f e e l i n g approbation of) human happiness and p r o s p e r i t y over unhappiness and s u f f e r i n g , 81 then the f a c t , i f i t be such, t h a t everyone does, other t h i n g s being equal, p r e f e r happiness t o unhappiness, whether i n them-s e l v e s or i n o t h e r s , w i l l indeed make probl e m a t i c the c l a i m t h a t a m o r a l i t y i s a p o s s i b i l i t y f o r f u l l y human persons. On Hume's view, t o be amoral would be to be completely i n d i f f e r e n t to both human happiness and human s u f f e r i n g i n g e n e r a l . Since there are few people, i f any, i n t h i s category (save perhaps some who are arguably d e f i c i e n t i n some o f the c a p a c i t i e s out-l i n e d e a r l i e r as being i n v o l v e d i n someone's being f u l l y human), the category "amoral agent" must be s p a r s e l y populated indeed. But, as I t r i e d t o show i n Chapter I, there i s much more to m o r a l i t y than Hume and e m o t i v i s t s i n g e n e r a l can e a s i l y account f o r . At the v e r y l e a s t , the " f e e l i n g o f approbation" must be a ver y s p e c i a l s o r t o f t h i n g and must be understood along the l i n e s of Roger Scruton's a n a l y s i s o f a moral a t t i t u d e (see Chapter IV). Thus i t i s not p o s s i b l e to show t h a t the a m o r a l i s t w i l l n e c e s s a r i l y be unconcerned w i t h human w e l f a r e e i t h e r i n ge n e r a l or i n the case of p a r t i c u l a r persons, although i t may be t h a t the converse i s t r u e . That i s , i t may be t h a t anyone who i s unconcerned w i t h anyone e l s e ' s w e l f a r e i s amoral i f he i s not a c t u a l l y non-moral. B u t l e r , l i k e Hume, thought t h a t some concern f o r the w e l l -b e i n g of ot h e r s i s v i r t u a l l y u n i v e r s a l among human beings and c o n s t i t u t e s an e s s e n t i a l aspect of human nature. Yet B u t l e r r e a l i z e d t h a t something more i s r e q u i r e d than a f e e l i n g of approv a l i n order t o account f o r the p e c u l i a r a u t h o r i t y of moral judgments, even i f those judgments are based on r e a c t i o n s shared 82 by a l l human beings. There i s : ... a s u p e r i o r p r i n c i p l e of r e f l e c t i o n or conscience i n every man, which d i s t i n g u i s h e s between the i n t e r n a l p r i n c i p l e s of h i s h e a r t , as w e l l as h i s e x t e r n a l a c t i o n s : which passes judgment upon h i m s e l f and them; pronounces d e t e r m i n a t e l y some a c t i o n s to be i n themselves j u s t , r i g h t , good; o t h e r s to be i n themselves e v i l , wrong, u n j u s t .... ( B u t l e r , 1967, "Upon Human Nature," I I , Fifteen Sermons, p. 53) Conscience i s a f a c u l t y o f f u l l y human persons and i t i s absent i n animals and perhaps a l s o i n persons not f u l l y human through immaturity or some d e f e c t i n t h e i r nature. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , B u t l e r ' s view of the nature of conscience i s l e s s c l e a r than we might wish. He conceives of i t as o p e r a t i n g to i s s u e moral judgment s ^ h i c h stand i n a r e l a t i o n of s u p e r i o r i t y to the promptings of the p a r t i c u l a r p a s s i o n s such as hunger, f e a r , l o v e o f another, and even t o the two p r i n c i p l e s o f benevolence and s e l f - l o v e . In a way, conscience i n t r o d u c e s a new normative element i n t o the d e l i b e r a t i v e p r o c e s s , but s i n c e B u t l e r t h i n k s t h a t a l l p a s s i o n s p r o p e r l y understood promote both the good of s e l f and of o t h e r s , i t i s not obvious what the r o l e of conscience amounts to other than to perform the a p p a r e n t l y non-normative f u n c t i o n of i n d i c a t i n g wherein l i e s the way to achieve these a l l e g e d l y c o i n c i d e n t ends. He says a t one p o i n t : The sum i s , men have v a r i o u s a p p e t i t e s , p a s s i o n s , and p a r t i c u l a r a f f e c t i o n s , q u i t e d i s t i n c t both from s e l f - l o v e and from bene-v o l e n c e : a l l of these have a tendency to promote both p u b l i c and p r i v a t e good, and may be c o n s i d e r e d as r e s p e c t i n g o t h e r s and our-s e l v e s e q u a l l y and i n common .... (B u t l e r , 1967, "Upon Human Nature," I Fifteen Sermons, p. 38) I f we are s k e p t i c a l about B u t l e r ' s c l a i m t h a t a l l our i n c l i n a t i o n s 83 do tend to promote both p u b l i c " a n d p r i v a t e good (and we are c e r t a i n l y e n t i t l e d to m a i n t a i n some r e s e r v a t i o n s on t h i s p o i n t ) , then the p e c u l i a r a u t h o r i t y o f con s c i e n c e must d e r i v e from some-t h i n g other than i t s f u n c t i o n of i n d i c a t i n g which a c t i o n s serve t h i s d u a l purpose. In any case, B u t l e r has not shown t h a t h i s model o f the d e l i b e r a t i v e process i s even a c c e p t a b l e , l e t alone the o n l y one p o s s i b l e f o r human beings. In Chapter IV, I w i l l have more to say about d e l i b e r a t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y as concerns the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a v o i d i n g the moral c a t e g o r i e s i n which con-s c i e n c e supposedly i s s u e s i t s d e c i s i o n s . There are, of course, many other t h e o r i e s a c c o r d i n g to which being f u l l y human i n v o l v e s having c e r t a i n p s y c h o l o g i c a l s e n s i t -i v i t i e s whose f u n c t i o n i t i s to r e g i s t e r d i s t i n c t i o n s which are e s s e n t i a l l y moral i n t h e i r import. A l l such t h e o r i e s , I t h i n k , f a i l to s o l v e the problem o f showing t h a t the " f a c t s " which these senses or f a c u l t i e s r e g i s t e r are n e c e s s a r i l y loaded m o r a l l y i n the r e q u i r e d way. Concepts l i k e " o b l i g a t i o n , " "duty," " r i g h t , " and "ought" are not e a s i l y teased out o f emotions, sentiments, and the l i k e . I n t u i t i o n i s t t h e o r i e s l i k e those of H.A. P r i c h a r d (1912) and G.E. Moore (1903), which take a more d i r e c t route t o moral d i s t i n c t i o n s than moral sense t h e o r i e s , are l i t t l e b e t t e r o f f . T h e i r d i f f i c u l t i e s stem from the f a c t t h a t i t i s d i f f i c u l t to make such d i r e c t appeals very satisfying i n t e l l e c t u a l l y and the f a c t t h a t so many a p p a r e n t l y otherwise capable people are unable to l o c a t e i n t h e i r experiences anything l i k e i n t u i t i v e i n s i g h t i n t o moral t r u t h . 84 2 The p o s s i b i l i t y of amorality - conceptual structures . and r a t i o n a l i t y If i t i s not i n v i r t u e of some inevitable morally s i g n i f i c a n t psychological s e n s i t i v i t y that i t can be shown that amorality i s i n some sense impossible, perhaps the thesis can be argued from an analysis of the nature of r a t i o n a l i t y , or some conceptual consequence of someone's having the capacities which place him i n the realm of the f u l l y human. Using the term " r a t i o n a l " i n an extended sense to cover both these areas, we can ask i f every r a t i o n a l agent i s necessarily a moral agent. Is there something conceptually amiss with someone who, while p e r f e c t l y capable of moral thinking, nonetheless does not apply moral concepts? I suggested e a r l i e r that the o b j e c t i v i s t amoralist (the Nazi fanatic, the r e l i g i o u s zealot, et a l . ) could speak more or less comfortably about what people ought to do, about t h e i r obligations and duties and about what sorts of actions are r i g h t and wrong. (The egoist has problems here because he cannot f r e e l y promulgate his views unless he holds the mistaken b e l i e f that he w i l l a t t a i n his own ends better i n a world of egoists.) These concepts bespeak an acceptance of an o b j e c t i v i s t posture, and, while they are not properly moral concepts i n the mouth of an amoralist, he (and we) can understand them well enough. As I hope w i l l become clearer as I proceed, the s u b j e c t i v i s t amoralist cannot use such moral or quasi-moral concepts very e a s i l y or sincerely. He may have those concepts i n the sense of being able to understand, i n -large measure, what others intend 85 to convey w i t h them, but he has no s i n c e r e use f o r them to express anything he wants or needs to say. In g e n e r a l , i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r someone to have a concept or set o f concepts, i n the sense of being capable of u s i n g those concepts i n t h i n k i n g about h i s experiences, a c t i o n s , e t c . , without h i s a c t u a l l y u s i n g the concepts. An a t h e i s t may, f o r example, understand r e l i g i o u s concepts such as "grace," " s i n , " "redemption," "God," and so on, and yet not use those concepts h i m s e l f (except perhaps i n the sense t h a t he uses them to under-stand what r e l i g i o u s persons say when they use them). To f a i l to use a concept i n t h i s way i s d i f f e r e n t from f a i l i n g t o use concepts l i k e " u n i c o r n " and "tooth f a i r y . " Rather, i t i s more l i k e not u s i n g concepts l i k e the e x i s t e n t i a l i s t concept of " a u t h e n t i c i t y " o r the concept of " e x i s t e n c e o u t s i d e time." I am not sure I can c l a r i f y the d i f f e r e n c e I seem to d e t e c t among ways of not u s i n g concepts, except to say t h a t i n the sense i n which I am c l a i m i n g an amoral agent does not use moral concepts, h i s not doing so c o n s i s t s l a r g e l y i n there being no room i n h i s way of t h i n k i n g f o r him to operate w i t h moral n o t i o n s . He cannot see h i m s e l f or anyone e l s e as being under a moral o b l i g a t i o n , f o r example, r o u g h l y i n the way an a t h e i s t cannot see someone as having sinned s i n c e t h e r e i s no way f o r t h i s to f i t i n t o h i s way of t h i n k i n g about the world and h i s p l a c e i n i t . Being an a t h e i s t i s not, I take i t , simply a matter of d i s b e l i e v i n g a p r o p o s i t i o n about the e x i s t e n c e of a c e r t a i n e n t i t y and t h a t i s why there i s more to a r e l i g i o u s c o n v e r s i o n than simply coming to b e l i e v e a p r o p o s i t i o n . A r e l i g i o u s c o n vert comes ..to t h i n k i n 86 a d i f f e r e n t way; he does not j u s t t h i n k d i f f e r e n t t h i n g s are t r u e . D i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s , d i f f e r e n t s u b - c u l t u r e s and even d i f f e r e n t i n d i v i d u a l s have, to some extent, d i f f e r e n t conceptual s t r u c t u r e s . I t i s not a simple matter to say, i h general, what c o n s t i t u t e s d i f f e r e n c e s i n c o n c e p t u a l s t r u c t u r e s . In some cases, the v a r i a n c e c o n s i s t s i n l i t t l e more than one person's or group's having, w h i l e another l a c k s , a concept o r s e t o f concepts, but sometimes th e r e i s much more i n v o l v e d . Concepts change, become more complex, and e x h i b i t a l t e r e d l o g i c a l and q u a s i - l o g i c a l i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . To say j u s t t h a t much i s not very h e l p f u l or i l l u m i n a t i n g and to say much more i s very d i f f i c u l t . The p o i n t at which t h i s bears on the p r e s e n t d i s c u s s i o n i s t h a t what i t i s r a t i o n a l f o r someone to t h i n k , b e l i e v e , and do i s i n some measure dependent on h i s c o n c e p t u a l s t r u c t u r e . That i s not to say t h a t there i s never anything to choose, on grounds of r a t i o n a l i t y , among v a r i o u s conceptual schemes, but o n l y t h a t what • i s a r a t i o n a l procedure f o r one person may not even be a p o s s i b i l i t y f o r another. Suppose, f o r example, t h a t t h e r e were a s o c i e t y i n which people conceived of themselves not as i n d i v i d u a l s i n the way we do, but r a t h e r as e s s e n t i a l l y a p a r t of a s o c i a l "we," even to the extent t h a t they were i n c a p a b l e o f f o r m u l a t i n g a c l e a r i d e a of themselves as d i s t i n c t , unique, independently e x i s t i n g i n d i v i d u a l s . Such persons may have no way of f o r m u l a t i n g the n o t i o n of a m o r a l i t y , of s e l f - i n t e r e s t or even of m o r a l i t y . They would be bound by t h e i r conceptual apparatus to t h i n k i n g i n a way we might c a l l "moral," without t h e i r r e a l i z i n g i t , having, as i t were, no way of c o n t r a s t i n g t h e i r mode of thought w i t h 87 an a p p r o p r i a t e a l t e r n a t i v e . For such persons, to ask "What s h a l l I do?" may be to ask "What i s r e q u i r e d of t h i s p a r t of us?" or something l i k e t h a t . Having no way of c o n s i d e r i n g the idea t h a t what i s s o c i a l l y v a l u e d or v a l u a b l e need not c o i n c i d e with what an i n d i v i d u a l v a l u e s , any attempt to even formulate the i d e a of an a l t e r n a t i v e to m o r a l i t y would l i k e l y f a l l i n t o apparent a b s u r d i t y . Now the s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t as I conceive of him i s not a f f l i c t e d by the k i n d of conceptual i s o l a t i o n i l l u s t r a t e d i n t h i s example. He does understand moral and quasi-moral concepts but he does not use them. However, i t i s not j u s t concepts such as "morally ought," " o b l i g a t i o n , " " r i g h t , " e t c . which are r e l e v a n t here. I f i t i s to be argued t h a t the s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t i s i r r a t i o n a l we must a l s o a t t e n d to the concept of r a t i o n a l i t y i t s e l f and perhaps to o t h e r s as w e l l . In e v a l u a t i n g a person's r a t i o n a l i t y we a t t e n d to h i s use of reasons. There are two more or l e s s d i s t i n c t aspects of our e v a l u a t i o n s ; we can assess the constancy and c o n s i s t e n c y of h i s reasons and we can assess the contents of h i s reasons themselves. The former assessment i s p r i m a r i l y a matter of c o n s i s t e n c y among a person's reasons (and beliefs.) and the l a t t e r o f t h e - i n t e l l i -g i b i l i t y or a c c e p t a b i l i t y of h i s reasons themselves. We may say t h a t someone who takes f a c t A to be a reason f o r 0 - i n g but does not take f a c t B which d i f f e r s from A o n l y t r i v i a l l y and who cannot show t h a t there i s any r e l e v a n t d i f f e r e n c e s between the f a c t s , i s i r r a t i o n a l because i n c o n s i s t e n t . On the other hand, we a l s o say t h a t someone who t r e a t s f a c t s of an u t t e r l y (apparently) i r r e l e v a n t s o r t as a reason f o r a c t i n g (or b e l i e v i n g ) i s i r r a t i o n a l . 88 In both cases we f a i l to understand a person's a c t i o n s or b e l i e f s adequately but i n the former case ( i n v o l v i n g l o g i c a l c o n t r a d i c t i o n or i n c o n s i s t e n c y ) there are strong grounds f o r saying t h a t our f a i l u r e to understand i s a t t r i b u t a b l e to the i n h e r e n t i n c o m p r e h e n s i b i l i t y of the phenomena, whereas i n the l a t t e r case i t i s more p l a u s i b l e , a t l e a s t sometimes, to a t t r i b u t e the problem to an i n c o n g r u i t y between the conceptual outlook or v a lue s t r u c t u r e of the person t r y i n g t o understand and the person whose behaviour seems i r r a t i o n a l . I w i l l be d i s c u s s i n g a s u b j e c t i v i s t view of reasons f u r t h e r i n Chapter V and the r e l e v a n c e of these b r i e f comments should become c l e a r e r then. Beginning i n the next s e c t i o n I w i l l be l o o k i n g a t v a r i o u s attempts to show t h a t anyone who i s not a moral agent i s i r r a t i o n a l , but f i r s t I want to c o n s i d e r a r e c e n t c o n t r o v e r s y i n which the i s s u e i s whether or not i t even makes sense to ask f o r reasons f o r being moral (as opposed to being amoral). 3 Does "Why be moral?" make sense? Often the senses of "moral" I have t r i e d to keep separate are not very c a r e f u l l y d i s t i n g u i s h e d and so treatments of the above q u e s t i o n sometimes run a t c r o s s purposes. Stephen Toulmin has argued t h a t the q u e s t i o n "Why be moral?", i f i t i s understood as a request f o r a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r doing some p a r t i c u l a r a c t i o n which i s a l r e a d y allowed to be i n a c c o r d -ance w i t h a c u r r e n t s o c i a l p r a c t i c e (and on Toulmin's view t h a t i s s u f f i c i e n t f o r an a c t i o n ' s being m o r a l l y r i g h t or r e q u i r e d ) , or i f i t i s understood as a g e n e r a l request f o r a reason f o r doing what one sees to be m o r a l l y r i g h t , has no l i t e r a l meaning. 8 9 The q u e s t i o n , i f not absurd, i s a " l i m i t i n g q u e s t i o n / ' t h a t i s , one which seems to r e q u i r e an answer of a k i n d which cannot be gi v e n . He w r i t e s : When i t has been p o i n t e d out t h a t an a c t i o n conforms unambiguously to a r e c o g n i z e d s o c i a l p r a c t i c e , there i s no more room f o r the j u s t i f i c a t i o n of the a c t i o n through e t h i c a l r e a s o n i n g ... (p, 217). When someone asks, p e r f e c t l y g e n e r a l l y , 'Why ought one do what i s r i g h t ? ' , and i s not s a t i s f i e d w i t h the answer t h a t the sentence, 'You ought to do what i s r i g h t ' , expresses a t r u i s m , h i s q u e s t i o n i s a l s o a ' l i m i t i n g ' one. (Toulmin, 1968, Reason i n - E t h i c s , p. 218) L i m i t i n g q u e s t i o n s o f t h i s type, c l a i m s Toulmin, must be under-stood, not l i t e r a l l y , but r a t h e r as a request t o be giv e n some m o t i v a t i o n f o r doing the a c t or type of a c t i n q u e s t i o n . Of course, people do sometimes f a i l to f e e l motivated to perform a c t i o n s which they accept as m o r a l l y r e q u i r e d , e i t h e r because they a l s o have non-moral reasons f o r doing otherwise or through sheer l a z i n e s s . Someone c o u l d use the q u e s t i o n , "Why be moral ( i n t h i s c a s e ) ? " to request m o t i v a t i o n , but Toulmin does not take very s e r i o u s l y the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t someone might q u e s t i o n the whole e n t e r p r i s e of t h i n k i n g m o r a l l y . T h i s i s p a r t -i c u l a r l y odd i n view o f Toulmin's account o f what's i n v o l v e d i n moral j u s t i f i c a t i o n . I f to say t h a t something i s m o r a l l y r e q u i r e d or j u s t i f i e d or r i g h t i s e s s e n t i a l l y to c l a i m j u s t t h a t i t accords w i t h some s o c i a l . p r a c t i c e , i t seems q u i t e p o s s i b l e f o r someone to q u e s t i o n m o r a l i t y on some ge n e r a l grounds (eg, of r a t i o n a l i t y ) . "Why be moral?" w i l l seem l i k e a very strange q u e s t i o n i n the mouth of a moral agent who i s u s i n g "moral" s i n c e r e l y i n i t s "not 90 immoral" sense, because i n granting that some action i s morally required he has already accepted a l l of the j u s t i f i c a t i o n nec-essary for doing i t . Kai Nielsen ( 1 9 6 8 ) , on the other hand, takes the p o s s i b i l i t y of an amoral perspective seriously and argues against Toulmin on the grounds that there are many kinds of p r a c t i c a l reasoning besides moral thinking. It i s not self-evident, Nielsen points out, that anyone must give moral reasons p r i o r i t y or supremacy over other sorts of reasons. He construes the question "Why be moral?" as the moral skeptic's question "Why not be amoral?" This question i s obviously not a moral one. In a reply to Nielsen's a r t i c l e , R. Beehler sets out a second sort of reason for rej e c t i n g the question as being a mistaken one. He argues that one cannot decide whether or not to become or remain a moral agent. How i s man to adopt the 'moral point of view'? How i s he to decide to be kind, u n s e l f i s h , courageous, honest, l o y a l , just, and so on? For that i s what 'having the moral point of view' i s . The moral point of view i s not some point above honesty, selflessness, mercy, i n t e g r i t y , j u s t i c e , i n terms of which those are seen to be worthwhile. Having the moral point of view i s just approaching l i f e and persons honestly, j u s t l y , f o r g i v i n g l y , and so on, where these things matter to you, where, i n a sense, these things are what you are. But i f you don't have a regard for, say, honesty now, how are you to decide to have one? (Beehler, 1972-3, "Reasons For Being Moral," p. 16) There i s a very important point here which'never^comes e x p l i c i t l y into the debate between Nielsen and Beehler. It i s Beehler's assumption that being a moral agent i s e n t i r e l y a matter of 91 having c e r t a i n v i r t u e s , c h a r a c t e r t r a i t s , or i n c l i n a t i o n s , v a l u e s , e t c . and t h a t t h i s exhausts the n o t i o n of the moral p o i n t of view. T h i s i s the s o r t of c l a i m I o b j e c t e d to e a r l i e r i n Hume's a n a l y s i s of m o r a l i t y . I t h i n k t h a t Beehler i s wrong i n supposing t h a t being a moral agent i s simply a matter of c e r t a i n t h i n g s m a t t e r i n g to one. Of course, c e r t a i n t h i n g s w i l l matter to a person who i s a moral agent to the extent t h a t he takes s e r i o u s l y the r e s u l t s of h i s moral t h i n k i n g , but there i s no obvious reason why a t l e a s t some of those t h i n g s c o u l d not a l s o matter to someone who d i d not a p p r e c i a t e t h i n g s m o r a l l y . There may be some v i r t u e s which are s p e c i f i c a l l y moral i n the sense t h a t they i n v o l v e v a l u e s which o n l y moral agents c o u l d have s i n c e they i n v o l v e the use of s p e c i f i c a l l y moral concepts. J u s t i c e , under some a n a l y s e s , may be one such. Furthermore, i t i s not easy to see how "having the moral p o i n t of view" can be analyzed adequately i n terms of what matters to one u n l e s s some deeper a n a l y s i s i s a v a i l a b l e of why j u s t these t h i n g s count as moral concerns. But suppose t h a t there i s something which u n d e r l i e s these moral concerns - perhaps some concern such as f o r the harmony and w e l f a r e of mankind - i t s t i l l remains to show t h a t one cannot d e c i d e , i n an a p p r o p r i a t e sense, to care about such t h i n g s . Probably no one w i l l suggest t h a t we can decide to care about t h i n g s , i n the same way we can decide to go to a movie, but s u r e l y nothing t h a t s t r o n g i s r e q u i r e d i n order t h a t the q u e s t i o n of whether or not to become (or, f o r most people, whether or not to remain) a moral agent, make sense. A l l t h a t i s necessary 92 i s t h a t t h e r e be the p o s s i b i l i t y of having reasons one way or the other and of those reasons being i n s t r u m e n t a l i n producing/ perhaps over time, the e x i s t e n c e or e x t i n c t i o n of the a t t i t u d e i n q u e s t i o n . D e c i d i n g to be moral i s more l i k e d e c i d i n g to be s c i e n t i f i c than l i k e d e c i d i n g to b e l i e v e s p e c i f i c s c i e n t i f i c p r o p o s i t i o n s . One can g i v e up mysticism i n favour of s c i e n c e f o r reasons i n much the same way t h a t one can g i v e up m o r a l i t y i n favour of s e l f - i n t e r e s t . Thus, even where i t i s s t r a i n e d to speak of d e c i d i n g to do t h i s or t h a t , i t may nonetheless make sense t o r a i s e the q u e s t i o n of whether there are reasons f o r t a k i n g a m o d i f i e d view of the matter, perhaps wi t h a view to e f f e c t i n g a g r a d u a l change i n one's p e r c e p t i o n s , emotions, and b e l i e f s . Indeed, Beehler f i n a l l y came to admit: I f d e c i d i n g not to be moral i s r e s o l v i n g to t r y not to be moral, then a man c o u l d , I suppose, do t h i s . He c o u l d decide to t r y not to a p p r e c i a t e t h i n g s m o r a l l y . (Beehler, 1972-73, "Morals and Reasons," p. 20) S t i l l , I t h i n k , c e a s i n g to be a moral agent may i n v o l v e more than, or r a t h e r something d i f f e r e n t than, c e a s i n g to care about c e r t a i n t h i n g s . I t i n v o l v e s c e a s i n g to care about t h i n g s morally, c e a s i n g to use moral language and c e a s i n g to engage i n t y p i c a l l y moral a c t i v i t i e s . Furthermore, an amoral outlook may be a consequence of someone's becoming convinced t h a t i t i s a r a t i o n a l a l t e r n a t i v e to moral agency and thus may not r e q u i r e any s p e c i a l e f f o r t . Because moral judgments look l i k e o r d i n a r y statements i t i s easy to f a l l i n t o t h i n k i n g t h a t one must e i t h e r b e l i e v e them 93 t r u e or b e l i e v e them f a l s e or e l s e w i t h h o l d b e l i e f and d i s b e l i e f w h i l e a l l o w i n g they must be one or the o t h e r . There i s , how-ever, another p o s s i b l e a t t i t u d e . Someone may not have anything t o say which needs to be expressed i n moral judgments. In a sense, t h i s i s l i k e d e c i d i n g t h a t no one has any moral o b l i -g a t i o n s but to put i t t h a t way i s apt to make the p o s i t i o n seem too c l o s e to t h a t of someone who decides t h a t ( b e l i e v e s that) no one has a moral o b l i g a t i o n to submit to the m i l i t a r y d r a f t , where the l a t t e r i s a moral p o s i t i o n . F i n a l l y , a g a i n s t the i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y of the q u e s t i o n "Why be moral?" i t has been argued t h a t the o n l y u l t i m a t e answers to p r a c t i c a l q u e s t i o n s are ones which d e r i v e from e i t h e r moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s or c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of s e l f - i n t e r e s t , and to o f f e r reasons of the f i r s t s o r t i s to f a i l to g i v e an answer a t a l l , the attempt being c i r c u l a r , and to o f f e r reasons of the second s o r t i s to attempt the i m p o s s i b l e s i n c e a p a r t of the r a i s o n d'etre of m o r a l i t y i s t h a t i t p r o v i d e s p r a c t i c a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s which take precedence over those of s e l f - i n t e r e s t . The o n l y time t h a t the q u e s t i o n of whether or not to be moral w i l l a r i s e , on t h i s view, i s when m o r a l i t y i s i n c o n f l i c t w i t h p r e c i s e l y those t h i n g s i t i s supposed to o v e r r i d e . T h i s s o r t of argument, however, i s a p p l i c a b l e o n l y i f the q u e s t i o n i s "Why be moral and not immoral?" i . e . o n l y i f i t i s assumed t h a t the q u e s t i o n concerns the a l t e r n a t i v e s moral vs.immoral. T h i s q u e s t i o n cannot s e n s i b l y a r i s e f o r a moral agent except i n s o f a r as he i s c o n s i d -e r i n g the p o s s i b i l i t y of a m o r a l i t y , but i n t h a t case the f a c t t h a t i t i s p a r t of the r a i s o n d'etre of m o r a l i t y t h a t i t p r o v i d e s o v e r r i d i n g reasons f o r a c t i o n s w i l l be q u i t e b eside the p o i n t . The absurd q u e s t i o n then, i s not "Why be a moral agent?" but r a t h e r the q u e s t i o n , "Why should I perform t h i s a c t i o n which I see to be m o r a l l y r e q u i r e d ? " as asked by someone who i s a d e d i c a t e d moral agent. As Toulmin argues, the o n l y sense i n which t h a t q u e s t i o n , asked by a d e d i c a t e d moral agent, can be understood i s as a request to be motivated to do t h a t which i t has already been allowed i s the onl y j u s t i f i a b l e t h i n g to do. Of course, the l a t t e r q u e s t i o n cannot a r i s e f o r the amoral agent s i n c e i t s statement r e q u i r e s the s i n c e r e use of concepts which he does not use. To judge an a c t i o n to be m o r a l l y r i g h t i s , among other t h i n g s , to accept a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r doing i t and to be motivated, other t h i n g s equal, to do i t . H o p e f u l l y I have v i n d i c a t e d the q u e s t i o n w i t h which t h i s chapter i s concerned with from the charge of a b s u r d i t y . I do not c l a i m , however, t h a t t h i s i s s u f f i c i e n t t o show t h a t i t n e c e s s a r i l y has a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d or compelling answer one way or the o t h e r . I now t u r n to an examination of some attempts to show t h a t there are reasons f o r being a moral agent which d e r i v e from r a t i o n a l i t y or other deep-seated f e a t u r e s of our conceptual apparatus. 4 The Golden Rule The i d e a t h a t any r a t i o n a l agent must be open to arguments of the Golden Rule s o r t i s a powerful one. The Golden Rule expresses a c e n t r a l aspect of moral t h i n k i n g and the c l a i m t h a t i t i s a l s o l i n k e d c l o s e l y w i t h the concept of p r a c t i c a l r a t i o n -95 a l i t y i s the b a s i c c o n t e n t i o n i n Kant's treatment of the Categor-i c a l Imperative (1964). Perhaps i t would be b e t t e r to say t h a t Kant's C a t e g o r i c a l Imperative r e p r e s e n t s a minimal i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Golden Rule. I t i s g e n e r a l l y agreed t h a t there are very s e r i o u s problems i n v o l v e d i n saying e x a c t l y which v e r s i o n or v e r s i o n s o f the C a t e g o r i c a l Imperative Kant i s e n t i t l e d to and how much of m o r a l i t y i s captured by them. C e r t a i n l y there i s something to the n o t i o n t h a t i n s o f a r as an a c t i o n i s performed d e l i b e r a t e l y i t can be s a i d to embody some maxim or p r i n c i p l e and t h a t i t would be i r r a t i o n a l f o r someone to a c t on a maxim which i t would be i m p o s s i b l e f o r any number of other persons to a c t on. A maxim which i s r a t i o n a l (not i r r a t i o n a l ) f o r one must be r a t i o n a l f o r a l l and i t must be p o s s i b l e f o r everyone to a c t r a t i o n a l l y - a t l e a s t I am not prepared to argue o t h e r -wise. Kant's f o r m u l a t i o n of the C a t e g o r i c a l Imperative, of course, i s s t r o n g e r than t h i s . I t r e q u i r e s not merely t h a t one a c t a c c o r d i n g to maxims which c o u l d be acted upon u n i v e r s a l l y , but t h a t one a c t o n l y on maxims t h a t one could w i l l t h a t a l l should a c t on. T h i s takes us c l o s e r to the Golden Rule s i n c e i t c o r r e s -ponds to the r u l e (the S i l v e r Rule we might s a y ) : "Do unto others as you would w i l l they do unto you." The Golden Rule, however, r e q u i r e s one to c o n s i d e r what maxims one would have ot h e r s a c t upon (at l e a s t i n s o f a r as t h e i r doing so has an e f f e c t on one) and then to a c t o n e s e l f on those maxims where they apply. I t r e q u i r e s t h a t we a c t o n l y a c c o r d i n g to maxims which we would have ot h e r s a c t upon as w e l l . I t i s c l e a r l y a moral r u l e i n 9 6 t h a t i t o p e r a t e s t o d i r e c t a t t e n t i o n t o t h e e f f e c t s o f o n e ' s a c t i o n s o n o t h e r s a n d b i d s us c h o o s e maxims on t h e b a s i s o f how we w o u l d r e a c t i f t h e r o l e s w e r e r e v e r s e d , s o t h a t we n o t only-s e e o u r s e l v e s a s a f f e c t i n g o t h e r s b u t a l s o a s b e i n g a f f e c t e d b y o u r maxims a n d t h e a c t i o n s t h e y s a n c t i o n . I t i s . a p p a r e n t , i f my a t t e m p t t o s k e t c h some o f t h e m a i n f e a t u r e s o f m o r a l i t y was e v e n r e a s o n a b l y s u c c e s s f u l , t h a t t h e G o l d e n R u l e , b u t n o t t h e S i l v e r R u l e , c a n p l a u s i b l y be c o n s i d e r e d t o e x p r e s s t h e e s s e n c e o f m o r a l t h i n k i n g . F o r e x a m p l e , t h e r e q u i r e m e n t t h a t one be p r e p a r e d t o d e f e n d a n d p r o m u l a g t e o n e ' s m o r a l b e l i e f s makes s e n s e i f one i s a c t i n g a c c o r d i n g t o a r u l e w h i c h r e q u i r e s t h a t one w i l l t h a t e v e r y o n e a c t o n t h e same maxims one u s e s o n e s e l f . The q u e s t i o n t o be a d d r e s s e d h e r e i s w h e t h e r o r n o t t h e r e i s a n y t h i n g i r r a t i o n a l o r o t h e r w i s e c o n -c e p t u a l l y u n t o w a r d i n someone's f a i l i n g t o c h o o s e h i s p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s i n t h e way s u g g e s t e d b y t h e G o l d e n R u l e . I n o r d e r t o d i s c u s s t h i s q u e s t i o n e n t i r e l y s a t i s f a c t o r i l y , I s u p p o s e I w o u l d h a v e t o p r e s e n t a n d d e f e n d a c o n c e p t i o n o f r a t i o n a l i t y , a n d I do n o t p r e t e n d t o h a v e a c o m p l e t e t h e o r y o f r a t i o n a l i t y b y a n y means. H o w e v e r , i t w i l l b e a g r e e d t h a t b e i n g r a t i o n a l i n v o l v e s , a t t h e v e r y l e a s t , a v o i d i n g c e r t a i n s o r t s o f i n c o n s i s -t e n c y . I n t h e p r a c t i c a l r e a l m , a r a t i o n a l a g e n t d o e s n o t k n o w i n g l y p e r f o r m a c t i o n s w h i c h a r e s e l f - d e f e a t i n g ( i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e e n d s f o r w h i c h he u n d e r t o o k them) and he d o e s n o t p e r f o r m a c t i o n s w h i c h a r e i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h h i s p r a c t i c a l j u d g m e n t s . F o r e x a m p l e , h e d o e s n o t do A when he j u d g e s t h a t he h a s ( c o n -c l u s i v e ) r e a s o n n o t t o do A. 97 One f a i r l y straightforward argument for the r a t i o n a l required-ness of following the Golden Rule can be disposed of r i g h t away. It might be argued that, i n situations " c a l l i n g for a moral resolution," to do something deliberately i n i t s e l f commits one to thinking that one i s morally j u s t i f i e d i n doing i t . But, the argument goes, that commits one to the view that any-one else would also be acting i n a morally permissible manner in acting s i m i l a r l y (in adopting the same p r a c t i c a l maxim). Since i t i s in the nature of a judgment of moral p e r m i s s i b i l i t y that one must w i l l that others, as well as oneself, act i n a morally permissible manner, one must w i l l that the maxim of one's action be u n i v e r s a l l y adopted. The problem with that argument, even i f we ignore the i m p l i c i t claim that permissible action i n any s i t u a t i o n can r e s u l t only from using a unique maxim, i s that i t assumes that one must already be committed to evaluating one's own and everyone else's actions morally and that i s just the point i n dispute. Perhaps a similar argument could be constructed in morally neutral terms, however. Indeed, I think C.I. Lewis has attempted just t h i s . F i r s t , i t should be noted that Lewis does not see the difference between the Golden Rule and Kant's Categorical Imperative which I suggested above and which emerges from a concentration on the p o s s i b i l i t y that someone may be able to w i l l what he does not i n fact and never would w i l l . That i s , I take Kant to have argued for, and only to have been e n t i t l e d to, the claim that purely i n v i r t u e of being r a t i o n a l one i s con-strained not to act on maxims one cannot as a r a t i o n a l agent w i l l 98 to become everyone's maxim. I r e a l i z e t h a t there i s another way of understanding Kant on t h i s p o i n t which r e s t s on the i d e a t h a t i f one can w i l l something (can work o n e s e l f i n t o the frame of mind where one would w i l l i t ) then i n some sense, one does w i l l i t . I t makes a d i f f e r e n c e i f the "can" i s a l o g i c a l or a p s y c h o l o g i c a l one; i n the l a t t e r case i t i s not so c l e a r t h a t t h e r e i s a g r e a t d i f f e r e n c e , or a t any r a t e a r e l e v a n t one, between what one can w i l l and what one does w i l l . I t i s as though to come to see t h a t one can w i l l something i s to have undergone a l l t h a t i s necessary to have come to w i l l i t . In any case, I t h i n k t h a t the l o g i c a l "can" i s a l l Kant i s e n t i t l e d to s i n c e he i s concerned w i t h r a t i o n a l beings, some of which may have no psychology as we understand i t . Lewis (1969, p. 75) formulates the Golden Rule thus: Do no a c t which contravenes any r u l e which you would c a l l upon other men to r e s p e c t and conform t o . " His argument f o r the r a t i o n a l requirement to accept t h i s r u l e i s a d v e r t i s e d as a r e d u c t i o ad absurdum of the r e p u d i a t i o n of i t . What, then, i s i n v o l v e d i n r e p u d i a t i n g i t ? What the C a t e g o r i c a l Imperative says i s no more than t h a t t h e r e i s a non-repudiable d i s t i n c t i o n between the r i g h t and wrong, which a f f e c t s whatever we must decide by d e l i b e r a t i o n . And t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s non-r e p u d i a b l e f o r any c r e a t u r e who t h i n k s , and t h i n k s to a purpose, and i s c a l l e d upon to d e c i d e by t h i n k i n g . There i s the moral imperative because, important amongst t h i n g s the r a t i o n a l animal must dec i d e , there i s the q u e s t i o n of how he s h a l l behave toward h i s f e l l o w s . And any c r e a t u r e who t a l k s to him-s e l f about t h a t w i l l f i n d h i m s e l f i n the predicament of pragmatic c o n t r a d i c t i o n i f he says to h i m s e l f t h a t there i s a way of a c t i n g which i s r i g h t f o r him but wrong, i n 99 the same premises of a c t i o n , f o r another c r e a t u r e who l i k e w i s e decides by t a l k i n g to h i m s e l f . (Lewis, 1969, Values and Imperatives, p. 200) Lewis' b a s i c idea i s t h a t there i s a p o i n t to d e l i b e r a t i o n ; t h a t i n d e l i b e r a t i o n there i s a r i g h t answer and a wrong answer, t h a t some a c t i o n s are j u s t i f i e d and o t h e r s are not, t h a t t h e r e i s something one ought to do and something one ought not to do. Furthermore, s i n c e the c r i t e r i a f o r everyone are the same, i t being absurd t o suppose t h a t two persons " i n the same premises of a c t i o n " might e q u a l l y r a t i o n a l l y apply d i f f e r e n t maxims or reasons t o two d i f f e r e n t j u s t i f i e d r e s u l t s , a r a t i o n a l agent i s bound to a l l o w t h a t he ought to a c t o n l y as he i s prepared to see everyone a c t . To r e p u d i a t e the Golden Rule, then, i s to suppose t h a t there a re no c r i t e r i a f o r choosing among p o s s i b l e a c t i o n s i n d e l i b e r a t i o n ; i t i s to suppose t h a t d e l i b e r a t i o n i s p o i n t l e s s . L e t us grant t h a t t h e r e i s a p o i n t to d e l i b e r a t i o n i n the sense t h a t some p o s s i b l e a c t i o n s f o r a g i v e n person can be s a i d to be ones which he has reasons to perform and o t h e r s to be ones which he has reasons not to perform. C l e a r l y anyone who i s s i m i l a r to t h i s person w i l l , i n s i m i l a r circumstances, have s i m i l a r reasons. In t h i s sense, what i s r i g h t f o r one i s r i g h t f o r the other and i t would be i r r a t i o n a l to suppose t h a t some person P has reasons which make some a c t i o n A the one which s o l v e s h i s p r a c t i c a l problem and t h a t another s i m i l a r person Q, s i m i l a r l y s i t u a t e d , has reasons which make some d i f f e r e n t a c t i o n B the one which s o l v e s h i s p r a c t i c a l problem. But Lewis must show more 100 than t h i s . He must show t h a t there i s an i r r a t i o n a l i t y i n v o l v e d i n someone's a c t i n g on reasons he would not c a l l upon o t h e r s to a c t on. C e r t a i n l y i t would be d i s h o n e s t to a c t u a l l y c a l l on o t h e r s ( i n the name o f r a t i o n a l i t y ) to a c t a g a i n s t t h e i r reasons, but one c o u l d remain s i l e n t , and anyway d i s h o n e s t y i s not o b v i o u s l y i r r a t i o n a l . The reason Lewis' argument f a i l s i s , no doubt, apparent by now. There i s an important d i f f e r e n c e between (a) g r a n t i n g t h a t the d e l i b e r a t i o n s of o t h e r s are governed by the same r u l e s of r a t i o n a l i t y as one's own, and (b) t a k i n g some i n t e r e s t i n whether or not o t h e r s d e l i b e r a t e a c c o r d i n g to those r u l e s . T h i s d i f f e r e n c e corresponds t o the d i f f e r e n c e between the S i l v e r Rule and the Golden Rule. I t t u r n s out t h a t Lewis' argument f o r the Golden Rule does not support i t i n the form he g i v e s i t above. I do not see any way of showing t h a t there i s any p r a c t i c a l or t h e o r e t i c a l i n c o n s i s t e n c y i n someone's a l l o w i n g t h a t there are g e n e r a l p r i n c i p l e s which d e s c r i b e the p o i n t of d e l i b e r a t i o n and which apply to a l l r a t i o n a l agents, and a t the same time remaining o u t s i d e the p r o j e c t of " c a l l i n g on others" to use those p r i n c i p l e s . There does not seem to be any way of showing t h a t i t i s i n any way a p a r t of the p o i n t of d e l i b e r a t i n g to attempt to f i n d a c t i o n s which embody maxims one hopes o t h e r s w i l l use. Since the g e n e r a l p r i n c i p l e s of r a t i o n a l i t y may make r e f e r e n c e to the v a l u e s t r u c t u r e of the agent, t h e i r i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r d i f f e r e n t agents i n s i m i l a r circumstances may be v e r y d i f f e r e n t . That i s , j u s t what i t i s r a t i o n a l f o r a person to do may depend on what s o r t of person he i s , but more of t h i s l a t e r . 101 There i s another s t r a n d i n Lewis' attempt to e s t a b l i s h the Golden Rule which should be c o n s i d e r e d . He says: The b a s i c imperative i s ... simply t h a t of governing o n e s e l f by the advice of cog-n i t i o n , i n c o n t r a v e n t i o n , i f need be, to impulsions and the i n c l i n a t i o n s of f e e l i n g . And t h i s i mperative can be avoided o n l y by the i n c a p a c i t y t o d e l i b e r a t e and make dec-i s i o n s . T h i s most comprehensive imperative of r a t i o n a l i t y may be c a l l e d the Law of O b j e c t i v i t y .... (Lewis, 1969, p. 167) The Law of O b j e c t i v i t y i s r e l e v a n t t o moral d e l i b e r a t i o n i n r e q u i r i n g t h a t one take f u l l cognizance of the r e a l i t y of other persons. Granted t h i s law of r e s p e c t f o r o b j e c t i v e f a c t as such, the ground of our o b l i g a t i o n to another person becomes obvious, does i t not? The reason f o r i t i s t h a t we know him to be as r e a l as we are, and h i s joys and sorrows t o have the same q u a l i t y as our own.... The p r i n c i p l e of o b j e c t i v i t y d i c -t a t e s compassionate regard f o r others j u s t as, so t o say, prudence d i c t a t e s compassion-ate r e g a r d f o r my s e l f of tomorrow. (Lewis, 1969, p. 141) I f we r e c o g n i z e , as Lewis does, t h a t the n o t i o n of "compassionate r e g a r d " here does not n e c e s s a r i l y i n v o l v e one i n f e e l i n g com-p a s s i o n , as t h a t i s normally understood, but j u s t the f u l l r e c o g n i t i o n of the e f f e c t s of one's a c t i o n s on o t h e r s , i t i s apparent t h a t the ground of o b l i g a t i o n p r o v i d e d by the Law of O b j e c t i v i t y i s not as f i r m as i s r e q u i r e d by our o r d i n a r y c o n c e p t i o n of moral o b l i g a t i o n (which does not allow, I t h i n k , t h a t our o b l i g a t i o n s depend on our f e e l i n g compassion f o r ot h e r s -although our being motivated to perform our o b l i g a t i o n s may be thus c o n t i n g e n t ) . 102 Thus another defense of the Golden Rule may be r e c o n s t r u c t e d as f o l l o w s . R a t i o n a l i t y r e q u i r e s t h a t , i f d e l i b e r a t i o n i s t o have a p o i n t a t a l l , we take i n t o account i n ask i n g o u r s e l v e s what t o do, the f u l l r e a l i t y o f o t h e r s . I f t h i s compassionate regard f o r others operates i n a c e r t a i n way (roughly so t h a t we come t o f e e l the e f f e c t s of our a c t i o n s on others as p o i g n a n t l y as we f e e l t h e i r e f f e c t s on o u r s e l v e s ) , then we w i l l , i n f a c t , be l e d to a c t o n l y on maxims which not onl y c o u l d be, and c o u l d be w i l l e d t o be, acted on u n i v e r s a l l y , but which we imagine others a c t u a l l y a c t i n g on (through the i m a g i n a t i v e e x e r c i s e of p l a c i n g o u r s e l v e s i n t h e i r shoes and f e e l i n g the e f f e c t s of being s u b j e c t t o those maxims). Thus, t o a c t on a maxim r a t i o n a l l y i s , f o r someone who i s s u f f i c i e n t l y moved i n a c e r t a i n way by imagining the e f f e c t s of h i s a c t i o n s on o t h e r s , to a c t i n a way he w i l l s t o be a u n i v e r s a l l y accepted way of a c t i n g . C l e a r l y , then, i t i s a matter of psychology and not r a t i o n a l i t y whether the Golden Rule w i l l get a g r i p on the d e l i b e r a t i o n s of any p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l . That i s not to say t h a t i t i s n e c e s s a r i l y j u s t a p e r i p h e r a l f a c t about human beings t h a t the Golden Rule i s capable of i n f l u e n c i n g a c t i o n ; i t may not be. I t would r e q u i r e a separate argument to show t h a t someone can-not remain o u t s i d e the j u r i s d i c t i o n of the Golden Rule and be a t r u l y human being. At the beginning of t h i s chapter I s a i d t h a t what i t i s r a t i o n a l f o r a person to do may depend on h i s conceptual s t r u c t u r e -on what concepts he has - and ac c o r d i n g t o my r e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f Lewis i t a l s o depends on h i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l s e n s i t i v i t i e s . I f 103 i t c o u l d be shown t h a t someone who does n o t t a k e a c c o u n t o f t h e e f f e c t s o f h i s a c t i o n s on o t h e r s as t h o u g h t h e y were e f f e c t s on him do e s n o t have a c o n c e p t i o n o f t h e e q u a l r e a l i t y o f o t h e r p e r s o n s , t h i s w o u l d g i v e some s e n s e t o t h e c l a i m t h a t t h e a m o r a l i s t i s c o g n i t i v e l y d e f i c i e n t , i f n o t a c t u a l l y i r r a t i o n a l . I do n o t t h i n k t h i s c a n be shown any more t h a n i t c a n be shown t h a t i n o r d e r t o be s a i d t o have an a d e q u a t e c o n c e p t i o n o f t h e e q u a l r e a l i t y o f a n i m a l s a p e r s o n must t a k e t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s i n t o a c c o u n t , i n a c t i n g , a s i f t h e y were h i s own. B u t e v e n i f i t c o u l d be shown, t h e r e r e m a i n s t h e p r o b l e m o f showing how t h e d i s t i n c t i v e l y m o r a l n o t i o n o f o b l i g a t i o n , d u t y , and so on c a n be g r o u n d e d i n t h i s r e q u i r e m e n t . 5 Thomas N a g e l I t seems, t h e n , t h a t t h e r e i s no way t o p r o c e e d f r o m t h e r e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e e q u a l r e a l i t y o f o t h e r p e r s o n s t o t h e c o n -c l u s i o n t h a t one must t a k e t h e i r i n t e r e s t s i n t o a c c o u n t when One a c t s . A t l e a s t t h e r e i s no way o f showing t h a t a v i v i d p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e e f f e c t s o f on e ' s a c t i o n s on o t h e r s w i l l n e c e s s a r i l y r e s u l t i n a t y p i c a l l y m o r a l c o n c e r n f o r o t h e r s . A t t h i s p o i n t a n o t h e r a p p r o a c h s u g g e s t s i t s e l f . Suppose we l o o k a t t h i n g s a l i t t l e d i f f e r e n t l y and, i n s t e a d o f c o n c e n t r a t i n g on t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f r e c o g n i z i n g t h a t o t h e r s a r e r e a l i n t h e same way we a r e , we l o o k a t t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f h a v i n g a c o n c e p t o f o u r s e l v e s a s j u s t one p e r s o n among o t h e r s e q u a l l y r e a l . A c t u a l l y t h i s i n v o l v e s more t h a n j u s t l o o k i n g a t t h e same t h i n g f r o m a d i f f e r e n t a n g l e ; i t i s more l i k e l o o k i n g a t o n e s e l f i n a p a r t i c u l a r way i n l i g h t 104 of a r e c o g n i t i o n of the equal r e a l i t y of a l l persons. Thomas Nagel (1970) has attempted to e x p l o i t t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y i n h i s book The P o s s i b i l i t y of Altruism. N a g e l 1 s argument i s complex and i t i s not p o s s i b l e to d e a l adequately here with e v e r y t h i n g i n t h i s f a s c i n a t i n g book. In p a r t i c u l a r I s h a l l i gnore h i s e f f o r t to develop an analogy between moral rea s o n i n g and p r u d e n t i a l reasoning a c c o r d i n g to which the former r e q u i r e s a con c e p t i o n of o n e s e l f as one person among other persons e q u a l l y r e a l while the l a t t e r r e q u i r e s a conc e p t i o n of the present as one time e q u a l l y r e a l w i t h other times ( e s p e c i a l l y the f u t u r e ) . There are enough problems i n the analogy to make i t s u s e f u l n e s s d o u b t f u l , i n any case. Nagel ranges h i s arguments p r i m a r i l y a g a i n s t what he c a l l s s u b j e c t i v e egoism, a view which i s e n t a i l e d by the p o s i t i o n I am c a l l i n g amoralism. He says: The most p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y a t t r a c t i v e view (and hence the one most worth r e j e c t i n g ) i s one which denies t h a t reasons depend on the a s s i g n -ment of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e to anything ... (p. 96). J u s t what i s i n v o l v e d i n "the assignment of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e " to something i s not e n t i r e l y c l e a r . Nagel c e r t a i n l y i s not committed to the Moorean view t h a t there i s a non-natural p r o p e r t y of goodness such t h a t j u s t those t h i n g s which have t h a t p r o p e r t y have o b j e c t i v e v a l u e , although such a view i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h much of what he says. At the very l e a s t , t o a s s i g n o b j e c t i v e v a l u e to something, say some s t a t e of a f f a i r s , i s t o suppose t h a t anyone has a reason to b r i n g about or m a i n t a i n t h a t s t a t e of a f f a i r s . The s u b j e c t i v e e g o i s t (the a m o r a l i s t ) can al l o w t h a t there may be, as a c o n t i n g e n t f a c t , some u n i v e r s a l l y valued s t a t e 105 of a f f a i r s , but i f there i s i t w i l l be i n v i r t u e of f a c t s about i n d i v i d u a l persons p r i m a r i l y , and not j u s t because of some f e a t -ures of t h a t s t a t e of a f f a i r s i n i t s e l f . C e r t a i n l y not a l l t h i n g s valued by someone w i l l be va l u e d u n i v e r s a l l y and even where something i s val u e d by everyone i t s v a l u e c o n s i s t s i n j u s t t h i s c o n t i n g e n t f a c t , so t h a t i t i s never p o s s i b l e f o r an a m o r a l i s t t o " a s s i g n " o b j e c t i v e v a l u e t o something i f t h i s i s to i n v o l v e anything more than v a l u i n g i t h i m s e l f and/or b e l i e v i n g t h a t o t h e r s as a matter of f a c t a l s o v a l u e i t , and i t i s c l e a r t h a t f o r Nagel more than t h i s i s i n v o l v e d , as we s h a l l see. The n o t i o n of o b j e c t i v e value can be c l a r i f i e d somewhat by l o o k i n g a t Nagel's treatment of reasons f o r a c t i o n . A reason i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h a p r e d i c a t e which a p p l i e s to a c t i o n s . Thus, p r e d i c a t e s such as "promotes the agent's w e l f a r e , " " i s an a c t of benevolence," and "conduces to someone's w e l f a r e " i d e n t i f y reasons or p u t a t i v e reasons f o r performing the a c t i o n s t o which they apply. Nagel p l a c e s a u n i v e r s a l i t y c o n d i t i o n on reasons which r e q u i r e s t h a t reasons be the same, i n some sense, f o r everyone. I f one t h i n k s t h a t the f a c t t h a t some p r e d i c a t e R a p p l i e s to some a c t i o n A g i v e s some person p a reason to do A, then one must a l s o a l l o w t h a t any other person t o whose p o s s i b l e a c t i o n B, R a p p l i e s , a l s o has a reason t o do B. Another way of p u t t i n g t h i s p o i n t i s to say t h a t supposing t h a t R's a p p l i c a b i l -i t y to A g i v e s p a reason t o do A commits one to the p r a t i c a l p r i n c i p l e : (p,A) (If R holds o f A, then p has a reason to do A) i . e . "For a l l persons p and a l l a c t i o n s A open to p, i f the 106 p r e d i c a t e R i s true of A, then p has a reason to do A." Using the phrase "prima f a c i e " to i n d i c a t e t h a t the reason need not be a c o n c l u s i v e one, and a l l o w i n g A to range over s t a t e s of a f f a i r s , events, e t c . , as w e l l as a c t i o n s , we get: (p,A) ( I f R holds A, then p has prima f a c i e , reason to promote A ) . Now, according to Nagel, reasons and p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s can be e i t h e r o b j e c t i v e or s u b j e c t i v e according to whether or not a reference to p, the agent, occurs i n the formal statement of the reason p r e d i c a t e or p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e . I f there i s a reference to the agent, the reason or p r i n c i p l e ' i s s u b j e c t i v e ; otherwise i t i s o b j e c t i v e . The l e f t hand column below contains examples of o b j e c t i v e reasons and p r i n c i p l e s and the r i g h t hand column examples of s u b j e c t i v e ones. 1. t h a t A w i l l make Canada great 1'. tha t A w i l l make p's country great 2. t h a t A serves G.D.'s i n t e r e s t s 2'. that A serves p's i n t e r e s t s 3. t h a t A makes someone happy 3'. t h a t A makes p happy 4 . Everyone has a reason to promote 4 ' . Everyone has a reason Canada's greatness. to promote h i s country' greatness. 5 . Everyone has a reason to 5 ' . Everyone has a reason promote G.D.'s i n t e r e s t s . to promote h i s own i n t e r e s t s . 6. Everyone has a reason to make 6'. Everyone has a reason people (himself included) happy. to make, himself happy. Since o b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e s may e n t a i l s u b j e c t i v e ones (eg. 6 — * - 6 ' ) , i t w i l l be u s e f u l to s t i p u l a t e t h a t when I r e f e r , f o r example, to persons who accept s u b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e s , I w i l l mean that they accept only s u b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e s . Indeed, l e t me s p e c i f y t h a t 107 any r e f e r e n c e to a s u b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e or reason i s to be under-stood t o concern a reason or p r i n c i p l e which does not r e s t on an o b j e c t i v e one; thus, whether i t i s o b j e c t i v e or s u b j e c t i v e w i l l depend not o n l y on i t s form, but a l s o on the p r a c t i c a l t h i n k i n g of the person(s) supposed to accepted i t . A p r a c t i c a l judgment, f o r Nagel, i s a judgment l i k e "p has a reason to 0 , " or "p has a reason to promote A," and so on. Nagel i n c l u d e s judgments o f the form "p ought .to do A," but I p r e f e r to d e a l i n the former s o r t s i n c e I t h i n k Nagel does not pay s u f f i c i e n t a t t e n t i o n t o the f a c t t h a t these two s o r t s of judgments sometimes have d i f f e r e n t meanings i n s i g n i f i c a n t r e s p e c t s . A v e r y important concept f o r Nagel i s t h a t of a p r a c t i c a l judgment's having m o t i v a t i o n a l content. He says t h a t "the acceptance of such a judgment [one w i t h m o t i v a t i o n a l content] i s by i t s e l f s u f f i c i e n t to e x p l a i n a c t i o n or d e s i r e i n accordance w i t h i t , although i t i s a l s o compatible with the non-occurrence of such a c t i o n or d e s i r e " (p. 109). F i r s t - p e r s o n p r a c t i c a l judgments, such as "I have a reason to go;to the s t o r e , " have m o t i v a t i o n a l content because they are "not merely c l a s s i f i c a t o r y : they are judgments about what to do; they have p r a c t i c a l con-sequences" (p. 109). A t h i r d person judgment such as "John has a reason to stay i n bed," then, has m o t i v a t i o n a l content i f the person who makes i t (accepts i t ) thereby opens the way f o r an e x p l a n a t i o n of h i s a c t i n g to promote John's s t a y i n g i n bed or perhaps o n l y h i s d e s i r e t h a t John do so. Nagel s t a t e s h i s p r o j e c t thus: The t h e s i s which I propose to defend i s simply t h a t the on l y a c c e p t a b l e reasons are 108 o b j e c t i v e ones; even i f one operates success-f u l l y w i t h a s u b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e , one must be a b l e to back i t up w i t h an o b j e c t i v e p r i n -c i p l e y i e l d i n g those same reasons as w e l l as (presumably) o t h e r s . Whenever one a c t s f o r a reason, I m a i n t a i n , i t must be p o s s i b l e to regard o n e s e l f as a c t i n g f o r an o b j e c t i v e reason, and promoting an o b j e c t i v e l y v a l u a b l e end (pp. 96-7). I w i l l t u r n s h o r t l y to Nagel's attempt to e s t a b l i s h t h i s t h e s i s and to the c o n n e c t i o n between i t and the n o t i o n of m o t i v a t i o n a l content but f i r s t I should l i k e to o f f e r some b r i e f remarks on the t h e s i s i t s e l f . The f i r s t t h i n g which s t r i k e s one i s the o d d i t y of the c l a i m c o n s i d e r e d as a g e n e r a l c o n s t r a i n t on a l l reasons. I t seems q u i t e i n c r e d i b l e t h a t anyone should suggest t h a t any time one does something f o r a reason one must be able to r e g a rd o n e s e l f as promoting an o b j e c t i v e l y v a l u a b l e end - one which anyone has a reason to promote. Note t h a t what i s r e q u i r e d i s not simply t h a t there be some s i m i l a r end which each person has a reason to promote (that i s r e q u i r e d , but i t has to do w i t h the u n i v e r s a l i t y of reasons and not with t h e i r o b j e c t i v i t y ) . That i s , the o b j e c t i v i t y t h e s i s i s not t h a t , f o r example, i f I have a reason to wash behind my e a r s , then you do too - or a t l e a s t you have a reason to do whatever i n you case corresponds to my washing behind my e a r s , i f my reason f o r doing so i s d e r i v a t i v e i n the sense of f a l l i n g under a more fundamental reason. The o b j e c t i v i t y t h e s i s r e q u i r e s t h a t i f anyone allows t h a t I have a reason to wash behind my ears then everyone has a reason to wash, behind my e a r s , or perhaps to see t h a t I do so, depending on the form of the o b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e . S u r e l y , one wants to say, there are cases i n which s u b j e c t i v e 109 reasons have a p l a c e . I l i k e v a n i l l a i c e cream and so does my f r i e n d , Fred. Suppose there i s o n l y one b r i c k l e f t i n the l o c a l g r o c e r y s t o r e a t the time we a r r i v e . I have a reason to buy i t and so does Fred and to r e c o g n i z e t h i s i s to grant Nagel's p o i n t about the u n i v e r s a l i t y o f reasons - I have a reason because I l i k e v a n i l l a i c e cream and Fred i s i n the same boat. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to see why we should even look f o r any s t a t e o f a f f a i r s here which i s o b j e c t i v e l y v a l u a b l e and which both of us, as w e l l as anyone e l s e , has reason to promote. The s t a t e of a f f a i r s i n which I end up buying the i c e cream seems no b e t t e r or worse a candidate f o r the one which i s o b j e c t i v e l y b e t t e r , so i f there i s something to choose between them on such impersonal grounds, i t must be because one or the other f a l l s , perhaps q u i t e con-t i n g e n t l y , under some other d e s c r i p t i o n . One c o u l d , I suppose, opt f o r some o b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e such as t h a t the person who has gone without v a n i l l a i c e cream f o r the l o n g e s t time or the one whose h e a l t h would b e n e f i t most from e a t i n g i t i s the one whose buying the i c e cream i s o b j e c t i v e l y v a l u a b l e , but t h i s seems l i k e an extreme solution...,, Indeed i t looks very much l i k e an attempt to t u r n the problem i n t o a moral one. T h i s i s no a c c i d e n t , as I w i l l argue a t the end of t h i s s e c t i o n . What i s i t t h a t i n Nagel's view makes the use of s u b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e s "unacceptable?" I t i s t h a t : ... a s u b j e c t i v e p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e does not permit one to make the same judgments about others t h a t one makes about o n e s e l f , or the same judgments about o n e s e l f viewed imper-s o n a l l y t h a t one makes about o n e s e l f viewed p e r s o n a l l y . The a p p l i c a t i o n of s u b j e c t i v e reasons i n v o l v e s a d i s s o c i a t i o n of the two st a n d p o i n t s , and a breach i n the co n c e p t i o n of o n e s e l f as j u s t a person among ot h e r s (p. 116). i • 110 The problem, i n a n u t s h e l l , i s supposed t o be t h a t u s i n g s u b j e c t -i v e p r i n c i p l e s leads to p r a c t i c a l judgments which have or l a c k m o t i v a t i o n a l content depending on whether one views o n e s e l f as a "someone," i m p e r s o n a l l y conceived, or as a "me" i n one's f u l l c o n c r e t e n e s s . A s u b j e c t i v i s t ' s judgment t o the e f f e c t t h a t some person p has a reason to do something has ho m o t i v a t i o n a l content s i n c e i t cannot e x p l a i n any of the s u b j e c t i v i s t ' s a c t i o n s or d e s i r e s . But the same i s t r u e of the s u b j e c t i v i s t ' s judgments about h i m s e l f viewed i m p e r s o n a l l y as j u s t a person (who he happens to be) s i n c e , i n s o f a r as he views h i m s e l f i m p e r s o n a l l y , he i s j u s t l i k e anyone e l s e and has reasons i n j u s t the way they do. Yet, as we have seen, f i r s t p e r s o n a l p r a c t i c a l judgments do have m o t i v a t i o n a l content. To judge t h a t one has a reason t o do some-t h i n g i s to accept a reason to do i t while to judge t h a t someone e l s e (or o n e s e l f conceived impersonally) has a reason to do something i s , f o r the s u b j e c t i v i s t , merely to note a f a c t . The p r a c t i c a l judgments a s u b j e c t i v i s t makes about h i s own reasons w i l l have m o t i v a t i o n a l content i f he views h i m s e l f p e r s o n a l l y and they w i l l l a c k m o t i v a t i o n a l content i f he views h i m s e l f i m p e r s o n a l l y . Nagel's c o n c l u s i o n from t h i s i s t h a t the s u b j e c t i v i s t must e i t h e r d e l i b e r a t e i n the p e r s o n a l mode f a i l i n g t o see h i m s e l f as j u s t one person among many, or e l s e he must remain p e r v e r s e l y detached from h i s a c t i v e nature: [ I ] t i s p o s s i b l e to imagine an i n d i v i d u a l f u l l y capable o f occupying the impersonal standpoint and p o s s e s s i n g a c o n c e p t i o n of h i m s e l f as j u s t another of the world's i n -h a b i t a n t s , who n e v e r t h e l e s s remained from t h i s s tandpoint s p l i t o f f , detached from I l l h i s p r a c t i c a l concerns and h i s r a t i o n a l l y m otivated a c t i o n s (p. 123). T h i s dilemma i s p r e d i c a t e d on a p a r t i c u l a r view of the r o l e of p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s i n d e l i b e r a t i o n and i t i s here t h a t I wish to enter a caveat. For Nagel, p r a c t i c a l d e l i b e r a t i o n i s a matter o f deducing p r a c t i c a l judgments from p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s . The o b j e c t i v i s t does not have the problem o f accounting f o r the appearance of m o t i v a t i o n a l content i n h i s f i r s t person p r a c t i c a l judgments s i n c e the p r i n c i p l e s he begins w i t h correspond to the assignment of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e t o s t a t e s of a f f a i r s and a l l of h i s p r a c t i c a l judgments are e s s e n t i a l l y judgments about who can do what t o promote those s t a t e s of a f f a i r s . His w i l l i s engaged, so to speak, from the be g i n n i n g . T h i s p o i n t s out a c e r t a i n p e c u l i a r i t y i n the n o t i o n o f m o t i v a t i o n a l content when i t i s a p p l i e d not to f i r s t - p e r s o n but to impersonal or t h i r d - p e r s o n judgments. These l a t t e r judgments have m o t i v a t i o n a l content on Nagel's account even though they cannot a c t u a l l y motivate anyone to do anything u n t i l f u r t h e r judgments about one's s i t u a t i o n are added. The impersonal judgment has m o t i v a t i o n a l content i n t h a t i t embodies the acceptance o f some a t t r i b u t i o n of o b j e c t i v e value to something. T h i s acceptance s t a r t s the agent's motor running as i t were but the c l u t c h i s not engaged u n t i l he sees what he can do to promote t h a t which has the o b j e c t i v e v a l u e . The sub-j e c t i v i s t , on the oth e r hand, needs to take account of h i s p o s i t i o n i n any s i t u a t i o n i n order to be ab l e to say what s t a t e o f a f f a i r s he has reason to promote, and i t i s d i f f i c u l t to 112 see how the bare s h i f t o f viewpoint can i n t r o d u c e m o t i v a t i o n . There i s an important t r u t h i n what Nagel says about the sub-j e c t i v i s t 1 s " i n a b i l i t y t o draw f u l l y - f l e d g e d p r a c t i c a l c o n c l u -s i o n s about i m p e r s o n a l l y viewed s i t u a t i o n s . " I t p o i n t s out perhaps the c r u c i a l d i f f e r e n c e between o b j e c t i v i s t and s u b j e c t -i v i s t p r a c t i c a l r e a s o n i n g , but the q u e s t i o n remains whether or not t h i s d i f f e r e n c e p o i n t s , as Nagel c l a i m s i t does, to a " p r a c t i c a l s o l i p s i s m " (an i n a b i l i t y to see o n e s e l f as one person among others e q u a l l y r e a l ) on the p a r t o f the s u b j e c t i v i s t . A c c o r d i n g t o Nagel, the s u b j e c t i v i s t begins w i t h s u b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e s ( i . e . , ones which make r e f e r e n c e to the agent) and t h e r e f o r e h i s p r a c t i c a l judgments about who has what reasons, as long as they are i m p e r s o n a l l y s t a t e d , get no g r i p on h i s mot-i v a t i o n s . Some p e r s o n a l premise must be added i n order f o r the rea s o n i n g to r e s u l t i n a f i r s t person p r a c t i c a l judgment. The problem Nagel sees f o r the s u b j e c t i v i s t here i s t h a t i t i s not easy to see how the a d d i t i o n of a premise, such as "I am the man i n the green hat," can i n t r o d u c e m o t i v a t i o n a l content i n t o the re a s o n i n g . I suggest t h a t the problem i s , however, not a r e a l one s i n c e i t a r i s e s from Nagel's assumption t h a t the sub-j e c t i v i s t a c t u a l l y gets to h i s f i r s t person p r a c t i c a l judgments by f o l l o w i n g the process of deduction from p r i n c i p l e s . Without t h i s assumption (or a t l e a s t the weaker one Nagel e x p l i c i t l y makes t h a t the s u b j e c t i v i s t must be a b l e to get to those p r a c t i c a l judgments i n t h i s way) the problem of how the m o t i v a t i o n a l content gets i n t o the c o n c l u s i o n does not a r i s e . L a t e r I w i l l be examining the a m o r a l i s t ' s mode of p r a c t i c a l 113 r e a s o n i n g more c l o s e l y , but l e t me j u s t o u t l i n e here, by way of a d i g r e s s i o n , an a l t e r n a t i v e view of p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s f o r the s u b j e c t i v i s t . Consider someone f o r whom h e a l t h (his own) i s important and suppose t h a t , being a s u b j e c t i v i s t , he a s s i g n s no o b j e c t i v e v a l u e , i n Nagel's sense, to h i s being h e a l t h y . He does not t h i n k t h a t anyone e l s e need r e c o g n i z e any reason to promote h i s being h e a l t h y , j u s t because he does. His reasoning on some o c c a s i o n might be r e c o n s t r u c t e d as f o l l o w s : "I v a l u e my h e a l t h . Doing A w i l l keep me h e a l t h y . T h e r e f o r e I have a reason to do A." To what does t h i s b i t of reasoning commit him? I t does not commit him to the view t h a t h i s being h e a l t h y or anyone e l s e ' s being h e a l t h y has o b j e c t i v e value i n Nagel's sense, but there i s s t i l l the u n i v e r s a l i t y requirement on reasons to be taken account o f . I f Nagel i s r i g h t , and I t h i n k he i s , the s u b j e c t i v i s t must be a b l e to accept a p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e which i s u n i v e r s a l i n form and a p p l i e s to anyone. Such a p r i n c i p l e would be: (p,A) (If R a p p l i e s to A, then p has a reason to promote A) where R i s a p r e d i c a t e which i d e n t i f i e s a reason. Nagel seems to t h i n k t h a t the a p p r o p r i a t e candidate f o r R here would be "promotes p's h e a l t h " and t h a t would c e r t a i n l y y i e l d a s u b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e , v i z . "Anyone has a reason to promote h i s h e a l t h . " But i t i s not the o n l y p o s s i b i l i t y . The s u b j e c t i v i s t as I conceive of him (the a m o r a l i s t ) would take R to be "promotes the h e a l t h of an agent,, p, who v a l u e s h i s h e a l t h . " T h i s p r e d i c a t e a l s o y i e l d s a s u b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e , namely, "Anyone who v a l u e s h i s h e a l t h has a reason to promote h i s h e a l t h . " Now t h a t p r i n -114 c i p l e w i l l p r obably seem almost t r i v i a l and i n a sense i t i s , but the reason t h a t i t seems t r i v i a l i s t h a t we tend to t h i n k of " a c t i n g f o r a reason" as n e a r l y e q u i v a l e n t to " a c t i n g t o achieve a v a l u e d r e s u l t . " N e v e r t h e l e s s the d i f f e r e n c e between these two ways of understanding R i s very important because c o n s t r u i n g R i n the second way r e l a t i v i z e s reasons to a person's v a l u e s . Indeed the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t I t a l k e d about i n the l a s t chapter counts, on Nagel's d e f i n i t i o n , as a s u b j e c t i v i s t w h i l e I c l a s s e d him as an o b j e c t i v i s t . T h i s d i s c r e p a n c y a r i s e s because, f o r Nagel, a s u b j e c t i v i s t may a l l o w t h a t some s t a t e of a f f a i r s has " r e a l " v a l u e f o r a person independently of what he a c t u a l l y v a l u e s , whereas f o r me someone who does t h i s i s countenancing o b j e c t i v e ( a l b e i t r e l a t i v i z e d ) v a l u e s . T h i s need not cause c o n f u s i o n , however, and i t remains t r u e t h a t a s u b j e c t i v i s t i n my sense i s a l s o a s u b j e c t i v i s t i n Nagel's although the con-v e r s e does not h o l d . In any case, Nagel can be answered on h i s own terms and t h a t i s a l l t h a t i s r e q u i r e d . I w i l l do t h a t p r e s e n t l y but l e t me f i r s t conclude the d i g r e s s i o n on which I have embarked. In the case above where R i s Vpromotes p's h e a l t h " and i n which the corresponding p r i n c i p l e i s "Anyone has reason to promote h i s h e a l t h " Nagel construes the s u b j e c t i v i s t 1 s r e a s o n i n g as f o l l o w s : 1. Anyone has reason to promote h i s h e a l t h . .*. 2. I have reason to promote my h e a l t h . 3. Doing'A w i l l promote my h e a l t h . .•.4. I have reason to do A. 115 There does seem to be a problem here about where the " m o t i v a t i o n a l content" e n t e r s . However, t h i s does not r e p r e s e n t the reasoning process of the s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t . I f we r e c o n s t r u c t the reasoning u s i n g R i n the second way above (where R i s "promotes the h e a l t h of the agent, p, who v a l u e s h i s h e a l t h " ) , we get: 1. Anyone who v a l u e s h i s h e a l t h has reason to promote h i s h e a l t h . 2. I v a l u e my h e a l t h . .'.3. I have reason to promote my h e a l t h . 4. Doing A w i l l promote my h e a l t h . .'.5. I have reason to do A. Here the f i r s t premise seems s u p e r f l u o u s s i n c e the argument seems p e r f e c t l y cogent without i t . Indeed i t seems s u p e r f l u o u s i n roughly the way a p r i n c i p l e of i n f e r e n c e such as Modus Ponens i s s u p e r f l u o u s to a d e d u c t i v e argument. I t does not f i g u r e i n the argument but l e g i t i m i z e s i t from without, as i t were. There i s no mystery about where the m o t i v a t i o n a l content comes from -1 i t e n t e r s w i t h premise 2 which can h a r d l y be a mere n o t i n g of a f a c t about o n e s e l f . Premise 1, which we have been c a l l i n g a p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e , f u n c t i o n s as w e l l as an e x p l a n a t o r y precept to which the sub-j e c t i v i s t commits h i m s e l f by conducting h i s own d e l i b e r a t i o n s i n the way he does. I t does not f u n c t i o n as a p a r t of h i s r e a s o n i n g , but r a t h e r as the p r i n c i p l e by which h i s reasoning i s to be under-stood and hence as the way i n which he must understand the r e a s o n i n g of o t h e r s i f he i s to see them as engaged i n the same s o r t of p r o j e c t as he i s . (Later I w i l l o f f e r a more complete account of the c o n n e c t i o n between reasons and values.) T h i s 116 p r i n c i p l e and the s u b j e c t i v i s t ' s acceptance of i t , then, con-s t i t u t e s h i s acceptance of the f u l l and equal r e a l i t y of other persons. This concludes my r a t h e r long d i g r e s s i o n i n t o the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Nagel 1s and my v e r s i o n of s u b j e c t i v i s m and the way i n which the s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t can avoid Nagel's charge of p r a c t i c a l s o l i p s i s m . I now r e t u r n to answer Nagel d i r e c t l y on h i s own ground. Nagel i s r i g h t i n h i s c l a i m t h a t the s u b j e c t i v i s t cannot d e l i b e r a t e to f u l l y - f l e d g e d p r a c t i c a l conclusions while main-t a i n i n g a purely impersonal view of himself, but that i s not s u f f i c i e n t to show tha t he l a c k s a conception of himself as j u s t one person among many. In a passage quoted above, Nagel admits t h a t i t is p o s s i b l e t h a t someone should possess a con-ce p t i o n of himself as " j u s t another of the world's i n h a b i t a n t s " and t h a t he should, "from t h i s standpoint," remain detached from h i s p r a c t i c a l nature. But I see no need to i n s i s t t h a t one always take the impersonal view of oneself nor even that one be able to take i t during d e l i b e r a t i o n . There are things which one cannot do from the impersonal p o i n t of view, at l e a s t i f I understand what i t i s to take up tha t p o i n t of view, even i f one operates w i t h o b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e s . One cannot perform a d e l i b e r a t e a c t i o n , f o r example, as long as one i s conceiving of oneself as merely one person among many, because to conceive of oneself i n t h i s way i s to ignore or bracket those f a c t s about oneself and one's s i t u a t i o n which make a c t i o n p o s s i b l e . One needs to conceive of oneself as engaging the world i n one's complete uniqueness. To have a c e r t a i n conception of oneself 117 i t i s not necessary f o r one to be a b l e to use t h a t c o n c e p t i o n a l l of the time. Nagel r e c o g n i z e s , i r i f a c t , t h a t " a c t i o n n e c e s s a r i l y i n v o l v e s the p e r s o n a l s t a n d p o i n t . One cannot i n g e n e r a l decide what to do u n l e s s one knows something about who one i s " (p. 121);. Thus i t i s not a c t i o n but d e l i b e r a t i o n which Nagel supposes must be conductable from the impersonal s t a n d p o i n t , i f d i s s o c i -a t i o n i s t o be avoided. But why t h i s d i f f e r e n c e between a c t i o n and d e l i b e r a t i o n ? Why should i t seem more damaging t h a t a person cannot a c t without knowing who he i s , than t h a t he cannot d e l i b e r a t e without knowing what he c a r e s about? Nagel says: The f a c t i s t h a t n e i t h e r of the two s t a n d p o i n t s [the p e r s o n a l and the impersonal] can be e l i m i n a t e d from our view of the world, and when one of them cannot accept the judg-ments of the o t h e r , we are faced with a s i t u a t i o n i n which the i n d i v i d u a l i s not o p e r a t i n g as a u n i t . Two s i d e s of the i d e a of h i m s e l f , and hence two s i d e s of h i m s e l f , are coming apart (p. 119). N o t i c e the language here. What i s i t f o r one standpoint not to be able to accept the judgment of another standpoint? T h i s suggests t h a t the problem i s supposed to be t h a t there are judg-ments which can be made from the: ^ personal s t a n d p o i n t which do not f i n d t h e i r c o u n t e r p a r t s i n the impersonal s t a n d p o i n t . But t h i s i s not the case. A l l of the s u b j e c t i v i s t ' s p r a c t i c a l judgments made from the p e r s o n a l standpoint do have t h e i r imper-sonal c o u n t e r p a r t s . I t i s j u s t t h a t the impersonal ones l a c k , i n Nagel's terms, m o t i v a t i o n a l content. The two ideas of o n e s e l f are not "coming a p a r t " : r a t h e r they are j u s t not o p e r a t i n g s i m u l t a n e o u s l y . A s i m i l a r f a i l u r e of simultaneous o p e r a t i o n i s 118 apparent i n a c t i o n s as w e l l , as we have seen. In a c t i n g one does not sim u l t a n e o u s l y see o n e s e l f as " j u s t someone" and as "me as I am," but there i s no h i n t here t h a t two ideas of one-s e l f are "coming a p a r t . " What Nagel needs t o show, and what he cannot show, i s t h a t t h e r e i s some i n c o n s i s t e n c y i n the judgments made from the imper-sonal v s . the p e r s o n a l s t a n d p o i n t . I t w i l l not do to note simply t h a t one of t h e s e ' s o r t s of judgments has, while the other l a c k s , m o t i v a t i o n a l content. The d i f f e r e n c e between my judgment t h a t "Greg Durward has reason t o A" and my judgment t h a t "I have reason to A" i s s i m i l a r to the d i f f e r e n c e between my judgment t h a t "Greg Durward l o v e s p" and my judgment t h a t "I lov e p." There i s no suggestion i n the second case t h a t I am coming apar t or t h a t my s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n i s d e f e c t i v e . I t i s j u s t t h a t i n the former of the p a i r , I am r e p o r t i n g on, but not f e e l i n g , something I am e x p r e s s i n g i n the l a t t e r . For the o b j e c t i v i s t t h i n g s are d i f f e r e n t . From the imper-s o n a l s t a n d p o i n t h i s concerns do remain engaged. But t h a t does not show t h a t h i s s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n i s any " h e a l t h i e r . " To c a r r y on the above analogy i t i s as though h i s "expressions of l o v e " were r e p o r t s on something about p ("p i s l o v a b l e " ) so t h a t what-ever r e l a t i o n he has to p i s not merely p e r s o n a l but impersonal. In Nagel's words: I f one acknowledges the presence of an o b j e c t i v e reason f o r something, one has acknowledged a reason f o r anyone to promote or d e s i r e i t s occurrence - a t l e a s t to d e s i r e i t , even i f he i s not i n a p o s i t i o n t o do anything about the matter. T h i s i s because o b j e c t i v e reasons r e p r e s e n t the v a l u e s of occurrences, a c t s , and s t a t e s o f a f f a i r s themselves, not t h e i r v a l u e s f o r anyone (pp. 119-120). 119 For the s u b j e c t i v i s t a l l v a l u e s are values f o r someone. My c o n t e n t i o n then, as regards Nagel's main argument, i s t h a t he has f a i l e d t o show t h a t there i s anything v e r y p e c u l i a r or untoward i n the s u b j e c t i v i s t ' s concept of h i m s e l f which r e s u l t s from the f a c t t h a t he i s unable to d e l i b e r a t e to f u l l y -f l e d g e d , m o t i v a t i o n a l l y - c h a r g e d p r a c t i c a l c o n c l u s i o n s from the impersonal p o i n t o f view. He cannot, but t h a t i s simply a consequence of the f a c t t h a t he does not a s s i g n o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s to s t a t e s of a f f a i r s . The s u b j e c t i v i s t can d e l i b e r a t e o n l y i n the p e r s o n a l mode, but he can take an impersonal view of h i s world and h i s p l a c e i n i t , w h i l e he i s not d e l i b e r a t i n g about what to do. In no sense does t h i s show a tendency f o r two s e l f -c o nceptions to come ap a r t i n a problematic way. A l l i t shows i s t h a t , because he does not suppose t h a t anything i s v a l u a b l e q u i t e a p a r t from anyone's a c t u a l l y v a l u i n g i t , i n viewing the world i n a b s t r a c t i o n from h i s own a c t u a l concerns the world w i l l appear e n t i r e l y v o i d m o t i v a t i o n a l l y . And t h a t seems to me to be q u i t e a sane way f o r t h i n g s to be. I t w i l l be r e c a l l e d t h a t my p r o j e c t i n t h i s chapter has been to i n v e s t i g a t e some arguments which have been advanced i n favour of the moral agent's outlook or a g a i n s t the amoral agent's ou t l o o k . I have spent a good d e a l of time d i s c u s s i n g Thomas Nagel's t h e s i s f o r two reasons. F i r s t , i t seems to me to be a ver y i n t e r e s t i n g and s o p h i s t i c a t e d attempt to show t h a t the s o r t of o b j e c t i v i s t outlook which I i d e n t i f i e d i n the f i r s t chapter as one of the c e n t r a l f e a t u r e s of moral t h i n k i n g , i s i n some sense, r e q u i r e d . Secondly, the d i s c u s s i o n o f h i s argument has 120 enabled me, I hope, t o expl o r e to some advantage one f a i r l y p r e c i s e statement of the d i s t i n c t i o n between o b j e c t i v i s m and s u b j e c t i v i s m . In the next chapter, I w i l l be l o o k i n g f u r t h e r i n t o t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n , but bef o r e proceeding there are some loo s e ends from the f o r e g o i n g d i s c u s s i o n which should be t i e d o f f . I s a i d e a r l i e r t h a t the o b j e c t i v i t y t h e s i s (that the o n l y a c c e p t a b l e reasons were o b j e c t i v e ones) has the e f f e c t o f making a l l p r a c t i c a l problems seem l i k e moral ones. The reason should now be c l e a r e r . The use of o b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e s corresponds roughly to viewing every s i t u a t i o n from the moral p o i n t of view, i n s o f a r as one i s c o n s t r a i n e d to look a t every s i t u a t i o n i n the l i g h t of an attempt to f i n d a p o s s i b l e outcome f o r which there i s an o b j e c t i v e reason. I t i s not enough t o f i n d an outcome such t h a t f o r each i n d i v i d u a l person there i s some reason or other f o r him to promote t h a t outcome; r a t h e r i t /is necessary to f i n d an outcome which i s supported by the•same reason f o r everyone. I t must be an o b j e c t i v e l y v a l u a b l e outcome even to people not d i r e c t l y i n v o l v e d . F i n a l l y , some r e l e v a n t i s s u e s are r a i s e d i n the f o l l o w i n g passage from Nagel: The primary o p p o s i t i o n to my view comes from egoism.... Egoism holds t h a t each i n d i -v i d u a l ' s reasons f o r a c t i n g and p o s s i b l e m o t i v a t i o n s f o r a c t i n g , must a r i s e from h i s own i n t e r e s t s and d e s i r e s , however those i n t e r e s t s may be d e f i n e d . The i n t e r e s t s o f one person can on t h i s view motivate another or p r o v i d e him wit h a reason o n l y i f they are connected w i t h his.s.interests - or are o b j e c t s of some sentiment o f h i s , l i k e sympathy, p i t y , or benevolence. ... I t should be n o t i c e d how p e c u l i a r egoism would be i n p r a c t i c e ; i t would have to show i t s e l f not onl y i n the l a c k of a d i r e c t concern f o r others but a l s o i n an i n a b i l i t y 1 2 1 to regard one's own concerns as being of i n t e r e s t t o anyone e l s e , except i n s t r u m e n t a l l y or c o n t i n g e n t l y upon the o p e r a t i o n of some sentiment (pp. 84-5). There are three comments I want to make on t h i s passage. F i r s t , i t i s not c l e a r t h a t Nagel has g i v e n an account of how m o t i - . v a t i o n s can a r i s e except from i n t e r e s t s or d e s i r e s , in some sense. I t seems t h a t the assignment of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e to some s t a t e of a f f a i r s or the acceptance of an o b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e i n v o l v e s t a k i n g some i n t e r e s t or coming to have something l i k e a d e s i r e . But perhaps the p o i n t i s t h a t the assignment of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e does not i t s e l f r e s t . o n some i n t e r e s t or d e s i r e (Not even to be r a t i o n a l or moral? Even Kant r e c o g n i z e d a love of duty and r a t i o n a l i t y ) . Secondly, the t h e s i s of egoism o f f e r e d i n t h i s passage i s a g e n e r a l view about the nature of human m o t i v a t i o n and should not be confused with any form of egoism I t r e a t e d i n the l a s t chapter. Nagel's argument a g a i n s t egoism ( i n h i s sense) would, however, t e l l a g a i n s t the e t h i c a l e g o i s t , the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t and the s u b j e c t i v i s t e g o i s t because h i s argument purports to show t h a t even the s o r t of o b j e c t i v e ( r e l a t i v e ) v alue judgments the former two can a l l o w are not enough to a v o i d d i s s o c i a t i o n . The a r c h e t y p i c a l ( n o n - e g o i s t i c ) a m o r a l i s t who does not a s s i g n o b j e c t i v e v a l u e to anything i s not committed, any more than the o t h e r s , to N a g e l 1 s g e n e r a l e g o i s t i c t h e s i s i n t h i s passage s i n c e he can p e r f e c t l y w e l l a l l o w t h a t some people do, and o t h e r s do not, take a d i r e c t m o t i v a t i n g i n t e r e s t i n the w e l f a r e of persons g e n e r a l l y . There i s no reason why even the a r c h e t y p i c a l amoral-i s t cannot take a d i r e c t i n t e r e s t i n the w e l f a r e of certain 122 persons, although h i s concern does not g e n e r a l i z e to any a p p r e c i -a b l e extent beyond those persons. Nagel i s i n v o l v e d i n showing t h a t the g e n e r a l e g o i s t i c t h e s i s he r e f e r s t o i s f a l s e and t h a t a l t r u i s m i n h i s sense i s p o s s i b l e and I have some sympathy with h i s p r o j e c t . I t does seem to me t h a t many (even most) people do succeed i n a s s i g n i n g o b j e c t i v e value t o s t a t e s of a f f a i r s and do manage to d e l i b e r a t e p r e t t y much i n the way Nagel suggests, u s i n g o b j e c t i v e reasons and so on. What I am concerned to show i n t h i s chapter i s t h a t t h e r e i s no conceptual b a r r i e r t o someone's t h i n k i n g i n a very d i f f e r e n t way. But Nagel's a t t a c k on egoism does r a i s e the qu e s t i o n of whether or not a s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t can adequately understand people who do reason the way Nagel t h i n k s i s the onl y a c c e p t a b l e way. I would be worried i f i t turned out t h a t he c o u l d not. I have suggested t h a t what Nagel c a l l s s u b j e c t i v e p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s are b e t t e r understood as expl a n a t o r y pre c e p t s which the s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t uses t o understand h i s own and other people's p r a c t i c a l t h i n k i n g . Can these p r i n -c i p l e s p r o v i d e the s u b j e c t i v i s t with a way of understanding o b j e c t i v i s t s ? The s u b j e c t i v i s t cannot admit t h a t any s t a t e of a f f a i r s has o b j e c t i v e v a l u e , but he can understand what i t would be l i k e t o t h i n k t h i s way. He may t h i n k there i s something wrong wi t h t h i n k i n g there are o b j e c t i v e l y v a l u a b l e s t a t e s of a f f a i r s (depending on the d e t a i l s of h i s understanding of the concepts involved) or he may j u s t r e g ard i t as simply a d i f f e r e n t way of t h i n k i n g , a l b e i t one which he does not use. In e i t h e r case 123 he c o u l d accept the p r i n c i p l e (the explanatory p r e c e p t ) : (p,A) (If R a p p l i e s to A, then p has a reason to promote A), where R i s the p r e d i c a t e " i s a s t a t e of a f f a i r s to which p a s s i g n s o b j e c t i v e v a l u e . " As we have a l r e a d y seen t h i s does not commit him e i t h e r to a s s i g n i n g o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s h i m s e l f or promoting any s t a t e s of a f f a i r s whatsoever. His judgments about what reasons other people have are e t h i c a l l y n e u t r a l , which i s not to say that he must be a t t i t u d i n a l l y n e u t r a l about what other people do. He may on some occ a s i o n s very much want someone to do what they have reason to do and a t other times want the r e v e r s e . Obviously, t h i s makes h i s use of reason judgments open to misunderstanding s i n c e we normally use s t a t e -ments l i k e "You have (he has) a reason to do A" to counsel or i n d i c a t e our d e s i r e t h a t someone do something. Le t me summarize very b r i e f l y the r e s u l t s of t h i s chapter. I suggested t h a t t h e r e are two main l i n e s of approach i n attempts to show t h a t there i s something wrong wi t h someone's t a k i n g up the a m o r a l i s t o u t l o o k . F i r s t , i t has been suggested t h a t the a m o r a l i s t must be e m o t i o n a l l y d e f e c t i v e , e i t h e r because he i s not endowed with the u s u a l sentiments of sympathy, benevolence, e t c . , or because he l a c k s the f a c u l t y of conscience (or other forms of moral i n s i g h t ) . Secondly, there are arguments which p u r p o r t to show t h a t the a m o r a l i s t i s i r r a t i o n a l or c o n c e p t u a l l y d e f i c i e n t i n some way. A g a i n s t " s e n t i m e n t i s t " t h e o r i e s I have suggested t h a t i t i s not a t a l l c l e a r how emotional responsiveness can underwrite 124 the whole of moral t h i n k i n g . Even i f sympathy, f o r i n s t a n c e , can account f o r a concern f o r o t h e r s , how can i t make sense of the concepts of r i g h t , duty, o b l i g a t i o n , e t c . ? Furthermore, i t i s very d i f f i c u l t to show t h a t anyone who does not f e e l very much f o r the w e l f a r e of ot h e r s i n gen e r a l i s a c t u a l l y d e f e c t i v e and not merely d i f f e r e n t . I n t u i t i o n i s t t h e o r i e s are beset with f a m i l i a r and very s e r i o u s d i f f i c u l t i e s . " R a t i o n a l i s t " t h e o r i e s , on the other hand, seem unable to show e i t h e r t h a t the o b j e c t i v i s t posture e v i d e n t i n moral agency i s r e q u i r e d of r a t i o n a l agents or t h a t i t i s i r r a t i o n a l or con-c e p t u a l l y odd f o r someone to be l i t t l e concerned w i t h o t h e r s ' w e l l being. I t i s p o s s i b l e to make sense of p r a c t i c a l d e l i b e r -a t i o n on a s u b j e c t i v i s t account of the nature of v a l u e s , and none of the formal requirements of r a t i o n a l i t y seem to i n v o l v e the n e c e s s i t y of d e l i b e r a t i n g from the moral p o i n t of view. Nagel's attempt to show t h a t an i n t e g r a t e d s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n r e q u i r e s the adoption of o b j e c t i v e p r i n c i p l e s f a i l s . The sub-j e c t i v i s t and the o b j e c t i v i s t d i f f e r , to be sure, but Nagel does not show t h a t there i s any conceptual s t r e s s on the former. 125 IV OBJECTIVISM AND SUBJECTIVISM 1 O b j e c t i v i s m In the f i r s t c hapter, I o f f e r e d a c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the moral agent i n which I c o n c e n t r a t e d on what seem to me to be h i s two c e n t r a l f e a t u r e s : h i s r e c o g n i t i o n of p r a c t i c a l reasons which are grounded i n the w e l f a r e of other persons, and h i s acceptance of the o b j e c t i v i t y of moral requirements. T h i s suggests t h a t there are two dimensions along which to ex p l o r e the n o t i o n of amoral agency. In Chapter I I , I d i s c u s s e d e g o i s t s s i n c e they are c l e a r cases of persons who are amoral i n v i r t u e of t h e i r d i s r e g a r d f o r o t h e r s . I t remains to i n v e s t i g a t e the o b j e c t i v i t y / s u b j e c t i v i t y dimension, and t h i s w i l l be the task of the next three c h a p t e r s . H e r e a f t e r , then the terms "amoral agent" and " a m o r a l i s t " should be understood to r e f e r to persons who are not moral agents i n v i r t u e of t h e i r adoption of an extreme s u b j e c t i v i s t p o s t u r e . The terms " o b j e c t i v i s m " and " s u b j e c t i v i s m " have been used by moral p h i l o s o p h e r s i n many, o f t e n c o n f l i c t i n g , and o f t e n not very c l e a r ways and more than once the c a l l t o abandon them has been sounded. But, as i s o f t e n the case, the very f a c t t h a t the same terms keep reappearing i n debates which concern some of the most d i f f i c u l t and fundamental problems i n e t h i c s suggests t h a t the problem, whatever i t i s , w i l l not go away simply by our 126 r e f u s i n g t o t a l k about i t i n the terms which so many people have found i t ' n a t u r a l to use. As a f i r s t approximation, the i s s u e over the o b j e c t i v i t y of m o r a l i t y i s whether or not, and i n what sense, there are t h i n g s which are " r e a l l y " r i g h t and wrong, m o r a l l y speaking. Can moral judgments be tr u e or f a l s e ? Are ther e moral t r u t h s , t r u t h s about how t h i n g s ought t o be? When two people d i s a g r e e over some moral matter, must at l e a s t one of them be mistaken? Are the o b l i g a t i o n s and d u t i e s which most people r e c o g n i z e " r e a l l y " b i n d i n g ? Two r e c e n t authors, u n f a s h i o n a b l y perhaps, take these ques t i o n s very s e r i o u s l y . Both J.L. Mackie (1977) and G i l b e r t Harman (1977) suppose, as I do, t h a t there i s a r e a l problem bound up i n the n o t i o n of moral o b j e c t i v i s m , and t h a t the d e n i a l of o b j e c t i v i t y t o morals pres e n t s a c h a l l e n g e t o m o r a l i t y which cannot be taken l i g h t l y . Mackie argues t h a t v a l u e s (and he i n c l u d e s moral val u e s here) are not o b j e c t i v e i n the sense of being a "pa r t of the f a b r i c of the world" (p. 15). T h i s does not mean, of course, t h a t there i s nothing of va l u e i n the world -t h a t the world i s g r o s s l y d e f i c i e n t - but r a t h e r t h a t "there do not e x i s t e n t i t i e s or r e l a t i o n s of a c e r t a i n k i n d , o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s or requirements, which many people have b e l i e v e d to e x i s t " (p. 17). The i s s u e f o r Mackie i s thus e s s e n t i a l l y an o n t o l o g i c a l one, although he does say at one p o i n t t h a t another way of e x p r e s s i n g the c l a i m t h a t there are no o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s i s t o say t h a t value judgments do not have a t r u t h v a l u e , i . e . they are n e i t h e r t r u e nor f a l s e . Mackie notes t h a t c e r t a i n s o r t s o f value judgments, ones i n 127 which there i s i m p l i c i t r e f e r e n c e to some f a i r l y determinate set of standards of e v a l u a t i o n , do have a t r u t h v a l u e determined by whether the o b j e c t they ev a l u a t e s a t i s f i e s the standards or not. But then h i s t h e s i s becomes t h a t those standards themselves l a c k o b j e c t i v e v a l i d i t y . In other words, whether or not v a l u e statements p o s i t or assume the e x i s t e n c e of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y through the o p e r a t i o n of conven-t i o n a l standards, makes no d i f f e r e n c e ; there are no o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s . Harman a l s o understands the o b j e c t i v i t y i s s u e to i n v o l v e the t r u t h of moral judgments and he puts the t h e s i s of o b j e c t i -vism i n terms of the e x i s t e n c e of moral f a c t s . I t i s u s e f u l t o formulate o b j e c t i v i s m more b r o a d l y than e i t h e r Mackie or Harman do i n order to i n c l u d e as o b j e c t i v i s t , t h e o r i e s which deny t h a t moral judgments can be, s t r i c t l y speaking, t r u e or f a l s e . L e t us use the term " c o g n i t i v i s t " to r e f e r to t h e o r i e s which hol d t h a t moral judgments have a t r u t h v a l u e , and the term " n o n - c o g n i t i v i s t " f o r t h e o r i e s which deny t h i s . The i d e a i s to formulate o b j e c t i v i s m as a theory which i s con-s i s t e n t w i t h both c o g n i t i v i s t and n o n - c o g n i t i v i s t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . Thus, having a t r u t h value w i l l be j u s t one way i n which a judgment can be s a i d t o be o b j e c t i v e . L e t us say t h a t an o b j e c t i v e judgment i s one which can be expressed i n a form devo i d of i n d e x i c a l e x p r e s s i o n s such as i :you," "here," "now," e t c . and which can be assessed, or i s i n p r i n c i p l e s u b j e c t t o assessment, by r e f e r e n c e to standards which have v a l i d i t y independently of any p a r t i c u l a r person's b e l i e f s , a t t i t u d e s , p r e f e r e n c e s , and so on. I t i s important t o note t h a t i t i s the 128 standards' v a l i d i t y which i s to be independent of these s u b j e c t i v e f a c t o r s , and not the judgment i t s e l f . The judgment t h a t S a l l y i s angry, f o r example, i s an o b j e c t i v e one j u s t i n case there i s some standard f o r assessing i t which i s v a l i d independently of anyone's " s u b j e c t i v e s t a t e s . " I assume th a t the standard of assessing t h i s s o r t of judgment as f o r other o r d i n a r y empir-i c a l judgments i s , roughly, correspondence w i t h the f a c t s , the r e a l world, the way th i n g s r e a l l y are, or something l i k e t h a t . I t i s the acceptance of the existence of an " e x t e r n a l world" which underwrites the concept of the o b j e c t i v i t y of e m p i r i c a l judgments. We suppose t h a t the standard of e m p i r i c a l t r u t h (correspondence w i t h the f a c t s ) i s independently v a l i d i n the way r e q u i r e d . N a t u r a l i s t i c metamoral t h e o r i e s are ones according to which moral judgments are o b j e c t i v e and can be t r a n s l a t e d , without l o s s of o b j e c t i v e content, i n t o judgments which r e f e r to and assume the e x i s t e n c e of only what we normally c a l l e m p i r i c a l p r o p e r t i e s and r e l a t i o n s . A theory which holds t h a t moral judgments are rep o r t s of the speaker's emotions, f o r example, i s a n a t u r a l i s t i c theory even though such a theory i s o f t e n c l a s s e d as s u b j e c t i v i s t on the grounds that i t r e f e r s to the speaker's s u b j e c t i v e s t a t e s . By " s u b j e c t i v i s m " I w i l l mean j u s t the d e n i a l of o b j e c t -i v i s m . On a n a t u r a l i s t i c theory the standards f o r the assess-ment of moral judgments are i d e n t i c a l l y the same as those f o r o r d i n a r y e m p i r i c a l judgments and the methods of science are the appropriate ones by which we are to conduct the assessment (at l e a s t i f we understand "science" broadly enough).. N a t u r a l i s t 129 t h e o r i e s , then, are i n my terms o b j e c t i v i s t ones. Non-naturalism i s the view t h a t while moral judgments are o b j e c t i v e , they are not t r a n s l a t a b l e i n t o non-moral judgments because moral judgments r e f e r to or assume the e x i s t e n c e o f , p r o p e r t i e s and r e l a t i o n s of a s p e c i a l , e t h i c a l , n o n - e m p i r i c a l k i n d . The c l e a r e s t example, i f not the c l e a r e s t theory, i s to be found i n the non-naturalism of G.E. Moore (1903). P l a t o ' s theory of forms i s another, but more d i f f i c u l t , example. In n o n - n a t u r a l i s t t h e o r i e s , moral judgments have a t r u t h v a l u e and the standard of assessment i s correspondence with the moral f a c t s . I s a i d t h a t n o n - c o g n i t i v i s t as w e l l as c o g n i t i v i s t t h e o r i e s c o u l d be o b j e c t i v i s t and I would l i k e t o b r i e f l y o u t l i n e a theory of the former s o r t . Taking our l e a d from the work of Franz Bretano (1969) and E v e r e t t H a l l (1961), c o n s i d e r a theory i n which moral judgments are taken to express emotions or a t t i t u d e s , but do not r e p o r t on them. Moral judgments a s s e r t nothing but they can be assessed, on t h i s account, a c c o r d i n g to whether or not the emotion or a t t i t u d e i s a p p r o p r i a t e or c o r r e c t . The idea i s t h a t there are v a l i d standards of a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s f o r the s o r t of emotions and a t t i t u d e s expressed by moral judgments. What a t t i t u d e i s a p p r o p r i a t e i n a g i v e n s i t u a t i o n w i l l depend on the o r d i n a r y e m p i r i c a l f a c t s of the case s i n c e i t i s those f a c t s which d i s t i n g u i s h cases i n the f i r s t p l a c e . There i s no need on t h i s theory to p o s t u l a t e any s p e c i a l e t h i c a l p r o p e r t i e s which depend (somehow) on the e m p i r i c a l f a c t s , and t h i s g i v e s i t one advantage over n o n - n a t u r a l i s t t h e o r i e s . Because of the c r u c i a l r o l e of e m p i r i c a l f a c t s , the theory can begin to e x p l a i n 130 why moral language has the a p p a r e n t l y f a c t - s t a t i n g form i t does, and the f a c t t h a t moral debate c e n t r e s as i t does on g e t t i n g the f a c t s agreed on by a l l p a r t i e s and attempting to assess t h e i r r e l e v a n c e . The problem with the theory, however, l i e s i n t r y i n g to understand the concept of immutable standards of appropriate-': ness which d i c t a t e what responses are the r i g h t ones to v a r i o u s s i t u a t i o n s . A s i d e from the e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l d i f f i c u l t y of how we know what the standards are (Brentano thought the emotions come with a k i n d of f e l t c o r r e c t n e s s ) , there i s the q u e s t i o n of the metap h y s i c a l s t a t u s and source of the standard. S i m i l a r d i f f i -c u l t i e s are to be found i n Samuel C l a r k e ' s n o t i o n o f the f i t t i n g -ness of a c t i o n s to the circumstances of t h e i r performance, (Clarke, 1965), but my primary purpose i n developing the o u t l i n e s of the theory i s j u s t t o show t h a t there can be t h e o r i e s which are n o n - c o g n i t i v i s t but o b j e c t i v i s t . There i s one other form of o b j e c t i v i s m which deserves mention as w e l l , s i n c e i t t r a f f i c s i n n e i t h e r t r u t h nor the a p p r o p r i a t e -ness of emotions. Beginning with Kant, a k i n d of theory we might c a l l n o n - t h e o l o g i c a l imperativism has developed a c c o r d i n g to which there are o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d i m p e r a t i v e s which, while not God-given, s e t standards f o r , or c o n s t r a i n t s on, a c t i o n . U s u a l l y these i m p e r a t i v e s are grounded i n some con c e p t i o n of r a t i o n a l i t y , so t h a t anyone who i s r a t i o n a l i s bound to compliance. A c t i o n s are assessed a c c o r d i n g to t h e i r c o n s i s t e n c y with the i m p e r a t i v e s . I t i s p o s s i b l e to d i s t i n g u i s h two types of t h e o r i e s w i t h i n the o b j e c t i v i s t i m p e r a t i v i s t t r a d i t i o n - a c o g n i t i v i s t approach and a n o n - c o g n i t i v i s t one. A c o g n i t i v i s t v e r s i o n might most n a t u r a l l y 1 3 1 take the form of the c l a i m t h a t o r d i n a r y moral judgments are to be understood as s t a t i n g t h a t some a c t i o n conforms to or v i o l a t e s an o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d moral i m p e r a t i v e . A n o n - c o g n i t i v i s t v e r s i o n might h o l d t h a t moral judgments are themselves i m p e r a t i v a l i n nature and are s u b j e c t to assessment a c c o r d i n g to whether or not they express v a l i d i m p e r a t i v e s . Kant, to my knowledge, never s q u a r e l y c o n f r o n t e d the q u e s t i o n of whether or not moral judg-ments have a t r u t h v a l u e , but he c e r t a i n l y d i d t h i n k t h a t a c t i o n s c o u l d be " r e a l l y " wrong i n a very strong sense. Kant's C a t e g o r i c a l Imperative was supposed to r u l e out c e r t a i n maxims of a c t i o n and hence c e r t a i n a c t i o n s themselves. (I should say t h a t I assume t h a t any theory which p r o v i d e s an o b j e c t i v e standard f o r a c t i o n s p r o v i d e s a l l t h a t i s necessary f o r the -evaluation o f moral judgments about a c t i o n s . ) C.I. Lewis' Law of O b j e c t i v i t y (1955, p. 39) was advanced as an imperative and Lewis thought i t had important p r a c t i c a l consequences. Whatever the d e t a i l s of i m p e r a t i v i s t t h e o r i e s of t h i s s o r t , the d i f f i c u l t i e s i n them are the same; e i t h e r there i s a problem i n showing t h a t the fundamental imperatives have enough content to warrant c a l l i n g them moral imperatives a t a l l , or t h e r e i s a problem i n showing t h a t they have the r e q u i s i t e o b j e c t i v i t y . I have argued i n Chapter I I I t h a t i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t i t can be shown t h a t r a t i o n a l i t y can ground any a p p r o p r i a t e i m p e r a t i v e s . I n s o f a r as r a t i o n a l i t y can be thought of as g e n e r a t i n g i m p e r a t i v e s a t a l l they are p u r e l y formal and are q u i t e c o n s i s t e n t w i t h a m o r a l i t y . (For a r e c e n t attempt to p r o v i d e an o b j e c t i v i s t i m p e r a t i v i s t a n a l y s i s of m o r a l i t y , see Bernard Gert's The Moral 132 Rules, i n which i t i s argued t h a t moral r u l e s are v a l i d a t e d by the f a c t t h a t , g i v e n c e r t a i n (morally loaded) c o n s t r a i n t s , a l l r a t i o n a l men would take a c e r t a i n a t t i t u d e towards c e r t a i n s o r t s of a c t i o n s (Gert, 1966).) I do not pretend to have gi v e n a c r y s t a l c l e a r c h a r a c t e r i z a -t i o n of o b j e c t i v i s m , but I am not sure t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e to be e n t i r e l y c l e a r on t h i s matter. I t seems to me t h a t some f a i r l y s t r o n g n o t i o n of o b j e c t i v i t y , such as the one I have t r i e d to expound i s e s s e n t i a l l y i n v o l v e d i n the o r d i n a r y moral c o n s c i o u s -ness of most people and t h i s makes an o b j e c t i v i s t theory of some s o r t the o n l y p o s s i b i l i t y f o r an accurate d e s c r i p t i v e a n a l y s i s of moral d i s c o u r s e . However, I am not at a l l sure t h a t any o b j e c t i v i s t theory can be found which i s a t the same time s a t -i s f a c t o r y on g e n e r a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l grounds. Something should perhaps be s a i d a t t h i s p o i n t about another concept of o b j e c t i v i t y which o f t e n f i n d s i t s way i n t o d i s c u s s i o n s of t h i s s o r t , but which i s to be d i s t i n g u i s h e d from the concept I am concerned w i t h . We sometimes d e s c r i b e persons, and d e r i v a -t i v e l y t h e i r judgments, as being o b j e c t i v e when we wish to p o i n t out the absence of p r e j u d i c e and p e r s o n a l b i a s i n t h e i r c o n s i d -e r a t i o n of some matter. The requirement of o b j e c t i v i t y i n t h i s sense ( o b j e c t i v i t y i n judging) i s one normally p l a c e d on moral d e l i b e r a t i o n , but i t i s b e s t understood, I t h i n k , as a consequence of viewing moral judgments as o b j e c t i v e i n the sense I have been d i s c u s s i n g . B i a s and p r e j u d i c e have no p l a c e i n an attempt to d i s c o v e r and apply i m p e r s o n a l l y v a l i d standards. A c e r t a i n amount of o b j e c t i v i t y i n judging can be embraced as a d e s i r a b l e 133 t h i n g by an a m o r a l i s t s i n c e i t makes p e r f e c t l y good sense f o r him to attempt to s e t a s i d e mere p r e j u d i c e . The amoral agent may w e l l be concerned to ground h i s v a l u a t i o n s i n an a c c u r a t e understanding of the f a c t s . He may, t h a t i s , be i n t e r e s t e d i n e n s u r i n g t h a t h i s v a l u a t i o n s do not unduly c o l o u r or d i s t o r t h i s p e r c e p t i o n s , and i n t h i s sense he may be concerned to be o b j e c t i v e . 2 S u b j e c t i v i s m S u b j e c t i v i s m i s the view t h a t o b j e c t i v i s m i s f a l s e . A s u b j e c t i v i s t theory, then, i s one which denies t h e r e are standards f o r a s s e s s i n g moral judgments which are independent of s u b j e c t i v e f a c t s about the persons making them. Because the d e f i n i n g t e n e t of s u b j e c t i v i s m i s a negative one, there are many v a r i a n t pos-i t i v e c l a i m s about the nature of m o r a l i t y which, when c o n j o i n e d to the negative t h e s i s , y i e l d v a r i o u s forms of s u b j e c t i v i s m . G i l b e r t Harman (1977), p r e f e r r i n g the term "moral n i h i l i s m " to " s u b j e c t i v i s m , " d i s t i n g u i s h e s between moderate and extreme moral n i h i l i s m . Extreme n i h i l i s t s h o l d t h a t " m o r a l i t y i s simply an i l l u s i o n : nothing i s ever r i g h t or wrong, j u s t or u n j u s t , good or bad" (p. 11), and so we ought to abandon m o r a l i t y . Moderate n i h i l i s t s , w h i le agreeing t h a t there are no moral f a c t s , h o l d t h a t "the purpose of moral judgments i s not to d e s c r i b e the world but to express our moral f e e l i n g s or to serve as imperatives we address to o u r s e l v e s and to o t h e r s " (p. 12). Harman t h i n k s , as I do, t h a t n i h i l i s m i n e i t h e r form runs c o n t r a r y to common moral t h i n k i n g and he ends up defending a form of r e l a t i v i s m i n 1 3 4 order t o preserve the p o s s i b i l i t y of t r u t h i n moral judgments. Most s u b j e c t i v i s t t h e o r i e s are forms o f moderate n i h i l i s m although the term i s seldom used by t h e i r defenders f o r obvious reasons. S u b j e c t i v i s t metamoral t h e o r i e s are, of course, a l l non-c o g n i t i v i s t s i n c e one cannot a l l o w t h a t moral judgments have a t r u t h v a l u e without a t the same time r e c o g n i z i n g some standards of t r u t h , and these standards, I take i t , to be standards of t r u t h must be o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d . The d e n i a l o f a t r u t h v alue to moral judgments i s not, as we have seen, a s u f f i c i e n t con-d i t i o n f o r a theory's being s u b j e c t i v i s t . The c l a s s i c statement o f n o n - c o g n i t i v i s m i s found i n the works o f David Hume. He argued t h a t moral judgments express f e e l i n g s and t h e r e f o r e cannot be t r u e or f a l s e . Take any a c t i o n a llow'd to be v i c i o u s : W i l f u l murder, f o r i n s t a n c e . Examine i t i n a l l l i g h t s , and see i f you can f i n d t h a t matter of f a c t , or r e a l e x i s t e n c e , which you c a l l v i c e . In whichever way you take i t , you f i n d o n l y c e r t a i n p a s s i o n s , motives, v o l i t i o n s and thoughts. There i s no other matter o f f a c t i n the case. The v i c e e n t i r e l y escapes you, as long as you con-s i d e r the o b j e c t . You can never f i n d i t , t i l l you t u r n your r e f l e c t i o n i n t o your own br e a s t , and f i n d a sentiment o f d i s a p p r o -b a t i o n , which a r i s e s i n you, towards t h i s a c t i o n . Here i s a matter of f a c t ; but ' t i s the o b j e c t of f e e l i n g , not of reason. I t l i e s i n y o u r s e l f , not i n the o b j e c t . So t h a t when you pronounce any a c t i o n or c h a r a c t e r to be v i c i o u s , you mean nothing, but t h a t from the c o n s t i t u t i o n of your nature you have a f e e l i n g or sentiment of blame from the contemplation of i t . (Hume, 1 8 8 8 , Treatise, pp. 4 6 8 - 9 ) Hume's views have been r e v i v e d by many p h i l o s o p h e r s who were d i s c o n t e n t w i t h attempts to e x p l a i n the sense i n which moral 135 judgments can be tr u e or f a l s e . Unable to subsume moral judg-ments under an e s s e n t i a l l y e m p i r i c i s t theory o f t r u t h and meaning, many were l e d to embrace emotivism - the view t h a t moral judg-ments are but e x p r e s s i o n s of a c t i o n . E m o t i v i s t s o f t e n w r i t e i n o p p o s i t i o n to the o b j e c t i v i s t theory of G.E. Moore and consequently o f t e n f a i l to a p p r e c i a t e the range of a l t e r n a t i v e t h e o r i e s a g a i n s t which they must argue. O b j e c t i v i s m can take many forms but i t s main v i r t u e i s t h a t i t takes very s e r i o u s l y what seems to me to be good evidence t h a t moral judgments i n o r d i n a r y language are taken to express some-t h i n g t r u e or f a l s e (or a t l e a s t something p o s s e s s i n g or l a c k i n g a strong form o f i n t e r p e r s o n a l v a l i d i t y ) . I t i s the f a i l u r e to a p p r e c i a t e t h i s evidence t h a t has proved the most probl e m a t i c aspect of emotivism. E m o t i v i s t s have, somehow, to e x p l a i n the o b j e c t i v e , c o g n i t i v e f l a v o u r of o r d i n a r y moral d i s c o u r s e . One r e c e n t attempt by an e m o t i v i s t to account f o r the apparent o b j e c t i v i t y of moral language deserves mention here. Roger Scruton (1971, " A t t i t u d e s , B e l i e f s and Reasons") argues t h a t moral judgments express a t t i t u d e s ; they do not express p r o p o s i t i o n s which have a t r u t h v a l u e . Moral a t t i t u d e s s a t i s f y t hree c o n d i t i o n s : (1) U n i v e r s a l i t y "Moral a t t i t u d e s always aim beyond the pr e s e n t i n s t a n c e to some prop-e r t y or s t a t e of a f f a i r s as such" (p. 47). (2) O v e r r i d i n g n e s s "Moral a t t i t u d e s have a p a r t i c u l a r ~~ s o r t of a u t h o r i t y over a man ..." (p. 47). (3) N o r m a t i v i t y "[An e m o t i v i s t ] must ... take s e r i o u s l y the f a c t t h a t a man's moral a t t i t u d e s r e f e r beyond him-136 s e l f ; they i n c l u d e a d e s i r e f o r a conformity of a t t i t u d e " (p. 49). "More g e n e r a l l y , moral a t t i t u d e s are concerned w i t h proposing laws to which everyone ... must conform, i n s p e c i f i a b l e c ircumstances.... [A] moral a t t i t u d e w i l l i n c l u d e a d e s i r e to i n f l u e n c e people and persuade them to conformity to one's own moral views" (pp. 49-50). I t i s l a r g e l y because of the n o r m a t i v i t y c o n d i t i o n t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e (indeed necessary) to have reasons f o r having moral a t t i t u d e s . [ I ] f I have a moral a t t i t u d e then I am committed to proposing a law of conduct; as a r e s u l t I am not a t l i b e r t y to construe any 'Why?' - q u e s t i o n [asked about a moral judgment], as a query about my merely p e r s o n a l d e s i r e s ; nor am I a t l i b e r t y to t h i n k t h a t i t does not matter i f such a q u e s t i o n c o u l d not be answered i n a way a c c e p t a b l e to o t h e r s (pp. 75-76). Furthermore, says Scruton: However sharp the i n i t i a l disagreement, no moral argument can proceed without the assumption of some u n d e r l y i n g agreement on the b a s i s o f which one of the p a r t i e s c o u l d be shown to be i n e r r o r . . . . [I.]t can never be proved t h a t there i s an u l t i -mate disagreement about what would count as a good reason f o r an a t t i t u d e . In adducing reasons, t h e r e f o r e , the appear-ance of agreement can be i n d e f i n i t e l y maintained. As a r e s u l t , we might say t h a t the s u b j e c t i v i t y of moral judgments ... i s 'suspended' i n r a t i o n a l d i s c u s s i o n (p. 80). Thus, the i d e a i s t h a t because of the nature of the moral a t t i t u d e and because d i s c u s s i o n can proceed o n l y i f we suspose some common b a s i s of a t t i t u d e , we e f f e c t i v e l y i gnore the f a c t t h a t a t t i t u d e s are b eing expressed and speak as though we are s t a t i n g f a c t s . S i nce we argue assuming a b a s i c agreement, we can t a l k as though the i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e v a l i d i t y of our judgments can be assumed. 137 T h i s approach i s very Humean, r e s t i n g as i t does on the supposi-t i o n t h a t people do agree i n a t t i t u d e , a t l e a s t a t some deep l e v e l . Scruton's defense of emotivism i s the best one I have encount-ered, although a number of q u e s t i o n s can s t i l l be r a i s e d . For example, i s there any content to the idea of a c o n s i d e r a t i o n ' s being "a good reason f o r an a t t i t u d e " b e s i d e s i t s being e f f i c -a c i o u s i n producing or m a i n t a i n i n g t h a t a t t i t u d e i n a g i v e n person or group of persons? In what sense c o u l d someone's a t t i t u d e be " i n e r r o r " except t h a t i t c o u l d be based on f a l s e b e l i e f s ? There may w e l l be a c c e p t a b l e answers to such q u e s t i o n s and Scruton seems to have a t l e a s t r e c o g n i z e d a l l of the f e a t u r e s of m o r a l i t y noted here so f a r . Of e s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t i s h i s con-cept o f suspended s u b j e c t i v i t y which he uses to r e p l a c e the o b j e c t i v i t y of c o g n i t i v i s t approaches. Scruton's c e n t r a l t h e s i s i s t h a t i n moral debate we o n l y seem to f i n d evidence t h a t people t h i n k moral judgments have or can have o b j e c t i v e v a l i d i t y . What i s r e a l l y going on i n moral debate he c l a i m s , i s t h a t people suspend r e c o g n i t i o n of the s u b j e c t i v i t y of those judgments. T h i s c l a i m , however, w i l l not withstand c l o s e s c r u t i n y . In the f i r s t p l a c e , i t must be allowed, I t h i n k , t h a t i f we suspend our s u b j e c t i v i s m we must i n some sense r e c o g n i z e i t , u n l e s s the p o s s i b i l i t y of moral debate r e s t s on an epidemic of s e l f - d e c e p t i o n . Yet, the average man (not to mention, many d i s t i n g u i s h e d p h i l o s o p h e r s ) f i n d s the idea t h a t h i s moral b e l i e f s are r e a l l y e x p r e s s i o n s of h i s own a t t i t u d e s q u i t e unacceptable. Secondly, what Scruton d e s c r i b e s as the 138 assumption of u n d e r l y i n g agreement of a t t i t u d e and which he p o s t u l a t e s as a p r e c o n d i t i o n of moral d i s c u s s i o n seems r a t h e r to be a consequence o f the b e l i e f most people have, t h a t s i n c e there are r i g h t answers to moral problems, reasonable people w i t h enough i n f o r m a t i o n ought to be a b l e to agree on the c o r r e c t r e s o l u t i o n . What does the s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t look l i k e i n Scruton's terms? Although the amoral agent does not s u b s c r i b e t o the n o t i o n of moral t r u t h n e i t h e r does an a n a l y s i s l i k e Scruton's apply to him. ( I t may be t h a t some e m o t i v i s t theory which i s inadequate as an account of moral language can be m o d i f i e d to d e s c r i b e the way the a m o r a l i s t t h i n k s but I lea v e t h i s q u e s t i o n a s i d e u n t i l l a t e r . ) The amoral agent does not have moral a t t i -tudes as Scruton d e s c r i b e s them. His a t t i t u d e s , or a subset of them may s a t i s f y the c o n d i t i o n s of " u n i v e r s a l i t y " and " o v e r r i d -ingness" s i n c e he may have a t t i t u d e s which are d i r e c t e d toward p r o p e r t i e s and s t a t e s of a f f a i r s of c e r t a i n g e n e r a l k i n d s and which have an o v e r r i d i n g m o t i v a t i o n a l e f f i c a c y f o r him, but they do not completely f u l f i l l the c o n d i t i o n of n o r m a t i v i t y . T h i s i s because the amoral agent does not assume an u n d e r l y i n g agree-ment on the b a s i s of which he approaches others to attempt to c o n v e r t them to h i s way of t h i n k i n g . He need not suppose t h a t e i t h e r he, or a person w i t h whose a t t i t u d e s h i s own c o n f l i c t , i s , and can be shown to be, i r r a t i o n a l o r " i n e r r o r . " None of t h i s prevents h i s having and a c t i n g on a d e s i r e to have o t h e r s share h i s a t t i t u d e s , but he need not have and need not a c t on such a d e s i r e . Even i f and when he does, he does so without 139 suspending the s u b j e c t i v i t y of h i s a t t i t u d e s . The amoral agent i s not c o n s t r a i n e d by one of the important consequences of o b j e c t i v i t y , or even suspended s u b j e c t i v i t y , i n m o r a l i t y ; v i z . t h a t someone who makes a moral judgment i s c o n s t r a i n e d to argue w i t h d i s s e n t e r s i n d e f i n i t e l y u n t i l he becomes convinced t h a t h i s i n t e r l o c u t o r i s i r r a t i o n a l , mistaken, incompetent, c o g n i t i v e l y impaired, e t c . The amoral agent makes no p r a c t i c a l judgments which commit him to t h i s . 3 The e r r o r theory John Mackie supports what he c a l l s the e r r o r theory. He says: I f second order e t h i c s were c o n f i n e d , then, to l i n g u i s t i c and conceptual a n a l y s i s , i t ought to conclude t h a t moral v a l u e s a t l e a s t are o b j e c t i v e : t h a t they are so i s p a r t of what our o r d i n a r y moral statements mean: the t r a d i t i o n a l moral concepts of the o r d i n a r y man as w e l l as of the main l i n e of western p h i l o s o p h e r s are concepts of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e . But i t i s p r e c i s e l y f o r t h i s reason t h a t l i n g u i s t i c and con-c e p t u a l a n a l y s i s i s not enough. The c l a i m of o b j e c t i v i t y , however i n g r a i n e d i n our language and thought, i s not s e l f - v a l i d a t i n g . I t can and should be questioned. But the d e n i a l of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s w i l l have to be put forward not as the r e s u l t of an a n a l y t i c approach, but as an ' e r r o r theory', a theory t h a t although most people i n making moral judgments i m p l i c i t l y c l a i m , among other t h i n g s , to be p o i n t i n g to something o b j e c t -i v e l y p r e s c r i p t i v e , these claims are a l l f a l s e . I t i s t h i s t h a t makes the name 'moral s c e p t i c i s m ' a p p r o p r i a t e . (Mackie, 1977, E t h i c s , p. 35) The view t h a t erroneous, confused and even u n i n t e l l i g i b l e assump-t i o n s may be b u i l t r i g h t i n t o o r d i n a r y language i s not a new one. I t i s w i d e l y supposed t h a t when the o r d i n a r y man a t t r i b u t e s 1 4 0 c o l o u r to an o b j e c t he means to say something about i t which i s s t r i c t l y speaking f a l s e . The view t h a t naive r e a l i s m i s b u i l t i n t o our t h i n k i n g and language and t h a t the view i s unacceptable on p h i l o s o p h i c a l grounds i s a l s o w i d e l y h e l d , I t h i n k . Language i s theory laden and the t h e o r i e s i t bears are not o n l y s c i e n t i f i c but a l s o m etaphysical and o n t o l o g i c a l - perhaps a l s o e t h i c a l . Sometimes changes i n t h e o r i e s have l i t t l e o r no e f f e c t on o r d i n a r y langauge, but sometimes l a r g e networks of words and concepts come i n t o use, undergo changes or drop out of use. In the m a j o r i t y of cases a change i n theory has l i t t l e e f f e c t on o r d i n -ary language and we can f o l l o w Berkeley's a d v i c e to speak with the v u l g a r as long as we understand our words i n the c o r r e c t way. The amoral agent can be expected to h o l d h i s p o s i t i o n p a r t l y through h i s acceptance of some form of the e r r o r theory, at l e a s t i f he holds h i s p o s i t i o n r e f l e c t i v e l y . I t w i l l be u s e f u l i n t r y i n g t o understand the a m o r a l i s t ' s p o s i t i o n t o c o n s i d e r b r i e f l y two other areas b e s i d e s morals i n which an e r r o r theory has been i n f l u e n t i a l , and to t r y and draw some p a r a l l e l s between them and the e r r o r theory here under c o n s i d -e r a t i o n . George Berkeley made a v a l i a n t e f f o r t to show, not j u s t t h a t h i s theory of immaterialism i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h common sense, but a l s o t h a t i t r e a l l y i s the theory of the o r d i n a r y man. I t was t h a t r e l a t i v e l y small group of people who had become befuddled through t h e i r acceptance of a thoroughly incom-p r e h e n s i b l e n o t i o n of substance, and not the common man, whose language embodied m e t a p h y s i c a l e r r o r . Indeed, he says from the mouth of P h i l o n o u s : 14.1 I do not pretend to be a s e t t e r - u p of new n o t i o n s . My endeavours tend o n l y to u n i t e , and p l a c e i n a c l e a r e r l i g h t , t h a t t r u t h which was b e f o r e shared between the v u l -gar and the p h i l o s o p h e r s : - the former being of o p i n i o n , t h a t those things they immediately perceive are the real things; and the l a t t e r , t h a t the things immediately perceived are ideas, which exist only in the mind. Which two n o t i o n s put t o g e t h e r , do, i n e f f e c t , c o n s t i t u t e the substance of what I advance. (Berkeley, 1965, Three Dialogues, pp. 224-5) Berkeley's attempt to make of common sense an a l l y i n h i s d e n i a l t h a t p h y s i c a l o b j e c t s have any r e a l and continued e x i s t e n c e o u t s i d e of t h e i r being p e r c e i v e d (whether by men or by God) c l e a r l y f a i l s . I would say t h a t the view (materialism) a g a i n s t which Berkeley argues i s even more f i r m l y entrenched i n o r d i n a r y t h i n k i n g than i s o b j e c t i v i s m i n morals. I t i s more p l a u s i b l e to regard Berkeley's metaphysics as suggesting an e r r o r theory a c c o r d i n g to which o r d i n a r y language about the e m p i r i c a l , p h y s i c a l world i m p l i e s m a t e r i a l i s m , but s i n c e m a t e r i a l i s m i n v o l v e s an untenable metaphysics and i s i n the l a s t a n a l y s i s q u i t e u n i n t e l l i g i b l e , we ought t o abandon, not o r d i n a r y language, but the theory of m a t e r i a l i s m . That i s , on the e r r o r theory, we ought to begin to t h i n k about t h i n g s i n a new way and hence we ought to begin to mean something d i f f e r e n t when, f o r example, we speak of t h i n g s e x i s t i n g somewhere where we are not, or when we r e f e r t o p h y s i c a l laws, or when we ask about causes. None of these need upset any of the a c t u a l p r o j e c t s we normally undertake, although i t w i l l change t h e i r complexion somewhat. In supposing t h a t common sense and o r d i n a r y language are 142 on h i s s i d e , Berkeley i s r a t h e r l i k e a metamoral s u b j e c t i v i s t who c l a i m s not t o see t h a t he stands prima f a c i e c o n t r a d i c t e d by common sense and o r d i n a r y language, and who denies any need to e x p l a i n the o b j e c t i v e f l a v o u r of moral judgments because, he cla i m s i t i s n ' t t here t o begin w i t h . We may s e t out some p a r a l l e l s among p o s s i b l e p o s i t i o n s i n the two debates as f o l l o w s : 1. O r d i n a r y language and common sense imply moral o b j e c t i v i s m and t h a t theory i s a c c e p t a b l e . 2. O r d i n a r y language and common sense imply moral s u b j e c t i v i s m and t h a t theory i s a c c e p t a b l e . 3. O r d i n a r y language and common sense imply moral o b j e c t i v i s m but t h a t theory i s unacceptable. We ought t o r e v i s e our t h i n k i n g w hile r e t a i n i n g m o r a l i t y . A m o r a l i t y i s not the answer. 4. Ord i n a r y language and common sense imply moral o b j e c t i v i s m but t h a t theory i s unacceptable. We ought to abandon m o r a l i t y . I have suggested t h a t Berkeley a c t u a l l y h e l d a p o s i t i o n l i k e 2* but t h a t t h a t p o s i t i o n i s not very p l a u s i b l e . I o f f e r e d him something l i k e 3* as being a p o s i t i o n which i s t r u e r t o the f a c t s about "the o r d i n a r y man." I know of no one who has argued the metamoral p o s i t i o n 2 corresponding to Berkeley's a c t u a l stand i n the m a t e r i a l i s m debate. In both cases the f i r s t and t h i r d 1. * Ordinary language and common sense imply t h a t p h y s i c a l o b j e c t s have a mind-independent e x i s t e n c e and t h a t theory i s ac c e p t a b l e . 2. * Ordinary language and common sense imply immaterialism and t h a t theory i s a c c e p t a b l e . 3.* Ordinary language and common sense imply m a t e r i a l i s m but th a t theory i s unacceptable. We ought t o r e v i s e our t h i n k -in g w h i l e r e t a i n i n g our b e l i e f i n the e x i s t e n c e of a u n i v e r s e which i s independent of our minds. S o l i p s i s m i s not the answer. )4.* Ordinary language and common sense imply m a t e r i a l i s m but t h a t theory i s unacceptable. We should embrace s o l i p s i s m . 143 p o s i t i o n s are the most common. P o s i t i o n 4 i s t h a t o f the moral n i h i l i s t o f the extreme v a r i e t y . With a number of c a u t i o n s and q u a l i f i c a t i o n s which we w i l l encounter l a t e r , i t i s the p o s i t i o n of the a m o r a l i s t . Before commenting f u r t h e r I would l i k e t o i n t r o d u c e one other s o r t of e r r o r theory from another f i e l d . Suppose i t i s argued t h a t there i s an e r r o r b u i l t i n t o t h e o l o g i c a l d i s c o u r s e . C onsider i n p a r t i c u l a r the suggestion t h a t the n o t i o n o f God which i s i m p l i e d i n o r d i n a r y t h e o l o g i c a l language i s one which i s fundamentally confused or even i n c o h e r e n t . Corresponding roughly t o the p o s i t i o n s above, we have the f o l l o w i n g : 1'. T h e o l o g i c a l language i m p l i e s the e x i s t e n c e of a God with p r o p e r t i e s p^ and there i s such a being. 2'. T h e o l o g i c a l language i m p l i e s there i s no God with p r o p e r t i e s p-^  (or perhaps b e t t e r "there i s a God with p r o p e r t i e s where, to keep the p a r a l l e l , the p r o p e r t i e s q i are u n o b j e c t i o n a b l e i n themselves but at the same time not very G o d - l i k e ) . 3'. T h e o l o g i c a l language i m p l i e s the e x i s t e n c e of a God with p r o p e r t i e s Pj_ but nothing does or c o u l d (two p o s i t i o n s ) e x i s t which has those p r o p e r t i e s ( i . e . the theory of God i m p l i e d i n t h e o l o g i c a l language i s un a c c e p t a b l e ) . We ought to r e v i s e our t h i n k i n g about God w hile r e t a i n i n g r e l i g i o n . 4'. T h e o l o g i c a l language i m p l i e s the e x i s t e n c e of a God with p r o p e r t i e s p.j_ but nothin g does or c o u l d e x i s t which has those p r o p e r t i e s . We ought to abandon r e l i g i o n . Here i n the r e l i g i o u s case as i n the o t h e r s , we f i n d a debate over f i r s t , the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f an e s t a b l i s h e d way of speaking and t h i n k i n g , secondly, the a c c e p t a b i l i t y of the theory c o n t a i n e d i n those i m p l i c a t i o n s , and t h i r d l y , the a p p r o p r i a t e response to the u n a c c e p t a b i l i t y of the theory among those who r e j e c t the theory. I t h i n k i t i s c l e a r t h a t nothing i n ge n e r a l can be s a i d 144 i n favour of any of these f o u r s o r t s of p o s i t i o n s (unless to remark t h a t i t i s always wise to a v o i d the h e r o i c course o f attempting to defend what i s r e a l l y a r e v i s i o n i s t t h e s i s by m i s i n t e r p r e t i n g the f a c t s of o r d i n a r y language). The d e c i s i o n w i l l depend on, among oth e r t h i n g s , the d e t a i l s o f the p o s i t i o n and the appeal of the a l t e r n a t i v e s and these f a c t o r s i n t u r n w i l l v ary from context to c o n t e x t . The most i n t e r e s t i n g f e a t u r e o f the t h e o l o g i c a l example f o r our p r e s e n t concerns i s t h a t a l t e r n a t i v e 4' i s a f a i r l y c l o s e p a r a l l e l t o the case of the a m o r a l i s t , s i n c e i t i n v o l v e s the g i v i n g up of a whole realm o f d i s c o u r s e . I t seems to me q u i t e p o s s i b l e t h a t someone might be brought to embrace a l t e r n a t i v e 4' through a c o n s c i e n t i o u s c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the v a r i o u s attempts to p r o v i d e an a n a l y s i s of t h e o l o g i c a l language and i n p a r t i c u l a r to make sense of t a l k about God. Someone c o u l d , I t h i n k , i n a mood of thoroughly r e s p e c t a b l e i n t e l l e c t u a l d e s p a i r over the p o s s i b i l i t y o f f i n d i n g a way o f understanding theology, decide t h a t i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y no way e x i s t s which i s c o n s i s t e n t with not o n l y the o r d i n a r y man's conception of God, but a l s o w i t h any way of p r e s e r v i n g the d i s t i n c t i v e nature o f r e l i g i o n and r e l i g i o u s concerns. That i s , one might conclude t h a t to c a r r y on u s i n g r e l i g i o u s langauge i n the same o l d way w hile t h i n k i n g i n r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t ways, i s u t t e r l y d e s t r u c t i v e of the nature of r e l i g i o n . I t i s important to note t h a t the a n t i r e l i g i o u s c o n v e r s i o n i n t h i s case i s not to be understood as someone's coming to b e l i e v e the p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t God does not e x i s t , where before he b e l i e v e d the c o n t r a r y . Rather, i n the context 145 of t r y i n g t o come to g r i p s w i t h the concept of God, the conceptual framework i n which t a l k about God made, o r seemed t o make, p e r f e c t l y good sense, has crumbled around him, as i t were, l e a v i n g not some new d o c t r i n e , but a v o i d . I t h a r d l y makes sense to suggest to a person i n t h i s s i t u a t i o n to c a r r y on speaking w i t h the v u l g a r - the p o i n t of speaking i n r e l i g i o u s terms has been l o s t . Now some people are ab l e to t o l e r a t e a g r e a t e r degree of i m p r e c i s i o n i n t h e i r concepts than o t h e r s . R e f l e c t i o n s and w o r r i e s which throw i n t o q u e s t i o n a whole realm o f d i s c o u r s e f o r one person might not t r o u b l e another a t a l l . I t i s j u s t a f a c t t h a t some people, f o r example, can f u n c t i o n p e r f e c t l y w e l l (or so i t seems) while being prepared to admit t h a t there may be no way of understanding God or r e l i g i o u s d i s c o u r s e i n g e n e r a l . Indeed i t i s sometimes put forward t h a t an understanding of the s o r t a t h e i s t s seek i s not o n l y not to be had, but i s not to be sought s i n c e "God surpasses a l l understanding." C e r t a i n l y , these are muddy waters and I am not q u a l i f i e d t o wade deeper, but I do t h i n k t h a t no matter what one t h i n k s about the p o s s i -b i l i t y o f , and d e s i r a b i l i t y o f , seeking a f t e r understanding i n the r e l i g i o u s realm, the person d r i v e n to atheism through a p u r s u i t of understanding i s i n t e l l i g i b l e and not to be l i g h t l y d i s m i s s e d as having missed the p o i n t of r e l i g i o n . My r e a l motive f o r d i s c u s s i n g the r e l i g i o u s case a t t h i s l e n g t h i s no doubt apparent. I t h i n k t h a t c o n s i d e r a t i o n s very c l o s e t o those we have encountered i n the r e l i g i o u s e r r o r theory bear on the i s s u e of a m o r a l i t y . I f o r d i n a r y language does 146 imply moral o b j e c t i v i s m and i f there are grave d i f f i c u l t i e s , i f not demonstrable i m p o s s i b i l i t i e s , i n the way of an adequate understanding of moral o b j e c t i v i s m , then the c r u c i a l q u e s t i o n s b e a r i n g on the reasonableness of abandoning m o r a l i t y become whether or not a s u b j e c t i v i s t theory can be found which does not under-mine m o r a l i t y i n the process of r e v i s i n g our t h i n k i n g about i t , and whether i t i s reasonable to h o l d ; o u t . ( i n , s o m e t h i n g . l i k e a g e s t u r e of f a i t h ) on the assumption t h a t , whatever the apparent d i f f i c u l t i e s , an a c c e p t a b l e o b j e c t i v i s t theory w i l l be found, i f o n l y we keep t r y i n g . These q u e s t i o n s are extremely d i f f i c u l t and I s h a l l not pretend to o f f e r d e f i n i t i v e answers to them. My c e n t r a l p r o j e c t , a f t e r a l l , i s t o attempt to g i v e a c h a r a c t e r -i z a t i o n of the amoral agent and to show t h a t i t i s not a l t o g e t h e r an unreasonable response t o c e r t a i n r e f l e c t i o n s on the nature of m o r a l i t y to decide to abandon moral t h i n k i n g a l t o g e t h e r . I am not q u i t e as ambitious as Berkeley. 4 A g a i n s t o b j e c t i v i s m I t i s p r o b a b l y i m p o s s i b l e to show c o n c l u s i v e l y t h a t no theory c o u l d be found which both adequately analyzes o r d i n a r y moral language and t h i n k i n g , and a t the same time i s deemed completely s a t i s f a c t o r y on g e n e r a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l grounds. Perhaps no p h i l o s o p h i c a l theory i s ever completely s a t i s f a c t o r y , but there are c e r t a i n c o n s i d e r a t i o n s which i n c l i n e me to t h i n k t h a t a modicum of added s k e p t i c i s m may be warranted here. However, the most I can do a t t h i s p o i n t i s to survey b r i e f l y the most prominent candidates f o r the source or grounds of the a l l e g e d o b j e c t i v i s m 147 i n moral judgments and to suggest i n each case the problems which must be overcome. Anyone who has a detailed theory at hand w i l l l i k e l y f i n d the discussion f ar too skel e t a l to be t r u l y worri-some but I can hope at least to indicate the area i n which further debate must centre. (i) Empirical truth as the source of o b j e c t i v i t y A n a t u r a l i s t theory i s one according to which moral judg-ments can be translated, for purposes of assessing t h e i r accept-a b i l i t y , into ordinary empirical judgments of one sort or another. Sometimes one finds attempts to e f f e c t the tr a n s l a t i o n by the device of equating e t h i c a l properties (goodness, rightness, etc.) with some non-ethical properties (conducive to hedonic experiences, tending towards the maximal s a t i s f a c t i o n of human desires, e t c . ) . Sometimes the tr a n s l a t i o n i s between whole utterances (e.g., "You ought to ..." becomes "In our society there i s a rule requiring that people . . . " ) . In a l l n a t u r a l i s t theories moral judgments are translated into statements which can, in p r i n c i p l e , be assessed by the ordinary standards of empirical truth and the method i s roughly the method of•"science." One general problem faced by a l l n a t u r a l i s t theories i s that none of the translations seem to capture the meaning of the o r i g i n -a l moral judgment. Of course there i s no need to absolutely i n s i s t that they do, but then there i s the question of just what the re l a t i o n s h i p of the o r i g i n a l moral judgment to the tr a n s l a t i o n comes to, i f i t i s not an i d e n t i t y of meaning. If the notion of a t r a n s l a t i o n i s not the appropriate one, then i t may be possible to argue that the o b j e c t i v i t y of moral judgments i s grounded i n 148 the t r u t h of corresponding e m p i r i c a l statements while remaining uncommitted to the c l a i m t h a t moral judgments are s t r i c t l y speaking t r u e or f l a s e . The idea would be t h a t a moral judgment i s a c c e p t a b l e or c o r r e c t i f (and, presumably, on l y i f ) some e m p i r i c a l statement i s t r u e . Now a dilemma prese n t s i t s e l f . E i t h e r the nature o f the e m p i r i c a l statements i n v o l v e d e x p l a i n s the r e l a t i o n s h i p we have noted between moral judgments and moti-v a t i o n , or i t does not. I f i t does not, one fundamental aspect of m o r a l i t y remains deeply and d i s t u r b i n g l y mysterious. I f i t does, i t seems t h i s must be because those e m p i r i c a l statements r e p o r t f a c t s which are i n t r i n s i c a l l y m o t i v a t i n g . Suppose then t h a t a c e r t a i n moral judgment i s c o r r e c t or a p p r o p r i a t e i f and o n l y i f some e m p i r i c a l statement i s t r u e . Anyone who accepts the t r u t h o f the e m p i r i c a l statement i s thus r a t i o n a l l y bound to accept the moral judgment. But to accept a moral judgment s i n c e r e l y i s to accept a reason and a s u f f i c i e n t motive f o r doing something. What s o r t o f f a c t can be counted on t o operate i n t h i s way? I have a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d what seems to me to be the most s o p h i s t i c a t e d attempt to e s t a b l i s h the conn e c t i o n between f a c t s and the m o t i v a t i o n a l content of moral judgments i n my treatment of the i d e a l observer theory. The b a s i c problem i s t h a t any attempt to ground the o b j e c t -i v i t y of moral judgments i n the e m p i r i c a l f a c t s tends to ignore the f a c t t h a t people are not a c t u a l l y motivated by the same t h i n g s . T h i s means t h a t we must g i v e up the i n t e r p e r s o n a l v a l i d i t y of moral judgments or d i s q u a l i f y c e r t a i n people's r e a c t i o n s to the f a c t s on some grounds or ot h e r . The d i f f i c u l t y 149 i n the l a t t e r i s to a v o i d l o a d i n g the d i c e i l l e g i t i m a t e l y , ( i i ) Non-empirical t r u t h as the source of o b j e c t i v i t y Even l e s s s a t i s f a c t o r y are t h e o r i e s which p o s i t the e x i s t -ence of odd o n t o l o g i c a l e n t i t i e s , be they o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s or non-natural goodness. J.L. Mackie (1977), d i r e c t s v i r t u a l l y a l l of h i s a n t i - o b j e c t i v i s m arguments a g a i n s t such t h e o r i e s . I have noth i n g to add to the chorus of v o i c e s which has been r a i s e d a g a i n s t non-naturalism. I f Occam's r a z o r ought to be a p p l i e d f o r the e x c i s i o n of unnecessary e n t i t i e s , a much l e s s d e l i c a t e instrument i s r e q u i r e d t o e l i m i n a t e u n i n t e l l i g i b l e ones. I should say, however, t h a t i f I c o u l d b r i n g myself to accept and perhaps understand such e n t i t i e s , I expect I would have a very good a n a l y s i s of m o r a l i t y indeed. The appeal of a Moorean a n a l y s i s which takes o r d i n a r y language very s e r i o u s l y can be l a r g e l y accounted f o r by two t h i n g s . F i r s t , moral l a n g -uage i s i n d i c a t i v e i n form and obeys the o r d i n a r y l o g i c of i n d i c a t i v e sentences, and t h i s makes the c a t e g o r i e s of t r u t h and f a l s e h o o d n a t u r a l ones to apply. Secondly, common sense suggests t h a t the way to understand the n o t i o n of t r u t h i s i n terms of correspondence between judgments or sentences or propos-i t i o n s and "the way t h i n g s a r e " (the f a c t s ) . What c o u l d be more i n harmony wi t h the o r d i n a r y man's use of moral language than a t h e o r y which holds out the p o s s i b i l i t y o f j u s t the s o r t o f correspondence he assumes i s p o s s i b l e i n other realms of d i s c o u r s e ? The most promising l i n e o f development f o r a concept of no n - e m p i r i c a l t r u t h probably l i e s i n the attempt t o generate a g e n e r a l theory of t r u t h which has some form of correspondence 150 theory as a s p e c i a l case f o r e m p i r i c a l c l a i m s , but I cannot adequately d e a l w i t h t h a t i d e a here. ( i i i ) U n i v e r s a l i t y of.sentiment as the source of O b j e c t i v i t y I have a l r e a d y had something to say i n Chapter I I I about t h e o r i e s which p o s i t the u n i v e r s a l e x i s t e n c e of a moral sense i n persons and I have nothing t o add here. The idea that we come equipped, as i t were, wi t h some s p e c i a l a b i l i t y to d i s c e r n through some emotional response the c o r r e c t standards o f a c t i o n f o r human beings i s not very p l a u s i b l e . The evidence f o r the e x i s t e n c e of anything l i k e a moral sense i s very sketchy. When the i n f l u -ence of oth e r p o s s i b l e sources of what may appear to be the o p e r a t i o n of a n a t u r a l and a u t h o r i t a t i v e moral sense are taken i n t o account, the r e s i d u e seems unimpressive. Much more s o p h i s t i c a t e d forms o f the s e n t i m e n t a l i s t theory can be formulated. For example, i t might be argued t h a t i t i s i n the v e r y nature o f man t o l i v e s o c i a l l y and i t i s not o n l y to be expected t h a t people w i l l l e a r n to care f o r the woe and weal of t h e i r f e l l o w s i n ways which are e x p r e s s i b l e i n the requirements of m o r a l i t y , but t h a t the o n l y t r u l y human e x i s t e n c e p o s s i b l e t o man c o n s i s t s i n h i s l e a d i n g a l i f e i n which these sentiments e x e r t t h e i r i n f l u e n c e to a gi v e n extent. Thus, i t i s not j u s t t h a t most people happen to share c e r t a i n emotional or a t t i t u d i n a l responses to c e r t a i n s i t u a t i o n s which i s import-ant f o r p r o v i d i n g the standards f o r a c t i o n . Rather i t i s the f a c t t h a t these emotional responses r e p r e s e n t the core of being human or a t l e a s t an important p a r t of the core. To be s u b j e c t to the requirements of m o r a l i t y i s to be s u b j e c t to the promptings 151 of one's t r u l y human nature. The standard for assessment of moral judgments i s t h e i r conformity with the prompting of an ide a l human emotional set. The theory needs to be fleshed out consid-erably, of course, but the c r u c i a l elements are the positing of a t r u l y human sort of emotional makeup and the claim that i t i s that makeup which explains both why moral judgments have the motivational e f f i c a c y they do, and the idea that everyone i s at bottom subject to the same objective requirements. There i s c e r t a i n l y something appealing about t h i s sort of approach but i t r e l i e s on ignoring or downplaying the valuational character of the notion of being " t r u l y human." The attempt to ground morality i n some conception of an ideal human nature i s i n t e r e s t i n g , but i t must be kept i n mind that what one gets i s not s t r i c t l y speaking an objective morality unless i t can be shown that the ide a l i s an ideal independently of anyone's embracing i t . One might be forgiven for suspecting that there i s as much i n our t r u l y human nature which i s destructive to morality as there i s to support i t . However persuasive descriptions of an ide a l are, I do not see how i t can be shown that i t has any v a l i d i t y other than the r e l a t i v e v a l i d i t y i t may have for persons who actually accept i t as t h e i r own i d e a l . Even the notion of health, broadened perhaps to include such things as emotional health, s p i r i t u a l health and psychological health, rests on either the concept of function or of purpose, and i t i s d i f f i c u l t to see how i t can be argued that the emotional or a t t i t u d i n a l responses and s e n s i t i v i t i e s of the healthy person are those which underlie 152 m o r a l i t y , e s p e c i a l l y i f one co n c e n t r a t e s on the requirement t h a t the con c e p t i o n s o f f u n c t i o n o r purpose must be v a l u a t i o n -a l l y n e u t r a l or a t l e a s t u n i v e r s a l . I do not doubt t h a t there i s some con c e p t i o n of an i d e a l human nature a t the bottom of most people's t h i n k i n g about m o r a l i t y but I do doubt t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e t o make very good sense of the i d e a of t h a t i d e a l ' s o b j e c t i v e v a l i d i t y . (iv) U n i v e r s a l i t y of s u b j e c t i v e v a l u a t i o n s as the ground of  o b j e c t i v i t y I f i t c o u l d be shown t h a t everyone does, or has reason t o , valu e something or some s e t of t h i n g s and t h a t t h a t something e i t h e r i s in t r i n s i c a l l y , moral (e.g., the maximization o f human d e s i r e s a t i s f a c t i o n ) o r co u l d be a t t a i n e d o n l y through the adoption of moral v a l u e s ( i . e . , v a l u e s which are such t h a t anyone pursuing them i s a u t o m a t i c a l l y a moral agent) then i t c o u l d perhaps be maintained t h a t moral judgments are o b j e c t i v e i n the sense t h a t anyone who understands what he has reason *• to do would adopt a moral outlook or perhaps even c e r t a i n moral p r i n c i p l e s . I f , f o r example, m o r a l i t y n e c e s s a r i l y p o i n t e d the way to a s t a t e of a f f a i r s i n which everyone would be b e t t e r o f f than under any other arrangement, and i f anyone always has o v e r r i d i n g l y good reason to do what w i l l make him b e t t e r o f f , then i t would be p l a u s i b l e to argue t h a t i t i s i n the very nature of human e x i s t e n c e t h a t moral t h i n k i n g f i n d s i t s source. T h i s approach c o u l d take a t l e a s t two broad forms. E i t h e r i t c o u l d be h e l d t h a t t h e r e " r e a l l y " a re reasons which are independent of what people a c t u a l l y count as reasons ( i . e . , some 153 t h i n g s j u s t a r e r e a s o n s a n d some a r e n o t , i n d e p e n d e n t l y o f w h a t p e o p l e f i n d i m p o r t a n t ) o r i t c o u l d be h e l d t h a t a s a m a t t e r o f f a c t ( p e r h a p s o f v e r y d e e p f a c t ) p e o p l e a l l " r e a l l y " do a g r e e on w h a t c o u n t s a s a r e a s o n o r .would i f t h e y h a d e n o u g h i n f o r m a t i o n . I n C h a p t e r I I , I d i s c u s s e d t h e a t t e m p t t o g r o u n d m o r a l i t y i n a u n i v e r s a l e g o i s t i c c o n c e r n a n d f o u n d i t w a n t i n g ; y e t s e l f -i n t e r e s t seems t o be t h e b e s t c a n d i d a t e f o r a u n i v e r s a l l y s h a r e d p r o p e n s i t y . A r g u m e n t s t h a t p e o p l e h a v e " r e a l " c o n c e r n s w h i c h may be q u i t e i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h w h a t t h e y a c t u a l l y seem t o c o n c e r n t h e m s e l v e s w i t h , f a c e t h e p r o b l e m o f g i v i n g c o n t e n t t o t h e i d e a o f a n u n v a l u e d v a l u e . T h e r e i s v e r y g o o d e v i d e n c e t h a t p e o p l e do h a v e p r e t t y much t h e same s o r t s o f c o n c e r n s a n d t h a t t h e r e i s a r e l a t i v e l y s m a l l c l a s s o f v a l u e s i n t e r m s o f w h i c h v i r t u a l l y a l l human a c t i o n c a n be u n d e r s t o o d . T h e r e i s n o t h i n g p a r t i c u l a r l y s u r p r i s i n g i n t h i s , b u t n e i t h e r i s t h e r e a n y t h i n g v e r y h e l p f u l t o t h o s e who w o u l d a t t e m p t t o g r o u n d m o r a l i t y i n i t . E v e n i f p e o p l e v a l u e p r e t t y much t h e same s o r t s o f t h i n g s , i t w o u l d be n e c e s s a r y t o show t h a t c e r t a i n v a l u e s ought t o t a k e p r e c e d e n c e o v e r o t h e r s , t h a t v a l u e s ought t o be a g g r e g a t e d i n c e r t a i n w a y s , a n d so o n . Any c o n c e r n s w h i c h a r e u n i v e r s a l a r e v e r y g e n e r a l a n d t h e r e l a t i o n -s h i p among them i s f a r f r o m u n i v e r s a l l y u n i f o r m . B u t e v e n i f t h e r e w e r e a g e n e r a l c o n g r u i t y o f v a l u a t i o n s , i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o s e e how s u c h d i s t i n c t i v e l y m o r a l n o t i o n s a s t h o s e o f d u t y and o b l i g a t i o n c a n be g i v e n a f o o t h o l d i n t h i s f a c t w i t h o u t b e i n g c o n t o r t e d i n t h e p r o c e s s . O b l i g a t i o n s a n d d u t i e s h a v e more a u t h o r i t y i n t h e o r d i n a r y m o r a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a n c a n be 154 grounded i n f a c t s of what people happen to f i n d important. I have been arguing t h a t i t i s d i f f i c u l t to f i n d any-adequate grounding f o r a very strong f o r m u l a t i o n of o b j e c t i v i s m . I have not, and c o u l d not, prove t h a t the attempt must necessar-i l y f a i l nor t h a t i t has been or must be without v a l u e . And even i f strong o b j e c t i v i s m cannot be g i v e n unshakeable founda-t i o n s t h e r e may w e l l be t h e o r i e s which can support the o b j e c t i v i s t posture of moral agency. Whether these t h e o r i e s t u r n out to be s t r i c t l y speaking s u b j e c t i v i s t ones, i n my terms, i s not, of course, the important i s s u e . What matters i s the impact they have on moral concepts and ways of t h i n k i n g . In Chapter VI, I c o n s i d e r the p o s s i b i l i t y of someone's a c c e p t i n g a ( s t r i c t l y ) s u b j e c t i v i s t a n a l y s i s of moral concepts which i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the o b j e c t i v i s t f l a v o u r o f moral d i s c o u r s e . 5 The problems i n metamoral s u b j e c t i v i s m I have suggested t h a t o b j e c t i v i s t metamoral t h e o r i e s , however w e l l they r e f l e c t the form and meaning of o r d i n a r y moral d i s c o u r s e , are s u b j e c t to c r i t i c i s m on the grounds of a g e n e r a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l concern f o r c l a r i t y and i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y . I should l i k e now to t u r n to an examination of some o f the problems which must be faced by s u b j e c t i v i s t t h e o r i e s . In t h i s s e c t i o n I c o n c e n t r a t e on t h e o r i e s which p u r p o r t to g i v e a non-r e v i s i o n i s t account of m o r a l i t y , and i n the next s e c t i o n I w i l l d e a l w i t h t h e o r i e s which see some problem w i t h o r d i n a r y moral t h i n k i n g and language and which are e s s e n t i a l l y r e v i s i o n i s t i n s p i r i t . 155 I f I am r i g h t i n c l a i m i n g t h a t the o b j e c t i v i s t form of moral language i s not merely a s u r f a c e phenomenon but r a t h e r r e f l e c t s a deep acceptance of some k i n d o f o b j e c t i v i s m on the p a r t of moral agents, i t i s to be expected t h a t the main problems w i t h metamoral s u b j e c t i v i s m w i l l c e n t r e on i t s f a i l u r e to p r o v i d e an adequate i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h a t f a c t . A s u b j e c t i v i s t must pr o v i d e not o n l y an e x p l a n a t i o n of the o b j e c t i v e f l a v o u r of moral language, but a l s o an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of i t i n terms which are c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the d e n i a l of the o b j e c t i v i s t t h e s i s i t s e l f . I have d i s c u s s e d Roger Scruton's attempt to do j u s t t h i s u s i n g the concept of suspended s u b j e c t i v i t y and I have argued t h a t h i s account f a i l s . Since I t h i n k t h a t h i s theory i s the bes t attempt t o defend e m o t i v i s t s u b j e c t i v i s m a g a i n s t the charge o f i n c o n s i s t e n c y w i t h o r d i n a r y language, I w i l l add nothing ( f u r t h e r here. There . i s , however, another form of s u b j e c t i v i s m which has r e c e i v e d widespread a t t e n t i o n and which deserves comment. I d i s c u s s e d e a r l i e r the s t r a i n o f o b j e c t i v i s t i m p e r a t i v i s m which derives,, from Kant, but the r e are a l s o s u b j e c t i v i s t v e r s i o n s of the i m p e r a t i v i s t approach. R.M. Hare (1963) argues, f o r example, t h a t moral judgments are e s s e n t i a l l y p r e s c r i p t i v e but t h a t there i s no o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d standard which e x i s t s f o r a s s e s s i n g them which i s independent of i n d i v i d u a l persons' d e s i r e s , p r e f e r e n c e s , b e l i e f s , e t c . Hare speaks of moral agency i n terms of " p l a y i n g the moral game" and he r e c o g n i z e s the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t not everyone w i l l o r even need p l a y the game. (P l a y i n g the game, as Hare c o n c e i v e s of i t i n v o l v e s u s i n g moral language a c c o r d i n g 156 to c e r t a i n r u l e s . ) O r d i n a r i l y , I t h i n k , i t i s supposed t h a t w h ile someone may not p l a y the game of m o r a l i t y , not p l a y i n g i n v o l v e s making a mistake i n some sense. Another way of p u t t i n g the p o i n t i s to say t h a t we o r d i n a r i l y suppose t h a t everyone i s s u b j e c t to the demands of m o r a l i t y , t h a t everyone ought to p l a y the game whether they do or not - i n some sense i t i s not o p t i o n a l whether one i s i n or out. But f u r t h e r , a c c o r d i n g to Hare, even i n the case of those who enter the moral arena, there are no o b j e c t i v e standards f o r e v a l u a t i n g the moral pronounce-ments of p a r t i c i p a n t s . Moral judgments can be assessed o n l y by r e f e r e n c e to r e a s o n i n g r u l e s which operate on f a c t s about persons' " s u b j e c t i v e s t a t e s . " Hare says: The r u l e s of moral reasoning are, b a s i c a l l y , two, corresponding to the two f e a t u r e s of moral judgments which I argued f o r i n the f i r s t h a l f of t h i s book, p r e s c r i p t i v i t y , and u n i v e r s a l i z a b i l i t y . When we are t r y i n g , i n a concrete case, to d e c i d e what we ought to do, what we are l o o k i n g f o r (as I have a l r e a d y said) i s an a c t i o n to which we can commit o u r s e l v e s ( p r e s c r i p t i v i t y ) but which we are a t the same time prepared to accept as e x e m p l i f y i n g a p r i n c i p l e of a c t i o n to be p r e s c r i b e d f o r o t h e r s i n l i k e circumstances ( u n i v e r s a l i z a -b i l i t y ) . I f , when we c o n s i d e r some proposed a c t i o n , we f i n d t h a t , when u n i v e r s a l i z e d , i t y i e l d s p r e s c r i p t i o n s which we cannot accept, we r e j e c t t h i s a c t i o n as a s o l u t i o n to our moral problem - i f we cannot u n i v e r s a l i z e the p r e s c r i p t i o n i t cannot become an 'ought'. (Hare, 1963, Freedom and Reason, pp. 89-90) The e s s e n t i a l o b j e c t i o n to Hare's a n a l y s i s i s t h a t i t allows i n p r i n c i p l e u n r e s o l v a b l e moral disagreement. Of course i t i s no argument a g a i n s t a metamoral theory t h a t i t f a i l s to show how a c t u a l d i s p u t a n t s i n a moral debate can come to an agreement, but i t i s an o b j e c t i o n to a theory t h a t i t leaves no room f o r the 157 notion of one person's contradicting another's moral judgment in cases where both parties are engaged i n serious moral d i s -cussion following the rules of the moral language game. That i s , an adequate descriptive metamoral theory must allow the p o s s i b i l i t y of there being, and ought to provide some way of understanding, genuinely contradictory moral judgments. Hare's analysis does allow that moral judgments can be c o n f l i c t i n g i n roughly the way that commands can be c o n f l i c t i n g but I think that ordinary moral thinking requires more than t h i s . According to Hare, moral judgments can be c r i t i c i z e d along two dimensions. F i r s t , i f a person who makes a judgment does not embrace the universalized judgment that applies to anyone, then he i s required to withdraw the judgment or to admit that i t i s not a moral judgment at a l l . Secondly, i f the person does not embrace the p r e s c r i p t i v e implications of his judgment i n the f u l l range of actual and hypothetical cases, then again he must with-draw his o r i g i n a l judgment, as a moral one. No doubt t h i s does provide a good deal of leverage on persons who are concerned to defend themselves morally, but there i s some question whether i t goes far enough. Hare himself revealingly chooses to c a l l persons who pass the tests proposed but who do so only by being prepared (hypothetically) to endure the painful personal con-sequences of t h e i r moral p r i n c i p l e s (putting t h e i r "ideals" above t h e i r comfort as i t were), " f a n a t i c s . " That suggests a recognition that there i s actually more to playing the moral game that Hare sometimes allows (in p a r t i c u l a r that i t involves displaying a concern for the welfare of others). 158 What would be r e q u i r e d to t u r n the bare bones t h e s i s o f " u n i v e r s a l p r e s c r i p t i v i s m " i n t o a v i a b l e metamoral theory? F i r s t , I t h i n k t h a t a concern f o r the w e l f a r e of persons must be somehow b u i l t i n t o the moral language game. Secondly, the methods of c r i t i c i z i n g moral judgments must be i n p r i n c i p l e t i g h t enough to ensure t h a t i n "morally charged" s i t u a t i o n s t h e r e i s a f a i r l y narrow range o f a c c e p t a b l e a c t i o n s . F i n a l l y , moral requirements must be b i n d i n g on everyone independently of whether they choose to p l a y the moral game or not. Hare a c t u a l l y goes some way toward d e v e l o p i n g a theory along these l i n e s i n the chapter on U t i l i t a r i a n i s m i n Freedom and Reason. In d e a l i n g w i t h the q u e s t i o n of what i s to count as being prepared to embrace the u n i v e r s a l i z e d prescriptions e n t a i l e d by one's moral judgments he says: For i f my a c t i o n i s going to a f f e c t the i n t e r e s t s of a number of people, and I ask myself what course o f a c t i o n I can pre-s c r i b e u n i v e r s a l l y f o r people i n j u s t t h i s s i t u a t i o n , then what I s h a l l have to do, i n order to answer t h i s q u e s t i o n , i s to put myself i m a g i n a t i v e l y i n the p l a c e of the other p a r t i e s (or, i f they are many, of a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e sample of them) and ask the same s o r t of qu e s t i o n s as we made the c r e d i t o r ask when he had imagined h i m s e l f i n the s i t u a t i o n o f h i s debtor. And the considerations; t h a t weigh with me i n t h i s i n q u i r y can onl y be, How much (as I imagine myself i n the p l a c e o f each man i n turn) do I want to have t h i s , or t o a v o i d t h a t ? But when I have been the round o f a l l the a f f e c t e d p a r t i e s , and come back, i n my own person, t o make an i m p a r t i a l moral judgment g i v i n g equal weight to the i n t e r e s t s o f a l l p a r t i e s , what can I poss-i b l y do except advocate t h a t course which w i l l , taken a l l i n a l l , l e a s t f r u s t r a t e the d e s i r e s which I have imagined myself having? But t h i s ( i t i s p l a u s i b l e to go on) i s to maximize s a t i s f a c t i o n s (p. 123). 159 I f to t e s t one's moral judgment i n v o l v e s i m a g i n a t i v e l y t a k i n g on everyone's p o s i t i o n ( i g n o r i n g one's i n t e r e s t s , i n c l i n -a t i o n s , e t c . except to count them as someone's), then anyone should, i f the e x e r c i s e i s a c o n c e i v a b l e one a t a l l , a r r i v e a t the same answer. The maneuver, then, e f f e c t i v e l y s a t i s f i e s the f i r s t two requirements the bare bones theory f a i l e d to f u l f i l l . There i s s t i l l the matter of e n t e r i n g the moral language game, however. That we o r d i n a r i l y suppose our moral judgments to a p p l y to anyone r e g a r d l e s s o f whether they are prepared to enter moral debate (provided o f course they are moral (not non-moral) agents) i s f a i r l y c l e a r I t h i n k . Hare, however, has very l i t t l e to say on t h i s p o i n t . Because what he o f f e r s i s a method of a s s e s s i n g the moral judgments of persons who are w i l l i n g to make them, i n terms o f t h e i r s i n c e r i t y , s e n s i t i v e n e s s , and informed-ness, the r e s u l t s of the assessments w i l l get a g r i p o n l y on those persons. The judgment Jones makes t h a t Smith ought to pay h i s debts then i s r e l e v a n t to Smith o n l y i f Smith i s prepared to e n ter the debate a c c o r d i n g to the r u l e s o f the game. I f Smith o f f e r s the judgment t h a t he ought not to pay Jones we have a moral debate, and Hare's f l e s h e d - o u t theory holds some promise of t h ere being a determinate r e s o l u t i o n . The r e s o l u t i o n w i l l have the form of the d i s c o v e r y of some p r i n c i p l e which Jones and Smith and any other moral agent w i l l adopt. The r e s o l u t i o n w i l l not, however, i n v o l v e the d i s c o v e r y o f a p r i n c i p l e which has o b j e c t i v e v a l i d i t y s i n c e the o n l y k i n d o f v a l i d i t y i t has, i t has i n v i r t u e of the ( s u b j e c t i v e ) acceptance by the p a r t i e s i n -v o l v e d of the r u l e s of moral r e a s o n i n g . What i s r e q u i r e d t o 160 a t t a i n o b j e c t i v i t y i n moral judgments (and I t h i n k the l a c k o f o b j e c t i v i t y s i g n a l s a f a i l u r e i n the theory to d e s c r i b e moral t h i n k i n g the way we f i n d i t o p e r a t i n g i n the r e a l world) i s some demonstration of the n e c e s s i t y of p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the moral debate. I t i s t h i s l a s t step which seems insurmountable. 6 R e v i s i o n i s t t h e o r i e s No doubt some readers w i l l be p u z z l e d a t the s t r e s s I have p l a c e d on the i s s u e o f o b j e c t i v i t y , e i t h e r because they r e g a r d i t as obvious t h a t my o b j e c t i v i t y requirement i s - t o o s t r o n g and t h a t I have gone too f a r i n a t t r i b u t i n g a c e n t r a l s t a t u s to i t i n my c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f o r d i n a r y moral d i s c o u r s e , or because i t seems a simple matter to c o r r e c t the e r r o r by which strong o b j e c t i v i t y has come to be a p a r t of our p r e r e f l e c t i v e moral consciousness. I t i s my experience t h a t most people can be brought to r e c o g n i z e the k i n d of o b j e c t i v i t y I have been d i s -c u s s i n g i n t h e i r own moral t h i n k i n g and t h a t they r e a c t r a t h e r s t r o n g l y to the suggestion t h a t t h i n g s might go on p r e t t y much as b e f o r e even i f they g i v e up t h a t f e a t u r e . L e t us assume i n t h i s s e c t i o n t h a t there i s a s i g n i f i c a n t o b j e c t i v e element i n moral language and t h i n k i n g g e n e r a l l y , and c o n s i d e r -the p o s s i b i l i t y o f c o n s t r u i n g the work of s u b j e c t i v i s t s as r e v i s i o n i s t i n s p i r i t . Although most s u b j e c t i v i s t s have not su b s c r i b e d to what I have c a l l e d the e r r o r theory, a few, i n c l u d i n g R. Robinson (1948) , Mackie (1977), and Hume, on some i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s , have. R e v i s i o n i s t t h e o r i e s are much more d i f f i c u l t to assess than d e s c r i p t i v i s t t h e o r i e s s i n c e what w i l l 161 c o n s t i t u t e a n a c c e p t a b l e r e v i s i o n t o o r d i n a r y t h i n k i n g w i l l d e p e n d o n s u c h t h i n g s a s h o w g r e a t a c h a n g e i s r e q u i r e d , h o w t h e p u r p o s e o f m o r a l t h i n k i n g i s c o n c e i v e d , a n d s o o n , a n d t h e r e m a y w e l l b e i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s a l o n g t h e s e d i m e n s i o n s . T h e m o s t I c a n h o p e t o d o h e r e i s t o s u g g e s t s o m e o f t h e f e a t u r e s a n d f u n c t i o n s o f m o r a l i t y w h i c h s e e m t o m e t o b e u n d e r w r i t t e n b y t h e n o t i o n t h a t m o r a l j u d g m e n t s a r e o b j e c t i v e a n d t h e r e f o r e w h i c h c a n b e e x p e c t e d t o f o u n d e r t o a g r e a t e r o r l e s s e r e x t e n t s h o u l d a s u b j e c t i v i s t a n a l y s i s b e a d o p t e d . T h e n I w i l l e x a m i n e b r i e f l y s o m e w a y s w h i c h h a v e b e e n s u g g e s t e d t o a v o i d t h e s e s u b v e r s i v e t e n d e n c i e s w i t h i n a s u b j e c t i v i s t f r a m e w o r k . T h e a s s u m p t i o n o f o b j e c t i v i t y i n m o r a l s h a s a d u a l i m p o r t a n c e . O n t h e o n e h a n d , i t h o l d s o u t t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f s t r o n g l y j u s t i f y i n g i n d i v i d u a l a c t i o n s a n d , m o r e i m p o r t a n t l y , s o c i a l c u s t o m s , l a w s a n d i n s t i t u t i o n s . T h e i d e a t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s h a v e " r e a l " o b j e c t i v e l y g r o u n d e d o b l i g a t i o n s a n d d u t i e s t o o n e a n o t h e r a n d t o a " m o r a l l y l e g i t i m a t e " g o v e r n m e n t , i s a p o w e r f u l s o c i a l t o o l . T h e a b i l i t y t o f a l l b a c k o n s o m e n o t i o n o f o b j e c t i v i t y i n t h e s e m a t t e r s l e n d s a n i m p o r t a n t f o r c e t o a t t e m p t s t o k e e p s o c i e t y " o n t h e r a i l s , " s o t o s p e a k , w h e n s o m e o f i t s m e m b e r s v i o l a t e t h e e x p e c t a t i o n s o f t h e p o p u l a c e a t l a r g e . A " Y o u o u g h t . . . " ( a s a n a u t h o r i t a t i v e b u t i m p e r s o n a l d e m a n d ) i s a t t h e s a m e t i m e e a s i e r t o i m p o s e a n d e a s i e r t o a c c e p t g r a c e f u l l y t h a n a " W e w a n t T h e a b i l i t y t o a p p e a l t o t h e o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s o f l i b e r t y , p e a c e , a n d j u s t i c e i s a n i m p o r t a n c e s o c i a l f o r c e . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , t h e i d e a t h a t t h e r e a r e " r e a l l y " r i g h t a n d w r o n g m o d e s o f b e h a v i o u r c o m b i n e d w i t h t h e d i f f i c u l t y o f 162 knowing w i t h c e r t a i n t y j u s t what i s r i g h t and wrong c r e a t e s an a t m o s p h e r e , i d e a l l y anyway, i n w h i c h r a t i o n a l , d i s i n t e r e s t e d , and a s f a r as p o s s i b l e d i s p a s s i o n a t e , d i s c u s s i o n a p p e a r s as t h e a p p r o p r i a t e method f o r r e s o l v i n g d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e m o r a l r e a l m . The a s s u m p t i o n o f o b j e c t i v i t y a l s o a f f e c t s t h e a t m o s p h e r e o f d e b a t e s i n t h e p u b l i c f o rum. I f p o l i t i c a l and q u a s i - p o l i t i c a l q u e s t i o n s a r e a t l e a s t i n l a r g e measure s u p p o s e d t o be d e a l t w i t h by c o n s i d e r i n g t h e m o r a l i s s u e s i n v o l v e d , t h e i n f l u e n c e o f power and i n t e r e s t g r o u p s c a n be e x p e c t e d t o be m i n i m i z e d o r c o n t r o l l e d . Under i d e a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s t h e r e s o l u t i o n c a n be a d v e r t i z e d as t h e b e s t a t t e m p t o f t h e b e s t minds t o d e t e r m i n e t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s o f m o r a l i t y and e v e r y o n e c a n be e x p e c t e d t o a c c e p t t h e r e s u l t s as t h e c o n s c i e n t i o u s l y d e t e r m i n e d b e s t a p p r o x i m a t i o n t o t h e c o r r e c t s o l u t i o n . C o n t r a s t t h i s w i t h t h e v i e w t h a t t h e r e i s no c o r r e c t s o l u t i o n t o p o l i t i c a l q u e s t i o n s b u t o n l y s o l u t i o n s w h i c h v a r i o u s g r o u p s and i n d i v i d u a l s p r e f e r . F i n a l l y , t h e a s s u m p t i o n o f o b j e c t i v i t y t e n d s t o make p e o p l e f e e l t h a t t h e y a r e a c c o u n t a b l e t o o t h e r s f o r t h e i r a c t i o n s ( a t l e a s t t h o s e w h i c h a f f e c t o t h e r s ) . I f t h e s t a n d a r d s by w h i c h a c t - 7 i o n s a r e t o be a s s e s s e d a r e o b j e c t i v e , t h e n v i r t u a l l y anyone i s i n a p o s i t i o n t o c a l l f o r a j u s t i f i c a t i o n o f anyone e l s e ' s a c t i o n s . T h e r e i s a p r e s u m p t i o n t h a t i n m a t t e r s o f f a c t (whether m o r a l o r e m p i r i c a l ) one o u g h t t o be a b l e t o c o n v i n c e any r e a s o n -a b l e p e r s o n t h a t one i s c o r r e c t o r a t l e a s t n o t c l e a r l y wrong. I n any community t h e r e w i l l be w i d e l y h e l d v i e w s on t h e r i g h t -and wrong-making p r o p e r t i e s o f a c t i o n s , and i t w i l l be g e n e r a l l y v e r y d i f f i c u l t f o r p e o p l e t o f i n d a rguments w h i c h t h e y c a n e x p e c t 163 o t h e r s t o accept f o r views which run c o n t r a r y to p u b l i c o p i n i o n . Thus the i d e a t h a t there must be a p u b l i c l y d e f e n s i b l e j u s t i f i -c a t i o n f o r a c t i o n s i n the moral realm c r e a t e s an atmosphere of p u b l i c a c c o u n t a b i l i t y which w i l l seem n a t u r a l and n o n - a r b i t r a r y to everyone. Other persons w i l l i d e a l l y appear as a l l i e s i n the d e l i b e r a t i v e p r o c e s s . Advice can be sought and a d v i s o r s , supposing there to be a c o r r e c t s o l u t i o n i n p r i n c i p l e to the adv i s e e ' s problems, w i l l have a reason to s e t a s i d e t h e i r per-sona l stakes, i f any. R e v i s i o n i s t t h e o r i e s , then, must not o n l y o f f e r a p h i l o s o p h -i c a l l y s a t i s f a c t o r y n o n - o b j e c t i v i s t v a l u e theory, but they must a l s o show t h a t the acceptance of s u b j e c t i v i s m i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h moral language and t h i n k i n g p r e t t y much the way we know i t . The p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t m o r a l i t y cannot s u r v i v e the abandon-ment of o b j e c t i v i t y has seemed r e a l enough to many p h i l o s o p h e r s . Arguing t h a t emotivism d i s c r e d i t s m o r a l i t y , H.J. Paton says t h a t , even i f people's approvals would not n e c e s s a r i l y change were some form of emotivism to be adopted: ... the s o - c a l l e d "moral" a c t i o n s would have no v a l u e other t h a n t h a t o f s a t i s y i n g my co n t i n g e n t d e s i r e s , and so ... they would not be moral a c t i o n s a t a l l (p. 121). I can see l i t t l e hope f o r the spread of "moral" a c t i o n i n the world un l e s s we are prepared t o accept and to a c t upon a law which we b e l i e v e holds f o r a l l men a l i k e and b i d s us t r e a t o t h e r s , not simply as a means to the s a t i s f a c t i o n of our own contengent desires., but as ends i n t h e i r own r i g h t . To accept and to a c t upon such a law as b i n d i n g upon a l l men i s to adopt i n a c t i o n a p r i n c i p l e which i s o b j e c t i v e , s not merely i n the sense t h a t i t t r e a t s myself and ot h e r s i m p a r t i a l l y , but i n the sense t h a t i t s p r i n g s from a reason which 164 n e c e s s a r i l y m a n i f e s t s i t s i m p a r t i a l i t y i n a c t i n g (as i n t h i n k i n g ) and i s d i s t i n c t from any merely c o n t i n g e n t d e s i r e . (Paton, 1948, "The Emotive Theory of E t h i c s , " Symposium. Logical P o s i t i v -ism and Ethics, pp. 122-3) T h i s passage i s i n t e r e s t i n g f o r what i t does not q u i t e say. Paton, of course, i s an o b j e c t i v i s t and he i s arguing t h a t s u b j e c t i v i s m i s not o n l y f a l s e but p e r n i c i o u s . The task of m o r a l i t y would be undermined i f people came to be e m o t i v i s t s and a c t u a l l y s t a r t e d to view t h e i r moral b e l i e f s as e x p r e s s i o n s of non-necessary (merely contingent) d e s i r e s or emotions. I f m o r a l i t y i s to t h r i v e ( i f people are g e n e r a l l y to perform the s o r t o f a c t i o n s we g e n e r a l l y suppose to be r e q u i r e d morally) then people must be o b j e c t i v i s t s . The c o n c l u s i o n has to be t h a t anyone who i s concerned t h a t moral a c t i o n s be done must attempt to see t h a t people i n g e n e r a l r e t a i n the o u t l o o k of o b j e c t i v i s m whatever i t s i n t e l l e c t u a l c r e d e n t i a l s . I n t e r e s t i n g l y t h e r e are a l s o i n t e r n a l p r e s s u r e s which induce a n a t u r a l d r i f t to o b j e c t i v i s m . Moral agency and o b j e c t i v i s m are m u t u a l l y r e i n f o r c i n g . Suppose t h a t someone i s an o b j e c t i v i s t about v a l u e s i n g e n e r a l . Then, i n the absence of p e c u l i a r circumstances, such a person can be expected to suppose t h a t other persons s i m i l a r l y concerned to f i n d out what i s r e a l l y of v a l u e w i l l be i n agreement with him. The search, by a group of persons, f o r a value scheme to which a l l can a s c r i b e i s l i k e l y to i s s u e i n p r e c i s e l y the s o r t of v a l u e s we c a l l moral (as w e l l , perhaps, as some o t h e r s ) . Because v a l u e s are p r a c t i c a l , people w i l l tend to i n s i s t t h a t t h e i r own w e l f a r e i s v a l u a b l e , not o n l y to them, but i n i t s e l f and w i l l be l e d to adopt a 1 6 5 theory a c c o r d i n g t o which the w e l f a r e of persons p e r se i s what i s v a l u a b l e . Conversely, and more to the present p o i n t , people who are moral agents i n t h a t they have t y p i c a l l y moral concerns, d e l i b -e r a t e from the moral p o i n t of view, and so on, w i l l tend to use o b j e c t i v e - s o u n d i n g language and w i l l come to t h i n k t h a t t h e i r way of t h i n k i n g i s not one they have simply c o n t i n g e n t l y adopted. A moral agent c o u l d h a r d l y e x i s t i n a world i n which o t h e r s d i d not a l s o t h i n k and a c t s i m i l a r l y , and the sheer f a c t o f con-gruency among the va l u e s and behaviour p a t t e r n s of such,a group of persons would soon e x t i n g u i s h any l i n g u i s t i c conventions which made p r a c t i c a l judgments seem c l e a r l y p e r s o n a l . Being prepared to d e l i b e r a t e from the impersonal, moral p o i n t of view, a l r e a d y takes one f a r enough t h a t the remaining step to the view t h a t one i s d i s c o v e r i n g what ought to be done r a t h e r than merely d e c i d i n g what to do w i l l seem q u i t e n a t u r a l . Moral t h i n k i n g puts the q u e s t i o n "What do I want?" i n t o the background i n favour of the q u e s t i o n "What s h a l l I do?" Because moral d e l i b -e r a t i o n i n v o l v e s a d d r e s s i n g t h i s q u e s t i o n from a p o i n t o f view which deemphasizes any p u r e l y p e r s o n a l d e s i r e s and p r e f e r e n c e s , the moral agent w i l l see h i m s e l f as simply a "someone." From t h i s s t a n d p o i n t the o b j e c t i v i s t problem "What ought t o be done?" i s b a r e l y d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from the q u e s t i o n "What s h a l l I do?" F i n a l l y , the moral agent sees h i m s e l f as j u s t one person 'among many and i s a l r e a d y concerned with the i n t e r e s t s of 'others s u f f i c i e n t l y t h a t he w i l l f i n d an o b j e c t i v e v a l u e v o c a b u l a r y q u i t e c o m f o r t a b l e . Because he i s prepared to s u b t r a c t from h i s 166 view of h i m s e l f , i n h i s p r a c t i c a l t h i n k i n g , much of what i n d i v i -duates him, he w i l l e a s i l y f i n d himself supposing t h a t what i s important to him i s a c t u a l l y important o b j e c t i v e l y . In c o n c l u s i o n , then, I suggest t h a t whatever the u l t i m a t e p h i l o s o p h i c a l v e r d i c t on the i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y and a c c e p t a b i l i t y of o b j e c t i v i s m , the bulk of mankind i s bound to accept, however u n r e f l e c t i v e l y , the t h e s i s of o b j e c t i v i s m . Not only i s t h i s a n a t u r a l course i n the ways o u t l i n e d but, as Paton argues, m o r a l i t y cannot s u r v i v e a general, r e f l e c t i v e and sustained s u b j e c t i v i s m . In Chapter VI, I w i l l be d i s c u s s i n g the p o s s i b i l i t y of i n d i v i d u a l (versus general) moral s u b j e c t i v i s m but I hope enough has been s a i d to show that the prospect of t r e a t i n g s u b j e c t i v i s m as a r e v i s i o n i s t theory d i r e c t e d at the general p u b l i c i s one not l i k e l y to succeed and t h a t prospect of f i n d i n g a s a t i s f a c t o r y , o b j e c t i v i s t metamoral theory i s s l i m , but not e n t i r e l y non-e x i s t e n t . In the next chapter I w i l l attempt to e x p l a i n , i n more depth than I have been able to manage so f a r , how a r e f l e c t -i v e s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t might t h i n k ( p r a c t i c a l l y ) and how h i s p r a c t i c a l vocabulary might d i f f e r from t h a t of a moral agent. 167 V REASONS AND VALUES - A SUBJECTIVIST OUTLOOK 1 F a c t s , reasons, and the d e f i n i t i o n of "moral" I f s u b j e c t i v i s t amoralism i s to c o n s t i t u t e a r e a l , i n t e r -e s t i n g , and r a t i o n a l human p o s s i b i l i t y , t here must be a view of the nature of p r a c t i c a l reasons which i s t e n a b l e and c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h i s o u t look. Otherwise the a m o r a l i s t c o u l d not h o l d h i s p o s i t i o n r e f l e c t i v e l y and r a t i o n a l l y . O b v i o u s l y , the problems i n v o l v e d i n d e v e l o p i n g an a c c e p t a b l e theory of p r a c t i c a l reason are very d i f f i c u l t ones and I cannot hope here to do the s u b j e c t j u s t i c e . However, I w i l l attempt to produce the o u t l i n e s o f such a theory i n an e f f o r t t o show t h a t there are no obvious and compelling o b j e c t i o n s to t a k i n g the s u b j e c t i v i s t a m o r a l i s t s e r -i o u s l y . Peter Singer (1973) has r e c e n t l y suggested t h a t moral p h i l -osophers have expended f a r too much energy on attempts to d e f i n e "the moral." The important q u e s t i o n , the i s s u e t h a t r e a l l y matters, a c c o r d i n g to Singer, i s how statements of f a c t are con-nected w i t h reasons f o r a c t i n g . To show the u l t i m a t e f u t i l i t y and p r a c t i c a l i n s i g n i f i c a n c e of the debate over the nature of m o r a l i t y , he d i s t i n g u i s h e s what he takes to be the two extreme metamoral p o s i t i o n s . Neutralism i s the view t h a t a p r i n c i p l e i s a moral p r i n c i p l e 168 f o r a person i f i t has an o v e r r i d i n g p r a c t i c a l f o r c e f o r him. A moral p r i n c i p l e , on t h i s view, may have any form and any content whatsoever. Thus, the p e r s o n a l e g o i s t ' s p r i n c i p l e , "I ought t o pursue my own s e l f - i n t e r e s t " i s a moral one, even though i t i s not u n i v e r s a l and takes no account of others* w e l f a r e . D e s c r i p t i v i s m , a t the other extreme, i s the view t h a t moral p r i n c i p l e s must s a t i s f y c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s of form and content. A theory which i d e n t i f i e s moral p r i n c i p l e s as ones which are u n i v e r s a l i z a b l e and concerned with the w e l f a r e of persons, i s an example of a d e s c r i p t i v i s t theory. The advantage of the n e u t r a l i s t p o s i t i o n a c c o r d i n g t o Singer i s t h a t i t le a v e s no troublesome gap between someone's accept-ance of a moral p r i n c i p l e and h i s a c t i n g i n accordance w i t h t h a t p r i n c i p l e : The n e u t r a l i s t i s a b l e to e x p l a i n why, i f a man a c t s on the b a s i s of a coherent s e t of p r i n c i p l e s a t a l l , he w i l l a c t i n accord-ance w i t h h i s moral p r i n c i p l e s . I f a man re c o g n i z e s t h a t a c e r t a i n a c t i o n i s pre-s c r i b e d by h i s o v e r r i d i n g p r i n c i p l e s , he s u r e l y w i l l do t h a t a c t i o n , i f he can (p. 52) . There i s , however, a problem with the n e u t r a l i s t view. I t i s t h a t many of the s o r t s o f f a c t s which we normally take t o be r e l e v a n t to moral problems can be r u l e d out as i r r e l e v a n t by someone whose o v e r r i d i n g p r i n c i p l e s make no room f o r them. The e g o i s t , f o r example, can ignore w i t h impunity, on the n e u t r a l i s t view, f a c t s about the damaging e f f e c t s of h i s a c t i o n s on o t h e r s ' w e l f a r e . At the other extreme, d e s c r i p t i v i s m has the advantage of ensu r i n g the r e l e v a n c e of c e r t a i n f a m i l i a r forms of arguments 169 and of c e r t a i n s o r t s o f f a c t s t o moral d i s c u s s i o n . The problem wi t h d e s c r i p t i v i s m i s t h a t i t f a i l s to ensure a connection between a man's moral p r i n c i p l e s and h i s a c t i o n s : We are not, on the d e s c r i p t i v i s t view, f r e e t o form our own o p i n i o n about what i s and what i s not a moral p r i n c i p l e ; but we are f r e e t o r e f u s e t o concern o u r s e l v e s about moral p r i n c i p l e s . . . . So m o r a l i t y may be-come i r r e l e v a n t to the p r a c t i c a l problem of what t o do (p. 53). D e s c r i p t i v i s m a l l o w s us to argue from f a c t s t o moral judgments but l e a v e s us f r e e to ignore those moral judgments, while n e u t r a l -ism ensures t h a t moral judgments are r e l e v a n t to a c t i o n but leaves us f r e e to adopt anything a t a l l as a moral p r i n c i p l e . Singer c o n s i d e r s a "middle p o s i t i o n " between n e u t r a l i s m and d e s c r i p t i v i s m a c c o r d i n g t o which moral judgments are n e c e s s a r i l y p r e s c r i p t i v e and u n i v e r s a l i z a b l e . But n e i t h e r the extreme p o s i t i o n s nor the middle p o s i t i o n can succeed i n b r i d g i n g the gap between f a c t s and a c t i o n . He concludes t h a t : ... there are l i m i t s to what any account of m o r a l i t y can do. No d e f i n i t i o n of m o r a l i t y can b r i d g e the gap.... I t f o l l o w s t h a t the d i s p u t e s over the d e f i n i t i o n of m o r a l i t y and over the "i s - o u g h t " problem are d i s p u t e s over words which r a i s e no r e a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t i s s u e s (p. 56). I t i s worth n o t i n g t h a t Singer does not even c o n s i d e r the p o s s i b i l i t y of combining the elements of n e u t r a l i s m and d e s c r i p t -i v i s m i n the way I have. I have suggested t h a t a moral judgment i s one which both has a c e r t a i n form and content and i s over-r i d i n g . Of course, some w i l l see i t as a disadvantage to my account t h a t i t le a v e s open the p o s s i b i l i t y of someone's not making nor being committed to making moral judgments, but t h a t i s 170 d i f f e r e n t from the problem Singer sees i n d e s c r i p t i v i s m . Des-c r i p t i v i s m a l l o w s t h a t someone might s i n c e r e l y make a moral judgment and y e t f a i l to concern h i m s e l f w i t h i t when i t comes to a c t i n g . My account i n s i s t s t h a t t h i s i s not p o s s i b l e (except i n p e c u l i a r cases such as those i n which we invoke the n o t i o n of weakness of w i l l ) . Of course, my account does not b r i d g e the gap between f a c t s and a c t i o n e i t h e r i f t h a t i s taken to i n v o l v e showing t h a t the f a c t s commit a person to a moral a s s e s s -ment and t h a t the moral assessment commits him to a c t i n g i n a c e r t a i n way. But my account does begin to c l o s e t h i s gap f o r those who are prepared to make moral judgments. Someone, f o r example, who accepts the o b j e c t i v i t y t h e s i s and who i s committed to d e l i b e r a t i n g from the moral p o i n t of view may be c o n s t r a i n e d t o i n t e r p r e t the f a c t s as p r o v i d i n g a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r a very narrow range of p o s s i b l e a c t i o n s . By p u t t i n g the debate over the nature o f m o r a l i t y i n terms of a d i s p u t e between n e u t r a l i s t s and d e s c r i p t i v i s t s , Singer i s able to make t h a t debate seem t r i v i a l . Of course, a n e u t r a l i s t and a d e s c r i p t i v i s t might d i s a g r e e i n a merely v e r b a l way as, f o r example, when both of them h o l d a crude form of e m o t i v i s t theory a c c o r d i n g to which moral judgments are e x p r e s s i o n s of emotional responses t o v a r i o u s s i t u a t i o n s . The n e u t r a l i s t e m o t i v i s t might a l l o w t h a t any s u f f i c i e n t l y s trong and o v e r r i d i n g emotional response can generate a moral judgment w h i l e the d e s c r i p t i v i s t might p r e f e r t o count o n l y c e r t a i n v e r y g e n e r a l emotional responses d i r e c t e d a t human w e l f a r e as moral. In such cases one might expect the n e u t r a l i s t and the d e s c r i p t i v i s t to use 171 p r e t t y much the same s o r t of "arguments" i n any r e a l - l i f e p r a c t -i c a l s i t u a t i o n , although the terms i n which c o n s i d e r a t i o n s are advanced might d i f f e r somewhat. T h e i r emotivism w i l l ensure t h a t t h e i r approach t o p r a c t i c a l problems w i l l be very s i m i l a r . But there i s no guarantee t h a t the d i f f e r e n c e s between n e u t r a l i s m and d e s c r i p t i v i s m w i l l always be so s l i g h t . C o n t r a s t the n e u t r a l i s t e m o t i v i s t above with a d e s c r i p t i v i s t o b j e c t i v i s t who b e l i e v e s t h a t there are t r u e and o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d moral p r i n c i p l e s which are u n i v e r s a l i n form and which concern the we l f a r e of a l l persons e q u a l l y . I t h i n k i t i s c l e a r t h a t i n a r e a l - l i f e s i t u a t i o n these two persons can be expected to argue i n very d i f f e r e n t ways. J u s t as one example, the n e u t r a l i s t e m o t i v i s t may r e s o r t without any qualms to pure r h e t o r i c and e x h o r t a t i o n i n order t o convince someone t o do something, w h i l e . the d e s c r i p t i v i s t o b j e c t i v i s t may make appeals to the s e l f -evidence of the t r u t h of v a r i o u s b a s i c moral requirements. No p u r e l y v e r b a l agreements w i l l b r i n g these two i n t o the same camp. What Sin g e r l a r g e l y i g n o r e s i s the f a c t t h a t n e u t r a l i s m and d e s c r i p t i v i s m are p o s i t i o n s which are advanced, not out of the b l u e , nor even as p u r e l y d e s c r i p t i v e accounts of the nature of moral judgments. Rather they are p o s i t i o n s which are h e l d l a r g e l y as a r e s u l t of the attempt to get c l e a r on j u s t the i s s u e Singer sees as the important one - the r e l a t i o n between statements of f a c t and reasons f o r a c t i n g . N e u t r a l i s t s t y p i c a l l y suppose t h a t the gap between f a c t s and a c t i o n must be c l o s e d by each i n d i v i d u a l ' s own c h o i c e of p r a c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s . D e s c r i p t i v i s t s 172 t y p i c a l l y are impressed by arguments which p u r p o r t to show t h a t c e r t a i n forms o f p r i n c i p l e s and c e r t a i n s o r t s of facts have a s p e c i a l c l a i m on the a c t i o n s of r a t i o n a l human agents. I can see l i t t l e reason t o t h i n k t h a t attempts t o under-stand the nature of m o r a l i t y must generate mere v e r b a l d i s p u t e s , nor t h a t p h i l o s o p h e r s have i n f a c t been d i s t r a c t e d from important i s s u e s by t h e i r concern t o understand moral d i s c o u r s e . N e u t r a l -i s t s don't j u s t p r e f e r to use the term "moral" the way they do; r a t h e r they p r e f e r to use i t t h a t way because of some deeper views about the nature of reasons f o r a c t i n g . The same i s t r u e o f d e s c r i p t i v i s t s . Moral d i s c o u r s e p r o v i d e s important c l u e s about the way people t h i n k about reasons. The attempt to p r o v i d e a p h i l o s o p h -i c a l a n a l y s i s o f moral d i s c o u r s e i n v o l v e s the attempt to e v a l u a t e those ways o f t h i n k i n g as w e l l as the attempt t o understand them. The t e r m i n o l o g i c a l d i f f e r e n c e s between n e u t r a l i s t s and d e s c r i p t i v i s t s should be understood as symptomatic of much deeper d i f f e r e n c e s . As I have noted, my c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n o f the moral agent does not l i e a t or between the extremes Singer i d e n t i f i e s . A c c o r d i n g t o my a n a l y s i s , the a m o r a l i s t ' s f a i l u r e t o use moral language s i g n a l s much more than a v e r b a l d i f f e r e n c e . The moral agent's language embodies a view o f the nature of p r a c t i c a l r e a s o n i n g which the a m o r a l i s t r e j e c t s . I suggest, c o n t r a Singer, t h a t the attempt t o g i v e an a n a l y s i s o f moral language and p r i n -c i p l e s i s capable of h i g h l i g h t i n g r a t h e r than o b s c u r i n g the que s t i o n s he sees as the important ones. 173 In the r e s t of t h i s chapter I s h a l l be attempting to g i v e an account of how a r e f l e c t i v e a m o r a l i s t might t h i n k about p r a c t i c a l reasons i n h i s own case. That i s , I am i n t e r e s t e d to see, i n o u t l i n e , how an a m o r a l i s t might understand what's going on when he a c t s f o r reasons, d e l i b e r a t e s about what to do, and o f f e r s e x p l a n a t i o n s and j u s t i f i c a t i o n s of h i s a c t i o n s . I have s a i d something about how a r e f l e c t i v e moral agent views these matters and i f the moral agent, as I have d e s c r i b e d him, i s r i g h t , then the amoral agent i s making a mistake somewhere. But I have a l s o suggested t h a t no c o n c l u s i v e arguments i n favour of the moral agent's outlook have been o f f e r e d and t h i s l e a v e s us f r e e to examine a l t e r n a t i v e s . I am not committing myself, nor need the r e f l e c t i v e a m o r a l i s t commit h i m s e l f , to the c l a i m t h a t there i s u l t i m a t e l y o n l y one a c c e p t a b l e or t r u e account of the matter. I t may be t h a t there are simply v a r i o u s views a v a i l a b l e , none of which can, even i n p r i n c i p l e , be b e t t e r argued f o r than another. I see no reason to f e e l embarrassed i f our c o n c l u s i o n i s t h a t t h e r e i s no c l e a r l y c o r r e c t answer to such q u e s t i o n s . The outlook of the moral and the amoral agent are i n c o n s i s t e n t , of course, and t h i s puts l i m i t a t i o n s on t h e i r t o l e r a n c e to the views of the other. But each may r e c o g n i z e i n the other a coherent p o s i t i o n which can no more be proven c o r r e c t or f a l s e than can h i s own. T h i s chapter, then, attempts to o u t l i n e one view an a m o r a l i s t might take of the nature of p r a c t i c a l t h i n k i n g . 1 7 4 2 Reasons and explanation The n o t i o n of a p r a c t i c a l reason has two faces - one turned toward explanation and the other toward j u s t i f i c a t i o n . Consider f i r s t the r o l e that the appeal to reasons plays i n e x p l a i n i n g a person's a c t i o n s . In order to e x p l a i n some person's doing something by p o i n t i n g to h i s reasons i t i s necessary that the reasons adduced should be that person's reasons i n a f a i r l y strong sense. While we sometimes say that someone has a reason to do a p a r t i c u l a r t h i n g whether or not he knows i t ( i . e . whether or not he i s aware of the f a c t s i n which the re ;ason -resides ) no reason of t h i s s o r t can e x p l a i n h i s a c t i o n . One t h i n g we can r e q u i r e i s t h a t f o r something to count as a reason which e x p l a i n s a c e r t a i n a c t , i t must be something which played some r o l e i n b r i n g i n g the a c t i o n about. That does not mean tha t reasons must f u n c t i o n s t r i c t l y speaking as causes, nor t h a t a person must be aware of what h i s reasons were i n order f o r h i s a c t i o n s to be e x p l a i n a b l e i n terms of h i s reasons. I t does mean, however, t h a t there must be a t r u e d e s c r i p t i o n of the production of the a c t i o n which makes references to what are adduced as the person's reasons f o r a c t i n g as he d i d . In order to make any progress w i t h the question of how reason explanations work i t i s necessary to say something about what i t i s f o r someone to do something f o r a reason. Unfortun-a t e l y t h i s i s one of the most d i f f i c u l t areas of e t h i c s , i n my view, and I cannot hope to do more here than to gesture toward a theory. To begin to appreciate the problem one need only r e f l e c t on the v a r i o u s s o r t s of ways of completing the sentence 175 "His reason f o r doing t h a t was ...." F o l l o w i n g Thomas Nagel (see Chapter I I I , s e c t i o n 5), l e t us i d e n t i f y reasons w i t h p r e d i c a t e s which apply to a c t i o n s . That i s , l e t us assume t h a t , g i v e n an a c t i o n A which a person P has done f o r c e r t a i n reasons, i t i s p o s s i b l e i n p r i n c i p l e to l o c a t e p r e d i c a t e s which P b e l i v e d a p p l i e d to A, and which can be adduced as the reasons P d i d A. As we have seen the a m o r a l i s t r e c o g n i z e s o n l y reasons which c a r r y a r e f e r e n c e to the agent concerned ( s u b j e c t i v e reasons, i n Nagel's terms), but more than t h i s , he grounds a l l reason a t t r i b u t i o n s i n p a r t i c u l a r f a c t s about the agent (for example, h i s a c t u a l concerns or even h i s acceptance of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s ) . To do some a c t i o n A, then, f o r reasons g i v e n by the p r e d i -cates i s , roughly, to count the a p p l i c a b i l i t y o f R^ to A as c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i n favour of doing A. T h i s i d e a c o u l d be g e n e r a l -i z e d to take account of cases i n which someone does A because he has reasons f o r not doing not-A, but we can s a f e l y c o n s i d e r o n l y the simpler case of p o s i t i v e reasons. The main d i f f e r e n c e between the moral and the amoral agent, again u s i n g Nagel's terms, i s t h a t the former w i l l be prepared to back h i s s u b j e c t i v e reasons w i t h o b j e c t i v e ones ( i . e . , w i t h ones which make no r e f e r e n c e to the agent). The moral agent may r e a l i z e t h a t the a m o r a l i s t i s not prepared to do the same, but he w i l l not condone t h i s s i n c e he t h i n k s t h a t , a t l e a s t i n some cases, the o n l y u l t i m a t e l y . a c c e p t a b l e reasons are o b j e c t i v e ones. In g e n e r a l , of course, there are many reasons which together e x p l a i n a person's a c t i o n . Here, as when we o f f e r c a u s a l 176 e x p l a n a t i o n s of some event, we tend to ignore a l l but the most s a l i e n t f e a t u r e s of the s i t u a t i o n . Which of a person's reasons we o f f e r as the reason(s) w i l l depend on such t h i n g s as what we suppose our i n t e r l o c u t o r to know a l r e a d y about the circumstances and the purpose f o r which we are attempting t o g i v e an e x p l a n a t i o n of the a c t i o n . How do we go about t r y i n g to say what a person's reasons were on a p a r t i c u l a r o c c a s i o n of a c t i o n ? As a f i r s t a p p r o x i -mation c o n s i d e r the c l a i m t h a t : a person's b e l i e f t h a t R a p p l i e d to A was one of h i s reasons f o r doing A i f he would have been l e s s l i k e l y to do A had he not b e l i e v e d t h a t R a p p l i e d to A. T h i s comes f a i r l y c l o s e to what i s needed, I t h i n k , but there are problems with i t . F i r s t , t h e r e are cases i n which i t i s t r u e t h a t someone would have been l e s s l i k e l y to do A had he b e l i e v e d t h a t not-R a p p l i e d to A but where t h i s does not show t h a t P was c o u n t i n g >r R as a c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n favour of A. The b e l i e f t h a t R applied may have been i n s t r u m e n t a l i n producing A by, f o r example, d i s t r a c t i n g him i n a way which r e s u l t e d i n h i s being i n a new s i t u a t i o n i n which other q u i t e d i f f e r e n t reasons were present and s u f f i c i e n t to produce the a c t i o n A. I t i s p o s s i b l e to imagine such a case i n which the o r i g i n a l R would normally f u n c t i o n as a reason against A. Something more than a mere p r o b a b a l i s t i c c o n n e c t i o n between P's b e l i e v e i n g t h a t R a p p l i e s to A and the l i k e l i h o o d of P's doing A, i s r e q u i r e d . Secondly, the a n a l y s i s i s incomplete i n t h a t i t p r o v i d e s no way of d i s t i n g u i s h i n g a c t i o n s done f o r reasons from other happenings or "mere doings" 'which are made more probable because 177 of the h o l d i n g of a b e l i e f about the nature of some behaviour. In other words, we must a l r e a d y know t h a t we are d e a l i n g w i t h a case of a c t i n g - f o r - a - r e a s o n or we may be l e d to m i s i d e n t i f y as reasons t h i n g s which operate i n some other way to produce a c t i o n . I am not going to attempt any f u r t h e r development of the n o t i o n of "counting something as a c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n favour o f a c t i n g " here, but something along the l i n e s o f what I have suggested f i t s w e l l with the a m o r a l i s t ' s p o s i t i o n . What I am a f t e r , i n p a r t , i s an account of what i t i s to a c t f o r reasons which i s h i g h l y g e n e r a l as regards the s o r t of t h i n g which a person might count as a reason. The task of t r y i n g t o e x p l a i n why someone acted as he d i d i s e s s e n t i a l l y a matter of determining what i t was about the a c t i o n which disposed him to do i t . I f a s i t u a t i o n i s one i n which the person has con-s c i o u s l y r a i s e d f o r h i m s e l f the q u e s t i o n of what to do and has c o n s c i o u s l y i d e n t i f i e d the important f a c t s about the s i t u a t i o n and about the l i k e l y consequences of v a r i o u s a c t s open to him, then he may be able t o p r o v i d e an e x p l a n a t i o n of h i s a c t i o n s h i m s e l f , but t h i s i s by no means guaranteed or necessary. Someone may a c t f o r reasons of which he i s not c o n s c i o u s l y aware. C o r r e l a t i v e w i t h t h i s view of reasoning i s an account of v a l u e s . I n s o f a r as a person's reasoning d i s p l a y s a p a t t e r n of s y s t e m a t i c a l l y t r e a t i n g c e r t a i n f a c t o r s as counting or not counting f o r a c t i n g c e r t a i n ways, one can formulate a d e s c r i p -t i o n of the person's v a l u e scheme - a d e s c r i p t i o n of what t h i n g s are important to him. To some extent such a p a t t e r n must e x i s t 178 f o r a c t i o n to be e x p l a i n a b l e a t a l l s i n c e i t i s o n l y through a r e c o g n i t i o n o f , or presumption o f , a p a t t e r n which pervades a person's a c t i o n s t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e to say w i t h any c o n f i d e n c e what on any p a r t i c u l a r o c c a s i o n a person's reasons a r e . 3 Reasons and j u s t i f i c a t i o n As I argued i n the f i r s t chapter, being a moral agent i n v o l v e s adopting a view of reasons which makes them c r i t i c i z a b l e e x t e r n -a l l y or o b j e c t i v e l y . That i s , the moral agent supposes t h a t a t l e a s t some s o r t s of reasons (the most important so r t ) can be assessed on some grounds which have a v a l i d i t y f o r everyone r e g a r d l e s s of what va l u e s they a c t u a l l y have. Reasons on t h i s view are good or bad, a c c e p t a b l e or unacceptable, v a l i d or i n v a l i d , i ndependently o f who a c t u a l l y counts what as a reason. T h i s i s what makes the moral n o t i o n of j u s t i f i c a t i o n such a powerful one. There are v a r i o u s ways of arguing the under-p i n n i n g s of t h i s n o t i o n of j u s t i f i c a t i o n . G.E. Moore (1903) f o r example, thought t h a t there i s a s p e c i a l non-natural p r o p e r t y o f goodness and t h a t c e r t a i n s o r t s of s t a t e s of a f f a i r s have t h i s p r o p e r t y and others do not. Those s t a t e s of a f f a i r s which have i t are v a l u a b l e (ought to e x i s t ) and those which do not are e i t h e r n e u t r a l or possessed of d i s -v a l u e . A c c o r d i n g to Moore, we can somehow g a i n i n t u i t i v e i n s i g h t i n t o j u s t which s t a t e s of a f f a i r s do and which do not have v a l u e . The attempt to j u s t i f y a c t i o n s and the p o i n t of d e l i b e r a t i n g i n the f i r s t p l a c e both r e s t on the i d e a t h a t anyone has reason to promote those s t a t e s of a f f a i r s which c o n t a i n the most goodness. 179 Moore's approach i s an extreme one but i t i s i n s t r u c t i v e i n t h a t i t shows how powerful i s the d r i v e to f i n d a theory which can make sense of the concept of j u s t i f i c a t i o n which we f i n d i n o r d i n a r y moral d i s c o u r s e . The minimal account of reasoning o u t l i n e d above suggests some " i n t e r n a l " grounds f o r a c r i t i c a l assessment of a person's reasons. I n s o f a r as an a c t i o n forms a p a r t of a coherent p a t t e r n of a c t i o n so t h a t i t can be viewed as d i r e c t e d toward the achievement of some v a l u e d end, i t can be a p p r a i s e d as e f f i c i e n t o r i n e f f i c i e n t . I f o ther behaviour of the same person warrants the a t t r i b u t i o n o f some v a l u e ( s ) t o t h a t person then a p a r t i c u l a r a c t i o n can be c r i t i c i z e d as conforming t o , as promoting, or as d e f e a t i n g t h a t v a l u e . A c t i o n s can be undertaken on l e s s than adequate i n f o r -mation given the importance of the g o a l i t i s intended to serve, and so on. In each case the e v a l u a t i o n i s premised on the v a l u e s a t t r i b u t a b l e to the person and i s i n t e r n a l i n t h a t sense. To attempt to show t h a t an a c t i o n i s not d e f i c i e n t i n any of these i n t e r n a l dimensions of c r i t i c i s m i n which the a c t u a l v a l u e s o f the i n d i v i d u a l are used to ensure the r e l e v a n c e o f the c r i t i -cism t o the agent, i s to o f f e r an " i n t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n " o f t h a t a c t i o n . An amoral agent has no use f o r any concept of j u s t i f i c a t i o n which goes beyond t h i s i n t e r n a l c r i t i q u e . The moral agent on the other hand i s committed to the p o s s i b i l i t y o f what we can c a l l " e x t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n . " E x t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n v o l v e s t r y i n g to show t h a t an a c t i o n conforms to some standard of a c c e p t a b i l i t y which has (or ought to have on p a i n of ... (what?)) weight f o r anyone, r e g a r d l e s s of what happens 180 to a c t u a l l y matter to him. I t i s sometimes claimed t h a t the ver y n o t i o n of d e l i b e r a t i o n b r i n g s with i t the concept of e x t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n . In Chapter I I I , I d i s c u s s e d C.I. Lewis' attempt to make good on j u s t such a c l a i m . The b a s i c i d e a i s t h a t the performance of an a c t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y a d e l i b e r a t e l y under-taken a c t i o n , i n v o l v e s one i n supposing t h a t i t i s an a c t i o n which has reason behind i t , o r a t l e a s t t h a t t h e r e i s something to be s a i d f o r i t . A c t i n g d e l i b e r a t e l y , the argument goes, one must a c t i n a way which one holds to be a c c e p t a b l e , not onl y f o r o n e s e l f but f o r anyone. As S a r t r e puts i t , f o r reasons I do not understand: Now, I'm not being s i n g l e d out as an Abraham, and yet a t every moment I'm o b l i g e d t o perform exemplary a c t s . For every man, e v e r y t h i n g happens as i f a l l mankind had i t s eyes f i x e d on him and were g u i d i n g i t s e l f by what he does. ( S a r t r e , 1947, E x i s t e n t i a l i s m , p. 24) There are three d i r e c t i o n s which seem to be the most p l a u s i b l e from which t o attempt to e s t a b l i s h the supposed co n n e c t i o n between e x t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n and d e l i b e r a t i o n . The f i r s t , r e p r esented by Lewis, holds t h a t u n l e s s the p o i n t of d e l i b e r a t i o n i s t o get the r i g h t , t r u e , o b j e c t i v e l y c o r r e c t answer t o the q u e s t i o n "What ought I to do?", then d e l i b e r a t i o n has no p o i n t . I argued b r i e f l y i n Chapter I I I t h a t the p r a c t i c a l q u e s t i o n which d e l i b e r a t i o n i s to s o l v e can be expressed as, "What s h a l l I do?" and t h a t t h e r e may w e l l be a p o i n t to d e l i b e r a t i o n which can be e x p l i c a t e d e n t i r e l y i n terms of the aims, d e s i r e s , v a l u e s , and so on of the d e l i b e r a t i n g agent. A c t i o n may, i f i t i s t o have any p o i n t a t a l l , r e q u i r e an i n t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n , but i t does not need an e x t e r n a l one. 181 The second argument can be put thus: to d e l i b e r a t e i s to l o c a t e and to g i v e due weight to reasons f o r and a g a i n s t the v a r i o u s a c t i o n s open to one. To a c t as the r e s u l t of d e l i b e r a t i o n i s to adopt some s e t of reasons as s u f f i c i e n t l y s u p p o r t i v e of t h a t a c t i o n . But t h i s i s j u s t t o accept a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r doing the t h i n g i n q u e s t i o n s i n c e whatever i s a reason f o r one per-son i s a reason f o r any person, so the argument goes. Reasons are i m p e r s o n a l l y v a l i d because they are formulable so as to apply to anyone r e l e v a n t l y l i k e the agent i n r e l e v a n t l y s i m i l a r circumstances. T. Nagel (1970, p. 65) l i n k s d e l i b e r a t i o n and j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n j u s t t h i s way. The answer to t h i s argument i s q u i t e s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d on the view of reasons I have been t a k i n g . I t i s of course t r u e t h a t anyone r e l e v a n t l y l i k e a person who has a reason t o 0 a l s o would have a reason to 0 i n s i m i l a r circumstances, but t h i s i s t r i v i a l i f p a r t of the r e l e -vant s i m i l a r i t y i s t h a t one count the same f a c t s as f a v o u r i n g 0-ing, s i n c e t h a t i s j u s t what having the reason amounts t o . The most the argument can show i s a p o i n t about the i n t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n of a c t i o n . The p o i n t about e x t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n s i s t h a t they h o l d f o r anyone i n the sense t h a t an a c t i o n which i s e x t e r n a l l y j u s t i f i e d i s so i n v i r t u e o f some f e a t u r e of i t (perhaps i t s i n t r i n s i c nature or perhaps i t s consequences) which i s such t h a t anyone has reason to promote i t or a t l e a s t not to i n t e r f e r e with i t s occurrence. To admit t h a t an a c t i o n i s e x t e r n a l l y j u s t i f i e d , then, i s to make a judgment which has p o t e n t i a l p r a c t i c a l consequences f o r the speaker i n terms of what to do v i s - a - v i s the a c t i o n of someone e l s e . 182 The t h i r d s o r t of argument holds t h a t t o a c t d e l i b e r a t e l y i s to make of o n e s e l f an example of what man ought t o be. Every a c t , on t h i s view embodies a normative p r i n c i p l e of u n i v e r s a l a p p l i c a b i l i t y . We have encountered one statement o>£< the view by S a r t r e and he s t a t e s i t again l i k e t h i s : In f a c t , i n c r e a t i n g the man t h a t we want to be, there i s not a s i n g l e one of our a c t s which does not a t the same time c r e -ate an image of man as we t h i n k he ought to be. To choose to be t h i s or t h a t i s to a f f i r m a t the same time the value of what we choose.... We always choose the good; and nothing can be good f o r us without being good f o r a l l . ( S a r t r e , 1947, p. 20) I t i s t r u e t h a t t o choose t o be t h i s or t h a t s o r t of person i s to a f f i r m the va l u e of being t h a t s o r t of person, but i t may be t h a t the value one a f f i r m s i s the value of being t h a t s o r t of person to o n e s e l f . When I take as my i d e a l the "strong s i l e n t type" and conduct myself a c c o r d i n g l y I need o n l y be a f f i r m i n g the f a c t t h a t I value my being t h a t s o r t of person. I do not need t o be a f f i r m i n g (indeed I may deny) t h a t everyone ought to be str o n g and s i l e n t nor t h a t i t i s good or v a l u a b l e o b j e c t -i v e l y or a b s o l u t e l y t h a t I or anyone e l s e have t h a t s o r t o f c h a r a c t e r . I am not denying t h a t one can take the approach r e j e c t e d by the a m o r a l i s t and t h i n k about d e l i b e r a t i o n and j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n the way most people are i n c l i n e d t o . Of course one can (although I am not convinced there i s anything v e r y compelling to be s a i d i n favour of t h i n k i n g t h i s way). What I am committing myself to i s the i d e a t h a t one need not use the concept I have i d e n t i f i e d as " e x t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n " and t h a t i n g i v i n g i t 183 up one i s c e r t a i n l y not p l a c i n g oneself i n the realm of the u n i n t e l l i g i b l e . Let me summarize the account so f a r given of the nature of d e l i b e r a t i o n and add some remarks which may be h e l p f u l . D e l i b -e r a t i o n has as i t s p o i n t the performance of i n t e r n a l l y j u s t i f i e d a c t i o n s , i . e . , ones which incorporate a l l the a v a i l a b l e i n f o r -mation, which are guided by a coherent and c o n s i s t e n t value scheme ( i f the agent has and i s concerned to have one), which embody a "decent" e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l theory, and so on. Insofar as d e l i b e r a t i o n i s undertaken i n a s i t u a t i o n i n which one's a c t i o n w i l l , or can be expected t o , a f f e c t one's r e a l i z a t i o n of a l i f e i n which one's values are maximally achieved, the c r i t e r i a f o r the assessment of the q u a l i t y of d e l i b e r a t i o n are obvious enough. Every d e l i b e r a t e act i m p l i c i t l y claims to s a t i s f y the requirements of i n t e r n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n , and so i s at the same time a statement of the agent's values. I have s a i d t h a t values can be i n f e r r e d from how an agent a c t s . i f we can r e c o n s t r u c t h i s reasoning from our knowledge of h i s b e l i e f s and our hypoth-eses about h i s values. In one way, then, values emerge from d e l i b e r a t i o n ; yet i n another, d e l i b e r a t i o n makes sense only i f a person has values already. I do not th i n k there i s any r e a l paradox i n t h i s . We d e l i b e r a t e because something i s at stake but i n the process of weighting the f a c t s we sometimes a l s o come to appreciate them i n a d i f f e r e n t way than we have i n the past. Experience teaches us to make more and more su b t l e d i s t i n c t i o n s , and t h i s produces a s h i f t i n values. We di s c o v e r t h a t past g o a l s , once achieved, have y i e l d e d more pain than we expected or o f f e r e d 184 l e s s c h a l l e n g e o r - f a i l e d to s u s t a i n our i n t e r e s t as w e l l as we had expected. That i s not to say t h a t there are a smal l number of t h i n g s which are our " r e a l " v a l u e s and t h a t a l l other con-cerns are i n s t r u m e n t a l . D e l i b e r a t i o n i s a counting of f a c t o r s i n the s i t u a t i o n as f o r or a g a i n s t a c t i n g i n v a r i o u s ways but t h a t i s not a l l i t i s . I t a l s o i n v o l v e s a c q u i r i n g b e l i e f s and modifying them, se a r c h i n g out p o s s i b l e courses of a c t i o n , r e c o n s i d e r i n g p r i o r -i t i e s and v a l u e s , p r e d i c t i n g consequences, experimenting with "ways of being," and much more. Nonetheless, the c e n t r a l a c t i v i t y o f a l l of t h i s i s the weighting of the f a c t s i n favour of or a g a i n s t v a r i o u s a c t i o n s . 4 P r a c t i c a l debate and vocabulary I t may seem from what I have s a i d so f a r t h a t the amoral agent i s r e s t r i c t e d to r e c e i v i n g and o f f e r i n g judgments which are grounded i n h i s or other persons' e x i s t i n g concerns, a t l e a s t i f he i s to d e a l with o t h e r s s i n c e r e l y . But t h a t i s not q u i t e t r u e . He can a l s o engage i n d i s c u s s i o n s i n which i t i s the avowed purpose of one or more of the p a r t i e s to induce a change i n the p r a c t i c a l b a s i s of some of the o t h e r s . When the a m o r a l i s t i s attempting t o get someone e l s e t o come t o va l u e something he does not now va l u e , or. to d i s v a l u e something he now v a l u e s , he w i l l , of course, do so not because he t h i n k s t h a t person i s ( o b j e c t i v e l y ) mistaken but because, f o r one reason or another, he f i n d s i t important to e f f e c t the change. As I have s a i d b e f o r e , t h e r e i s no reason t o suppose t h a t t h e r e i s 185 n e c e s s a r i l y something s e l f i s h or untoward i n t h i s concern. He may, f o r example, attempt to i n s t i l l c e r t a i n values i n h i s c h i l d -ren out of concern f o r t h e i r f u t u r e w e l l - b e i n g and a b e l i e f t h a t only people who are concerned about c e r t a i n things l i v e a l i f e of the s o r t he i s concerned to have h i s c h i l d r e n l i v e . There are many ways of e f f e c t i n g changes i n someone's v a l u a t i o n s . One can b e t t e r acquaint someone wit h "the f a c t s " i n the hope th a t h i s values w i l l a l t e r once c e r t a i n e r r o r s one suspects he has made have been c o r r e c t e d . One can a l s o p o i n t out t h a t there are l o g i c a l or p r a c t i c a l i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s among h i s values on the s u p p o s i t i o n that an attempt to remove the i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s w i l l produce the d e s i r e d a l t e r a t i o n i n h i s values. Another way i s to attempt to present an i d e a l to him i n such a way as t o "capture h i s imagination," perhaps by g e t t i n g him to admire or i d e n t i f y w i t h some f i c t i o n a l or r e a l person who holds or e x e m p l i f i e s the value one i s t r y i n g to advocate. Other methods in c l u d e various forms of brainwashing and therapy, as w e l l as more su b t l e kinds of p s y c h o l o g i c a l manipulation. Some of these and a multitude of others are " r a t i o n a l " i n the sense th a t they do or can take the form of a reasoned argument, t a k i n g as premises f a c t s about a person's p r e - e x i s t i n g values and b e l i e f s ; others are n o n - r a t i o n a l , r e l y i n g on the knowledge of p s y c h o l o g i c a l e f f e c t s of t r e a t i n g people i n c e r t a i n ways. The d i s t i n c t i o n between r a t i o n a l and n o n - r a t i o n a l approaches i s not, however, very c l e a r and n e i t h e r i s i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e . Because much of our o r d i n a r y p r a c t i c a l language i s o b j e c t -iv e i n form ( i . e . , there i s no grammatical d i f f e r e n c e f o r the most 186 p a r t which can serve to d i s t i n g u i s h judgments of " f a c t " from judgments of "value") and s i n c e moral judgments imply an accept-ance of o b j e c t i v e reasons, a w i l l i n g n e s s t o argue i n c e r t a i n ways, and so on, there are problems f o r an amoral agent who attempts to use o r d i n a r y p r a c t i c a l language i n c o n v e r s i n g w i t h o t h e r s . The problem i s e s s e n t i a l l y one of a v o i d i n g some of the i m p l i c a t i o n s which can normally be drawn from statements about what people have reason t o do, what they ought to do, what they are o b l i g e d to do, and so on. A c c o r d i n g to the account I have g i v e n of what i t i s to have a reason, f o r example, to say t h a t someone has a reason to do something i s not n e c e s s a r i l y to express any support f o r t h a t person's doing t h a t t h i n g nor to i n d i c a t e an acceptance o f t h a t s o r t of reason i n one's own case. E a r l i e r I d i s c u s s e d b r i e f l y the moral and the e t h i c a l use of "ought," but there i s another use which i s non-moral and non-e t h i c a l and which can be used by the a m o r a l i s t . That i s the use of "ought" i n which, f o r example, an h i s t o r i a n might say t h a t H i t l e r ought to have invaded England e a r l y i n the Second World War; t h a t i s , i n which a person adopts u n c r i t i c a l l y and hypbthet-i c a l l y , the v a l u e s of someone e l s e and then reasons from t h a t other person's p o i n t of view. T h i s i s roughly the "ought" of a d v i c e s i n c e i t i s the hallmark of advice t h a t u n l e s s some i n d i c a t i o n i s g i v e n to the c o n t r a r y , i t i s assumed t h a t the "ought" o f f e r e d i s o f f e r e d from the viewpoint of the advisee and i s connected w i t h the v a l u e s he a c t u a l l y embraces. S t i l l , a d v i c e i s seldom o f f e r e d s i n c e r e l y without the a d v i s o r ' s ^ b e i n g content w i t h , i f not h i s being a c t i v e l y concerned to promote, 187 the a d v i s e e ' s doing what he has reason to do. Thus, i t i s o f t e n d i f f i c u l t to see t h a t "ought" i s being used i n the p u r e l y des-c r i p t i v e sense I am s u g g e s t i n g i s open t o the amoral agent. None of what I have s a i d about the a b i l i t y of an amoral agent to use "ought" i n i t s " d e s c r i p t i v e " sense should be taken to suggest t h a t he l a c k s the a b i l i t y to speak e v a l u a t i v e l y . At the v e r y l e a s t he can say what he v a l u e s and why (where "saying why" i n v o l v e s i n d i c a t i n g those f e a t u r e s of the t h i n g s valued which are the grounds f o r h i s v a l u i n g them). Furthermore, g i v e n a s i t u a t i o n i n which a group of persons share and are known to share c e r t a i n v a l u e s , o r d i n a r y e v a l u a t i v e (objective-sounding) language can be used without being misunderstood, as long as a l l of the p a r t i e s r e c o g n i z e t h a t t h e i r e v a l u a t i v e u t t e r a n c e s are grounded on no t h i n g more than t h e i r (perhaps q u i t e contingent) v a l u a t i o n s . 5 What can be valued? So f a r I have not made any room f o r a c r i t i q u e of v a l u e s , except to say t h a t a person may be s u s c e p t i b l e to c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of c o n s i s t e n c y among h i s ends and of e f f i c i e n c y i n h i s c h o i c e of means. Are t h e r e t h i n g s which i n themselves are such t h a t they must be v a l u e d by any ( r a t i o n a l ) person, or t h i n g s which cannot be v a l u e d by any ( r a t i o n a l ) person? I f we assume t h a t any a c t i o n , c h a r a c t e r t r a i t , s t a t e of a f f a i r s e t c . can be d e s c r i b e d i n v a l u e -n e u t r a l terms we can e l i m i n a t e one k i n d of example. C l e a r l y t h e r e are d e s c r i p t i o n s which employ words which, i f someone i s speaking o r d i n a r y E n g l i s h , imply (not merely c o n t e x t u a l l y ) t h a t 1 8 8 a person has c e r t a i n v a l u e s . To d e s c r i b e something as "good," "worthwhile," " i n t e r e s t i n g , " e t c . and y e t to a c t i n ways which r e v e a l t h a t the t h i n g s so d e s c r i b e d h o l d no importance to one i s t o have spoken m i s l e a d i n g l y . One way of p u t t i n g t h i s i s to say t h a t some words have an e v a l u a t i v e component to t h e i r meaning. What I want to do i s e l i m i n a t e , as u n i n t e r e s t i n g i n the present context, c l a i m s such as t h a t anyone must ( r a t i o n a l l y , l o g i c a l l y ) v a l u e or take an i n t e r e s t i n good food, i n t e r e s t i n g pastimes, worthwhile books, e t c . , s i n c e i n s o f a r as someone accepts these d e s c r i p t i o n s of something, he n e c e s s a r i l y b e t r a y s a v a l u a t i o n on h i s p a r t . We need not concern o u r s e l v e s w i t h someone who v i o l a t e s the meaning r u l e s knowingly. I t i s not obvious, however, j u s t what d e s c r i p t i o n s do c a r r y "emotive meaning" and i t i s a matter of debate, and to some extent, of c h o i c e , where l i n e s are to be drawn. Is i t a misuse of language, f o r example, to r e c o g n i z e something as being i n one's i n t e r e s t s w h i l e f a i l i n g to g i v e i t any prima f a c i e weight i n one's d e l i b e r a t i o n s ? In a sense the answer matters l i t t l e s i n c e what we need i s j u s t l i n g u i s t i c consensus on when one i s speaking m i s l e a d i n g l y e i t h e r (a) because one's description.:uses words wi t h a c e r t a i n e v a l u a t i v e meaning or (b) because most people i n one's l i n g u i s t i c community assume t h a t c e r t a i n t h i n g s , however d e s c r i b e d , are valued by everyone. The very f a c t t h a t there i s g e n e r a l l y a broad consensus of v a l u e s among members of any l i n g u i s t i c community v i r t u a l l y guarantees t h a t the d i s t i n c -t i o n w i l l not be v e r y c l e a r . For example, when A notes t h a t doing X w i l l harm B, are we e n t i t l e d to i n f e r t h a t he takes h i m s e l f to 189 be r e p o r t i n g a reason not to do X, and i f so i s our e n t i t l e m e n t grounded i n the meaning of "harm" or i n our knowledge of the moral reasoning b a s i s p r e v a l e n t i n h i s community or perhaps i n something e l s e ? L e t me assume t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e to s o r t put those •descript-i o n s which l i n g u i s t i c a l l y e n t a i l e v a l u a t i o n s s i n c e I want to c o n c e n t r a t e on those which do not. L e t me f u r t h e r assume t h a t a " n o n - e v a l u a t i v e " d e s c r i p t i o n can be given of anything which can be valued. T h i s seems to me q u i t e p l a u s i b l e e s p e c i a l l y i f we switch to reason terminology and put the q u e s t i o n i n terms of what p r e d i c a t e s can, or must, or must not, be t r e a t e d as i d e n t -i f y i n g reasons f o r or a g a i n s t v a r i o u s s o r t s of a c t i o n s i n the d e l i b e r a t i o n s of a r a t i o n a l person. There i s one f a m i l i a r l o g i c a l c o n s t r a i n t on how a r a t i o n a l agent must reason p r a c t i c a l l y . I f a person has the e x i s t e n c e of some s t a t e of a f f a i r s as an end or g o a l , then the f a c t t h a t doing a c e r t a i n t h i n g w i l l b r i n g t h a t s t a t e of a f f a i r s about must, i f i t be known to the agent, count as a prima f a c i e reason f o r doing t h a t t h i n g . I t w i l l , i n g e n e r a l , be o n l y a prima f a c i e reason s i n c e there may be many ways of a c h i e v i n g an end and s i n c e the means o f a c h i e v i n g one end may be i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the means of a c h i e v i n g other ends. I t i s not always c l e a r whether a g i v e n a c t i o n i s done as a means or an end, nor t h a t a l l a c t i o n s must be one or the o t h e r , but when an agent's ends have been d i s -covered, means/end re a s o n i n g i s r a t i o n a l l y c a l l e d f o r . But are t h e r e t h i n g s ("states of a f f a i r s " i s the most g e n e r a l d e s c r i p t i o n I can t h i n k of ) which must be v a l u e d or which cannot 190 be valued? We have a l r e a d y encountered some arguments which p u r p o r t to show t h a t c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the i n t e r e s t s of o t h e r s must weigh i n the d e l i b e r a t i o n of any r a t i o n a l and f u l l y human person. But what about the agent's own i n t e r e s t s ? Can someone be o b l i v i o u s to h i s own s e l f - i n t e r e s t ? The answer would seem to be a p r e t t y c l e a r "no," at l e a s t i f we a t t e n d to the long-run. Anyone who pays no attention to h i s s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n w i l l p e r i s h u n l e s s h i s l i f e be maintained by o t h e r s - but even then i t i s hard to see how a f u l l y human i n d i v i d u a l can e x i s t i n t h i s manner. I am o n l y concerned w i t h persons who are engaged i n the world v i a having p r o j e c t s of some s o r t , and a human v e g e t a b l e , kept a l i v e on l i f e support systems i n a h o s p i t a l ward, not j u s t t e m p o r a r i l y but as h i s mode of being, h a r d l y q u a l i f i e s . I t i s to be noted t h a t the f a c t t h a t a l l r a t i o n a l agents do concern themselves w i t h t h e i r own w e l f a r e to some extent, as a c o n d i t i o n of t h e i r e x i s t e n c e , does not i n i t s e l f show t h a t s e l f - i n t e r e s t i s a requirement of r a t i o n a l i t y . Something more i s r e q u i r e d to e s t a b l i s h t h a t i t i s i r r a t i o n a l not to care about whether one l i v e s or d i e s . I t may be t h a t , except f o r very desperate cases, any c l e a r - t h i n k i n g person w i l l r e a l i z e t h a t t h e r e are t h i n g s which are important enough to him t h a t on balance he has s t r o n g e r reasons f o r p r e s e r v i n g h i s l i f e than f o r r e l i n q u i s h i n g i t . I suspect t h a t t h a t i s the case and, i f so, we can conclude t h a t v i r t u a l l y a l l r a t i o n a l people w i l l take an i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r own w e l l - b e i n g , i f o n l y as a p r e c o n d i t i o n of t h e i r being able to s t r i v e toward the attainment of g o a l s they h o l d even more dear. But t h a t does not show t h a t an i n t e r -e s t i n one's own h e a l t h , happiness, or whatever i s a c o n d i t i o n of b e i n g r a t i o n a l . I f someone r e a l l y doesn't care about anything or cares o n l y to d i e (and t h e r e may be r a r e i n s t a n c e s i n which t h i s i s so) then i t i s not i r r a t i o n a l f o r him to cease a c t i n g or to a c t to terminate h i s e x i s t e n c e . 6 V a l u i n g and--commending There are two q u e s t i o n s which, i n the present context, must be d i s t i n g u i s h e d ; f i r s t , "What t h i n g s can be v a l u e d by a person?" and secondly, "What t h i n g s can a person c a l l 'good'?" C a l l i n g something "good" i n v o l v e s a c c e p t i n g the meaning r u l e s governing "good" and i t i n v o l v e s i n t e r a c t i n g with other people l i n g u i s t i c a l l y and t h i s l a t t e r i n v o l v e s one f u r t h e r i n a c c e p t i n g c o n t e x t u a l r u l e s of meaning. By " c o n t e x t u a l meaning r u l e s " I am r e f e r r i n g t o those conventions and understandings which under-l i e and make communication p o s s i b l e and p r o f i t a b l e , but which are i n l a r g e measure independent of the meaning of the words used. The c o n t e x t of an u t t e r a n c e a f f e c t s the meaning of the u t t e r a n c e through the dynamics of the s i t u a t i o n . "Good" i s a word i n o r d i n a r y language and there are meaning r u l e s governing i t s use, however hard i t i s to s t a t e what they are. I t f u n c t i o n s i n communication i n c e r t a i n ways and i t i s p o s s i b l e to misuse i t and to use i t m i s l e a d i n g l y . Thus, one i s not f r e e t o c a l l "good" anything one p l e a s e s . T h i s , however, i n i t s e l f , i s not enough to show t h a t one cannot f i n d v a l u a b l e anything a t a l l . J u s t because i t would be m i s l e a d i n g or i n c o r r e c t 192 to say of c e r t a i n t h i n g s t h a t they are good, i t does not f o l l o w t h a t i t i s i r r a t i o n a l or i n c o r r e c t i n any other way to t r e a t those t h i n g s as ends. The con t e x t o f j u s t i f i c a t i o n and the context of e x p l a n a t i o n can be p r i e d a p a r t to a l a r g e extent. C a l l i n g something "good" i s d i f f e r e n t from v a l u i n g i t (or t r e a t i n g i t as good, or f i n d i n g i t good) t o the degree t h a t one's v a l u a t i o n s are abnormal i n ways which would i n v i t e mis-understandings were one to employ, without warning, the o r d i n a r y e v a l u a t i v e v o c a b u l a r y of one's s o c i a l group. u s i n g words such as "good," " v a l u a b l e , " " i n t e r e s t i n g , " "important," and many o t h e r s , p l a c e s one w i t h i n the context of j u s t i f i c a t i o n . Any ongoing s o c i a l u n i t w i l l have a f a i r l y s t a b l e v a l u e framework which s t r u c t u r e s j u s t i f i c a t i o n and determines what reasons w i l l be g e n e r a l l y a c c e p t a b l e . For the most p a r t , people's reasons f o r a c t i n g w i l l not only e x p l a i n the behaviour to others but j u s t i f y i t to them; but t h a t i s j u s t to note t h a t most people do operate w i t h i n the o r d i n a r y v a l u e framework. Because a s o c i e t y ' s v a l u e framework i s not completely determinate and because the weighting of v a l u e s w i t h i n the frame-work w i l l vary from i n d i v i d u a l to i n d i v i d u a l there i s a r e g i o n i n which people can d i s a g r e e about the j u s t i f i a b i l i t y of a c t i o n s w h i l e a g r e e i n g about t h e i r e x p l a n a t i o n . Person A and person B may both accept the same reason e x p l a n a t i o n f o r some a c t i o n of person C but they may d i s a g r e e about whether there were, and about whether C had, reasons which j u s t i f y the a c t i o n . I f A and B are t y p i c a l moral agents they w i l l suppose t h a t i n a t l e a s t some cases t h e r e i s a q u e s t i o n about the e x i s t e n c e of an e x t e r n a l 193 j u s t i f i c a t i o n of C's a c t i o n . In her a r t i c l e , "Moral B e l i e f s , " P h i l i p p a Foot argues t h a t : ... assumption (1) ["that some i n d i v i d u a l may, without l o g i c a l e r r o r , base h i s b e l i e f s about matters of v a l u e e n t i r e l y on premises, which no one e l s e would r e c o g n i z e as g i v i n g any evidence a t a l l . " (p. 84)] i s very dubious indeed, and t h a t no one should be allowed to speak as i f we can understand ' e v a l u a t i o n ' 'commendation' or ' p r o - a t t i t u d e ' , whatever the a c t i o n s concerned (Foot, 1958-9, p. 94). I t should be noted t h a t Foot speaks of " b e l i e f s about matters of v a l u e " and of "evidence" f o r those b e l i e f s and i n a sense t h i s begs the very q u e s t i o n a t i s s u e . I t may w e l l be, indeed I have argued t h i s as w e l l , t h a t moral agents cannot suppose t h a t matters of v a l u e i n g e n e r a l are s u b j e c t i v e i n the way she o b j e c t s . t o - u . But as I have a l r e a d y argued a l s o , e v a l u a t i o n and commendation are p u b l i c a c t i v i t i e s c a r r i e d on w i t h a rule-governed vocabulary. Having a p r o - a t t i t u d e i s , I t h i n k , a d i f f e r e n t matter u n l e s s i t be d e f i n e d i n t o t h i s t e c h n i c a l concept t h a t someone has a pro-a t t i t u d e t o something on l y i f he i s prepared to engage i n pro-s e l y t i s m on i t s b e h a l f . I f , however, having a p r o - a t t i t u d e i n v o l v e s l i t t l e more than behaving f a i r l y c o n s i s t e n t l y to b r i n g about or m a i n t a i n the e x i s t e n c e o f the o b j e c t of the a t t i t u d e and t h i n g s o f t h a t s o r t , then I do not see how Foot's arguments j u s t i f y her c o n c l u s i o n . B a s i c a l l y , Foot argues t h a t many ( a l l ? ) e v a l u a t i v e words (eg. "dangerous," as w e l l as "good") have an i n t e r n a l r e l a t i o n to t h e i r o b j e c t , so t h a t not j u s t anything can i n t e l l i g i b l y be d e s c r i b e d by these words. For i n s t a n c e , we would not under-stand someone who s a i d t h a t c l a s p i n g one's hands i s a good a c t i o n 194 because we can see no p o i n t to doing so and because: I t i s s u r e l y c l e a r t h a t moral v i r t u e s must be connected w i t h human good and harm, and t h a t i t i s q u i t e i m p o s s i b l e to c a l l anything you l i k e good or harm (p. 94). There are two p o i n t s here, one about the concept o f moral v i r t u e (or "good" i n i t s moral sense) and one about "good" i n g e n e r a l . The second p o i n t i s the one I wish to c o n c e n t r a t e on, s i n c e I am prepared to grant the f i r s t as a c c o r d i n g w i t h my own views. The p o i n t Foot i s t r y i n g to make i s , I t h i n k , t h a t (even l e a v i n g a s i d e the q u e s t i o n of j u s t i f i c a t i o n ) we cannot accept reason e x p l a n a t i o n s of j u s t any s o r t . We simply wouldn't understand someone who valued c l a s p i n g h i s hands whether or not he commended the a c t i v i t y to o t h e r s or attempted to o f f e r p u r p o r t e d l y o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d reasons f o r performing t h i s a c t i o n . L e t us c o n s i d e r t h i s case. (We can suppose t h a t the agent r e a l i z e s t h a t o t h e r s have d i f f e r e n t v a l u e s and t h a t to enter an attempt a t j u s t i f i c a t i o n would be f u t i l e . ) Can we understand (explain) such an a c t i o n ? The obvious suggestion i s t h a t we can e x p l a i n someone's c l a s p i n g h i s hands three times, say, i f we simply note t h a t doing so i s something which i s important to him; he v a l u e s doing t h i s t h i n g . The immediate and n a t u r a l r e a c t i o n t o t h i s s u g g e s t i o n i s to ask, "But why i s i t important to him?" In one sense we don't understand the a c t i o n because we don't understand h i s a t t r i b u t i o n o f v a l u e to t h i s a c t i v i t y . There are two ways we can g a i n understanding, and thus render the p r o f f e r e d e x p l a n a t i o n a c c e p t a b l e . 195 One way i s by r e l a t i n g the p e c u l i a r v a l u e s to ones we are more comfortable w i t h , by f i l l i n g i n a " s p e c i a l background" (Foot's term). I f our person f i n d s the sucking n o i s e a e s t h e t i c a l l y p l e a s i n g or i f doing hand c l a s p i n g i s p a r t of a r i t u a l w i t h some i n t e l l i g i b l e s i g n i f i c a n c e , we might be happier with the explan-a t i o n . But what i f e f f o r t s to f i n d a means/end or i n c l u s i o n r e l a t i o n of t h i s s o r t f a i l ? T There i s another way of r e n d e r i n g the e x p l a n a t i o n a c c e p t a b l e , I suggest: i t i s one we are i n c l i n e d to l e a v e as a very l a s t r e s o r t but i t i s not d i f f e r e n t i n k i n d . Suppose we i n v e s t i g a t e the hand-clasper's behaviour v e r y • c a r e f u l l y and d i s c o v e r t h a t he becomes a g i t a t e d and unhappy i f we prevent him from c l a s p i n g h i s hands. He t r i e s t o teach h i s c h i l d r e n t o c l a s p t h e i r hands and i s d i s a p p o i n t e d i n them when they f a i l to do i t the way he wants. Perhaps enough evidence might accumulate so t h a t we are prepared to a l l o w t h a t he does v a l u e performing t h i s a c t i o n i n i t s e l f and t h a t he i s not doing i t from h a b i t or to achieve any f u r t h e r end. I t i s important to him. Of course, t h i s would be a very s u r p r i s i n g r e s u l t and we s t i l l would not understand why he v a l u e s what he does. His a c t i o n i s one which i s e x p l a i n a b l e by h i s v a l u e s but we want, and do not have, an e x p l a n a t i o n of h i s v a l u e s . To t h i s extent the e x p l a n a t i o n i s p a r t i a l and we cannot be completely comfort-a b l e w i t h i t u n t i l we f i n d some account of why he t h i n k s as he does or perhaps how he came to be the way he i s . Even i f we do f i n d such a f u r t h e r e x p l a n a t i o n , however, t h i s w i l l not cause us to r e t r a c t our e x p l a n a t i o n i n terms of h i s v a l u e s . I f i t i s admitted t h a t i t i s l o g i c a l l y p o s s i b l e f o r someone to v a l u e c l a s p i n g hands (perhaps i t would h e l p the i m a g i n a t i o n 196 to make our. person a Martian) then i t i s l o g i c a l l y p o s s i b l e t h a t we should come to share h i s outlook. In t h i s event, I submit, we would not n e c e s s a r i l y have any f u r t h e r e x p l a n a t i o n of why someone might f i n d such a p e c u l i a r t h i n g important but then we wouldn't f e e l the need e i t h e r . We would then be i n the same s i t u a t i o n v i s - a - v i s the hand c l a s p e r as we a c t u a l l y are v i s - a - v i s someone who a c t u a l l y does share our u l t i m a t e (non-d e r i v a t i v e ) v a l u e s . To be sure our p s y c h o l o g i c a l makeup would be d i f f e r e n t i n the two cases, but l o g i c a l l y the s i t u a t i o n s are i d e n t i c a l . E x p l a i n i n g a c t i o n by r e f e r e n c e to reasons i s a t w o - l e v e l process, o n l y one of which i s u s u a l l y apparent. In the f i r s t p l a c e i t i n v o l v e s adducing the reasons or v a l u e s which a person has which operated to produce h i s a c t i o n . In the second p l a c e i t i n v o l v e s s h a r i n g the v a l u e s and reasons which are adduced. In v i r t u a l l y a l l cases we are a c t u a l l y c o n f r o n t e d with, t h e r e i s no s i g n i f i c a n t d i s p a r i t y i n v a l u e s and the e x p l a n a t i o n succeeds. I t i s p o s s i b l e , or so I have been t r y i n g t o show, t h a t the e x p l a n a t i o n should f a i l a t the second l e v e l w h i l e remaining i n t a c t a t / t h e f i r s t , without anyone's being i r r a t i o n a l or making any l o g i c a l e r r o r . Someone c o u l d not, of course, have any u t t e r l y mysterious v a l u e s and s t i l l q u a l i f y as a fai±ly normal human being, and I should say, to a v o i d p o s s i b l e misunderstanding, t h a t I am not supposing the amoral agent n e c e s s a r i l y has such v a l u e s . The important p o i n t i n a l l of t h i s i s t h a t whatever r u l e s govern p u b l i c d i s c u s s i o n o f v a l u e s and reasons, and whatever 197 meaning r u l e s apply to e v a l u a t i v e words, i t remains p o s s i b l e f o r someone to a c t u a l l y d e l i b e r a t e and a t t e n d to reasons i n the most unusual f a s h i o n . The amoral agent may have to be v e r y c a r e f u l , about what he says i f he wishes to a v o i d being misunder-stood even i f h i s v a l u e s are merely abnormal (perhaps i n t h e i r r e l a t i v e importance f o r him) and not downright u n i n t e l l i g i b l e . Language cannot d i c t a t e what people can f i n d important, but i t can and does embody what people do f i n d important. 7 F a c t s and reasons a g a i n L e t us r e t u r n now to the q u e s t i o n w i t h which we began t h i s chapter; "What i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between statements of f a c t and reasons f o r a c t i n g ? " , s e t t i n g a s i d e , as Singer urges us to do, the q u e s t i o n of the nature of m o r a l i t y . The answer a c c o r d i n g to the s u b j e c t i v i s t view I have been d e v e l o p i n g i s simply t h i s : "The r e l a t i o n s h i p , i n i t s l o g i c a l essence, i s whatever people make i t . " U l t i m a t e l y reasons connect w i t h a person's v a l u e s and i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r someone to value anything (at l e a s t I don't see how we can ^eliminate much a p r i o r i ) . Complications a r i s e when someone a c t s i n c o n s i s t e n t l y , t r e a t i n g a p p a r e n t l y s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s i n d i s s i m i l a r ways or a p p a r e n t l y d i s s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s i n s i m i l a r ways, when someone's behaviour g e n e r a l l y does not permit us to form a coherent view of h i s v a l u e s , and when someone seems to have v e r y strange v a l u e s . But i n some such cases we may simply have to conclude t h a t the person j u s t doesn't have reasons or t h a t he has v e r y unusual ones. 198 In the next chapter I w i l l be reopening the q u e s t i o n of whether or not a r e c o g n i z a b l y moral outlook i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the s u b j e c t i v i s t theory of reasons and valu e s o u t l i n e d above. But before proceeding I would l i k e to take a b r i e f look a t an o b j e c t i o n to the k i n d o f s u b j e c t i v i s m about reasons being d e v e l -oped here. Many people f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to make sense of the n o t i o n t h a t reasons can be s u b j e c t i v e i n the way suggested. Only i f the v a l i d i t y of reasons (or values) i s supposed to r e s i d e i n something o u t s i d e of the i n d i v i d u a l , i t i s thought, can reasons a c t u a l l y f u n c t i o n i n the way they do. Thus, f o r example, e x i s t e n t i a l i s t s are o f t e n accused of p r e s e n t i n g a theory which i n e v i t a b l y produces a s t u l t i f y i n g d e s p a i r - a p r a c t i c a l p a r a l y s i s . Even e x i s t e n t i a l i s t s themselves r e c o g n i z e t h i s t o some extent: S a r t r e c a l l s the r e a c t i o n to the r e a l i z a t i o n of r a d i c a l freedom "anguish." C e r t a i n l y t h e r e i s something d i s c o n c e r t i n g about the n o t i o n t h a t we choose our v a l u e s and reasons f r e e l y w i t h no p o s s i b i l i t y of r e f e r r i n g our c h o i c e to any u l t i m a t e and a b s o l u t e standard. But whether the uneasiness comes from an a b s u r d i t y i n the very i d e a o f such a f r e e c h o i c e i s another matter. I t h i n k a s i g -n i f i c a n t p a r t o f the s u s p i c i o n t h a t t h e r e i s a l o g i c a l d i f f i -c u l t y here comes from t h i n k i n g of the c r e a t i o n of v a l u e s or reasons as i n v o l v i n g c h o i c e i n the normal sense. I avoided u s i n g the concept of c h o i c e above d e l i b e r a t e l y f o r t h i s v e r y reason. I t h i n k t h a t normally we t h i n k of choosing as something we 199 do f o r reasons and i t i s obvious t h a t t h i s immediately s e t s up an i n f i n i t e r e g r e s s . I f we choose our reasons, and do so f o r reasons, then there must be reasons f o r our c h o i c e of reasons, and reasons f o r our c h o i c e of those reasons, and so on. That i s why I p r e f e r to t a l k i n terms of t r e a t i n g f a c t s as c o u n t i n g f o r or a g a i n s t v a r i o u s a c t i o n s . I t i s a t l e a s t l e s s p r o b l e m a t i c to suggest t h a t we don't n e c e s s a r i l y have reasons f o r weighting the f a c t s the way we do. "That's j u s t the way I am," can serve to stop the r e g r e s s when we s t e e r c l e a r of the n o t i o n of c h o i c e , but i t does so i n a n o n - t r i v i a l way. V a l u i n g what we do ( t r e a t i n g f a c t s , m o t i -v a t i o n a l l y , i n the way we do) i s , i n f a c t , the way we d e f i n e o u r s e l v e s , not o n l y to o t h e r s but to o u r s e l v e s . At some p o i n t , a t l e a s t i f we r e f u s e to pass on the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to some o b j e c t i v e realm of v a l u e s or to our p a s t , we must simply stand up and be counted f o r what we are. Not "Here I stand I can do no o t h e r , " but "Here I stand I will do no o t h e r . " Of course, someone may s t i l l o b j e c t t h a t we cannot r e a l l y take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r who we are, even as regards our funda-mental v a l u e s , because our c h a r a c t e r and p e r s o n a l i t y have been determined by our p a s t . I can h a r d l y hope to r e s o l v e the f r e e w i l l / d e t e r m i n i s m debate here but there seems to me to be two ways of g e t t i n g around t h i s o b j e c t i o n . F i r s t , i t should be noted t h a t t h e r e are a t l e a s t two senses of " r e s p o n s i b l e " which must be d i s t i n g u i s h e d . To say t h a t A i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r some s t a t e of a f f a i r s (where A may be an event, s t a t e o f a f f a i r s or a t h i n g , person, o b j e c t , etc.) may be to say t h a t A was the 200 cause (or an important c o n t r i b u t o r y c a u s a l f a c t o r ) i n the pro-d u c t i o n of B. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , where A i s a person, i t may be to invoke some q u a s i - l e g a l i s t i c or moral convention o p e r a t i v e i n the community whereby persons l i k e A i n c e r t a i n circumstances are held r e s p o n s i b l e {made l i a b l e and so on) f o r B's occurence. I t i s a p a r t of our o r d i n a r y moral view t h a t no one ought (prima f a c i e , a t l e a s t ) to be h e l d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r anything they d i d n ' t a t l e a s t help to b r i n g about. But t h a t requirement i s a moral one and not an a n a l y t i c one and i n any case holds o n l y prima f a c i e . We do h o l d people r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h i n g s they c o u l d not have been expected to prevent, although not very o f t e n . Sometimes s u p e r i o r s i n an o r g a n i z a t i o n take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the a c t i o n s of t h e i r subordinates c a r t e blanche and they are f i r e d because of the misdeeds of those s u b o r d i n a t e s . T h i s p r a c t i c e does not r e s t on the view t h a t the s u p e r i o r was ( c a u s a l l y ) r e s p o n s i b l e f o r h i r i n g (or not f i r i n g ) incompetent subordinates but on something l i k e the u s e f u l n e s s of having the p r a c t i c e i n f o r c e . I f the p o s s i b i l i t y of t a k i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and of being held...responsible were c o n f i n e d to cases of being ( c a u s a l l y ) r e s p o n s i b l e , no such p r a c t i c e would e x i s t . Parents are h e l d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the a c t i o n s o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n , very o f t e n when i t would be q u i t e f a n c i f u l to suppose t h a t parents have the amount o f c o n t r o l over t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s behaviour which would be r e q u i r e d to say t h a t they caused the behaviour or even c o u l d have prevented i t . The i d e a of t a k i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r what one has not brought about, thus, i s a f a m i l i a r enough one t h a t i t i s not 201 u t t e r nonsense to attempt t o rescue the p o s s i b i l i t y of one's t a k i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y (and being h e l d r e s p o n s i b l e ) f o r one's c h a r a c t e r even under the hypothesis of determinism. T h i s view c o u l d be made more s o p h i s t i c a t e d and perhaps more ac c e p t a b l e by d i s t i n g u i s h i n g among v a r i o u s s o r t s o f c a u s a l f a c t o r s and p r o v i d i n g a r a t i o n a l e f o r t r e a t i n g some of these as g e n e r a t i n g the p o s s i b i l i t y of p e r s o n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and ot h e r s not. The second p o s s i b i l i t y , of course, i s the l i b e r t a r i a n d e n i a l of determinism, perhaps i n S a r t a r i a n form, but I do not propose to d i s c u s s t h a t f u r t h e r here. The main p o i n t I have been t r y i n g to make i s t h a t t h e r e i s no a b s u r d i t y or obvious conceptual d i f f i c u l t y i n supposing t h a t people can choose or be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e i r v a l u e s i n some way which i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the b e l i e f t h a t those v a l u e s have no o b j e c t i v e c l a i m to be adopted. Someone can r e c o g n i z e t h a t 'his va l u e s l a c k o b j e c t i v e v a l i d i t y without being plunged i n t o a n i h i l i s t i c d e s p a i r . Someone can see h i m s e l f as the u l t i m a t e source of h i s own va l u e s and i n t h a t sense accept r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r being the person he i s . The b e l i e f t h a t v a l u e s are not chosen f o r o b j e c t i v e reasons does not n e c e s s a r i l y reduce one to c o n c e i v i n g of o n e s e l f as a being whose nature i s determined from without nor does i t n e c e s s a r i l y produce d e s p a i r over the meaning of l i f e . T h i s concludes my attempt to p r o v i d e the o u t l i n e s o f a d e s c r i p t i o n of how an a m o r a l i s t might t h i n k and speak. A g r e a t d e a l more would have t o be s a i d t o tr a n s f o r m the above i n t o a f u l l y a r t i c u l a t e d theory o f p r a c t i c a l r e a s o n i n g . I have not 202 t r i e d to c a r r y out t h i s f u l l development but i t seems to me that there i s nothing obvious which suggests that i t could not be done. 203 VI MORAL AND AMORAL SUBJECTIVISM 1 The i n d i v i d u a l moral s u b j e c t i v i s t In Chapter IV, I argued t h a t an acceptance of the n o t i o n of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s and an e s s e n t i a l l y moral outlook are mutually r e i n f o r c i n g and t h a t there i s a " n a t u r a l d r i f t " toward moral o b j e c t i v i s m . I f my c o n j e c t u r e s i n t h a t regard are c o r r e c t then we can expect t h a t any attempt a t an a n a l y s i s of o r d i n a r y l a n g -uage w i l l seem adequate o n l y to the extent t h a t i t makes room for some f a i r l y s t r o n g sense i n which moral judgments can be o b j e c t i v e i n nature. There i s a problem, o r so I have argued, however, i n f i n d i n g an o b j e c t i v i s t metamoral theory which i s not only adequate to the data of o r d i n a r y moral d i s c o u r s e but which i s a c c e p t a b l e on ge n e r a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l grounds. I have not shown t h a t no ac c e p t a b l e o b j e c t i v i s t metamoral theory can be found and I have not r u l e d out the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t i n d i v i d u a l persons c o u l d r e s i s t the appeal of o b j e c t i v i s m w h ile remaining moral agents. I t i s t h i s l a t t e r p o s s i b i l i t y which I wish to examine i n the f i r s t p a r t of t h i s chapter. Let me c a l l such a person a "moral s u b j e c t i v i s t . " I expect t h a t anyone whose moral concepts are c o r r e c t l y a n a l y z a b l e along s u b j e c t i v i s t l i n e s w i l l h o l d h i s p o s i t i o n f a i r l y r e f l e c t i v e l y , i f o n l y because i t runs a g a i n s t the more n a t u r a l o b j e c t i v i s t 204 view. Thus there i s l i t t l e harm, I hope, i n r e f e r r i n g to him i n terms which suggest t h a t the p o s i t i o n i s a t h e o r e t i c a l one. I f moral s u b j e c t i v i s m i s not a v i a b l e p o s i t i o n , then we w i l l have found very s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d ways of d e f i n i n g two s o r t s of amoral agent. F i r s t , the e g o i s t (and the f a n a t i c ) i s amoral because, whether or not he operates w i t h i n an o b j e c t i v i s t view of v a l u e s , h i s concerns are i n c o n s i s t e n t with h i s g i v i n g as much c o n s i d e r a t i o n to the w e l f a r e of others as i s r e q u i r e d f o r him to count as a moral agent. Secondly, the r a t i o n a l and r e f l e c t i v e s u b j e c t i v i s t must be amoral i f moral s u b j e c t i v i s m i s untenable. As I w i l l t r y to show, moral s u b j e c t i v i s m i s p o s s i b l e ; i f not f o r a very l a r g e number of persons i n any a c t u a l s i t u a t i o n , then at l e a s t f o r c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s . T h i s leaves the q u e s t i o n , which I w i l l attempt to answer i n the t h i r d s e c t i o n , of how the a m o r a l i s t i s to be d i s t i n g u i s h e d from the moral s u b j e c t i v i s t . L a t e r s e c t i o n s of t h i s chapter d e a l with some strands of thought i n the e x i s t e n t i a l i s t t r a d i t i o n which are r e l e v a n t to my c o n c e p t i o n of a m o r a l i t y . 2 Forms of moral s u b j e c t i v i s m Is i t p o s s i b l e f o r someone to accept the s u b j e c t i v i s t out-look r e g a r d i n g the nature of v a l u e s and reasons which I out-l i n e d i n the l a s t chapter and yet be a moral agent? That i s , assuming my c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of the moral agent i n Chapter I was a c c e p t a b l e , can someone e x h i b i t a l l of the q u a l i t i e s of the t y p i c a l moral agent except the one which r e q u i r e s t h a t he view 205 h i s and o t h e r s ' moral judgments as o b j e c t i v e l y v a l i d or i n v a l i d u t t e r a n c e s ? In p a r t i c u l a r , can he d i s p l a y an a p p r o p r i a t e con-cern f o r the w e l f a r e of other persons, enter i n t o moral debate, use moral concepts and language i n a way which i s not g r o s s l y m i s l e a d i n g or i n s i n c e r e and d e l i b e r a t e from the moral p o i n t of view? Of course, to the extent t h a t moral language i s o b j e c t i v i s t , and i s used by and l a r g e by people who suppose themselves to be saying t h i n g s which can be t r u e or f a l s e , or c o r r e c t or i n c o r r e c t and so on, the moral s u b j e c t i v i s t w i l l be misunderstood and cannot f u l l y commit h i m s e l f i n moral d i s c o u r s e . T h i s , however, need not be a c o n c l u s i v e c o n s i d e r a t i o n a g a i n s t h i s being a moral agent p r o v i d e d the meaning he can g i v e moral concepts i s c l o s e enough to the o r d i n a r y meaning t h a t the misunderstandings are not d i s r u p t i v e of the f u n c t i o n of moral d i s c o u r s e and c l o s e enough t h a t the moral s u b j e c t i v i s t can p r o p e r l y be viewed as p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the s p i r i t of the moral l i f e . I t i s c l e a r , I t h i n k , t h a t i t w i l l not be very s a t i s f a c t o r y to suggest t h a t someone might j u s t happen to value ( d i r e c t l y ) the w e l f a r e of others i n the way r e q u i r e d to induce him to d e l i b e r a t e from the moral p o i n t of view. For one t h i n g , t h i s g i v e s us no account of why such a person would use moral language and i n p a r t i c u l a r of what he might mean by such words as " o b l i g a t i o n , " "morally r i g h t , " and "ought." I f i t i s j u s t t r u e t h a t he i s concerned to a c t i n ways which take the i n t e r -e s t s of others i n t o account,we have no e x p l a n a t i o n of h i s views (and presumably as a moral agent he w i l l have them) on what 2 0 6 others ought to do, and f o r t h a t matter of h i s views on what he ought to do. Furthermore, unless some f u l l e r account i s a v a i l -a b le, there w i l l be no reason to expect any p a r t i c u l a r s t a b i l i t y i n such a person's v a l u a t i o n s . What we need i s something which gives the r e q u i r e d "moral" v a l u a t i o n s of a person a s t r u c t u r e and s t a b i l i t y which makes sense of the whole range of moral a c t i v i t i e s i n which moral agents engage. One p o s s i b i l i t y would be to suppose that someone might hold c e r t a i n deep or fundamental values which he t h i n k s v i r t u a l l y everyone e l s e shares and which underwrite the moral e n t e r p r i s e . Suppose, f o r example, that someone values the existence of (and presumably h i s p a r t i c i p a t i o n in) a r e l a t i v e l y o r d e r l y , h o s p i t a b l e and co-operative s o c i a l environment i n which people can e x i s t secure i n the expectation that they w i l l not s u f f e r extreme unhappiness or i n j u r y at the hands of t h e i r f e l l o w s . Something l i k e t h i s can reasonably be a t t r i b u t e d as a value to the vast m a j o r i t y of people and the f a c t t h a t r e a l i z a t i o n of the value depends on the e f f o r t of v i r t u a l l y everyone, makes i t a l i k e l y candidate f o r the present task. Most people would probably suppose t h a t not only do they value the existence of a cooperative s o c i a l order but t h a t i t i s va l u a b l e o b j e c t i v e l y e i t h e r i n i t s e l f or because i t leads to human we l l - b e i n g or allows people to achieve t h e i r highest human p o t e n t i a l . That i s , most people do suppose that m o r a l i t y r e s t s on or d e r i v e s from the value of a c e r t a i n s o r t of human exis t e n c e . The moral s u b j e c t i v i s t b e l i e v e s t h a t i t i s only i n 207 the f a c t t h a t people a c t u a l l y do value t h i n g s t h a t t h e i r v alue r e s i d e s , s i n c e he r e j e c t s the n o t i o n t h a t t h i n g s c o u l d be v a l -uable i n any other " o b j e c t i v e " way. But t h i s d i f f e r e n c e need not be c r u c i a l . A "deep v a l u e " e x p l a n a t i o n of t h i s s o r t may go some way toward e x p l a i n i n g someone's d i s p l a y i n g a concern f o r o t h e r s , h i s d e l i b e r a t i n g from the moral p o i n t of view, and h i s use of moral language. But h i s engagement i n m o r a l i t y must be premised not only on h i s own deep v a l u e s and not onl y on h i s b e l i e f t h a t o t h e r s share those deep v a l u e s but on something e l s e as w e l l . There must be an a p p r o p r i a t e connection between these deep va l u e s and moral t h i n k i n g . While i t may be t r u e t h a t everyone's t h i n k i n g (and ac t i n g ) m o r a l l y i s the onl y means to the achi e v e -ment of the deep v a l u e s , the means/end connection w i l l not h o l d i n p a r t i c u l a r cases f o r the most p a r t . The connection, from the p o i n t of view of the i n d i v i d u a l , then, cannot simply be t h a t moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s have a hold on a c t i o n because they bear d i r e c t l y on the attainment of some u n i v e r s a l l y valued s t a t e of a f f a i r s . The deep v a l u e s w i l l . c e r t a i n l y not be anyone's o n l y v a l u e s and cases where m o r a l i t y (supported, as i t were, by the deep values) r e q u i r e s one a c t i o n and another v a l u e (say p e r s o n a l happiness) r e q u i r e s another w i l l be f a i r l y common.. Because the means/end r e l a t i o n s h i p between m o r a l l y r e q u i r e d a c t i o n and the attainment of a deep v a l u e i s so tenuous, there i s a problem about how moral c o n s i d e r a t i o n s can come to be very powerful. What i s r e q u i r e d i s t h a t an i n d i v i d u a l must reason i n some way 208 other than the means/end one. He must take facts about what i s required of most people (which ones unspecified) for the deep values to be r e a l i z e d , and treat them as reasons fox him to do those things. He must ask himself, roughly, "What i f • everyone (or most people) did that?" and take the answer as being d i r e c t l y relevant to what he i s to do. There i s nothing i n the s u b j e c t i v i s t account of reasons and values I sketched i n the l a s t chapter which rules t h i s sort of.reasoning out. Indeed i t was e n t i r e l y general as regards what someone might count as a reason for anything. I think that there i s , i n the form of reasoning required for someone to be a moral s u b j e c t i v i s t , an important clue to the best way to understand him. The notion of a deep value explanation i s not, I think, very h e l p f u l , i n i t s e l f , p r e c i s e l y because i t f a i l s to account for the mode of reasoning required to give the deep value a p r a c t i c a l foothold. The clue i s that the reasoning from what i s required of people in general to what to do as an i n d i v i d u a l makes sense only i f the d e l i b e r a t i n g agent has a p a r t i c u l a r sort of s e l f -conception. He must see himself as e s s e n t i a l l y a member of the whole. That i s he must i d e n t i f y himself, to a s i g n i f i c a n t extent, with the whole (the group, society, mankind or whatever) so that whatever reasons apply to the whole apply to him as a member of the whole. This i s the only way I can see of closing the gap which exists i n any deep value explanation of moral subjectivism. There are obviously many ways of seeing oneself as a member 209 but I have i n mind one p a r t i c u l a r way and i t i n v o l v e s the n o t i o n of one's concept of s e l f . In an i n t e r e s t i n g a r t i c l e " E t h i c a l Egoism's B r i e f and Mistaken H i s t o r y , " E r l i n g Skorpen. (1969)' argues t h a t "the concept of the ego or s e l f i s n o n - e x i s t e n t u n t i l w e l l over a cen t u r y a f t e r ,*Maehiavelli" (pp. 448-9) . Up u n t i l t h a t time, Skorpen c l a i m s , people tended s t r o n g l y to t h i n k of themselves i n e s s e n t i a l l y s o c i a l terms as members of t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e f a m i l i e s , t r i b e s , s o c i e t i e s , and so on. I f t h i s i s t r u e and people tended t o d e l i b e r a t e i n terms of what "we" ought to do to achieve some end of "ours," the v i r t u a l absence of p h i l o s o p h i c a l debate on the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a m o r a l i t y and even on egoism u n t i l r e c e n t l y i s not s u r p r i s i n g . The c o n c e p t i o n o f s e l f which s t r o n g l y a s s i m i l a t e s the p r a c t i c a l " I " and the p r a c t i c a l "we" i s i n h e r e n t l y moral i n the sense t h a t , p r o v i d e d o n l y t h a t the "we" i s broad enough, t h a t s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n v i r t u a l l y assures t h a t d e l i b e r a t i o n w i l l be moral i n nature. The moral s u b j e c t i v i s t who sees h i m s e l f and others as members of an o r g a n i c s o c i a l u n i t y need not suppose e i t h e r t h a t t h i s way o f seein g t h i n g s i s the o n l y one or the c o r r e c t one, although i n order t o engage i n moral d i s c o u r s e with o t h e r s , he must suppose they t h i n k i n s i m i l a r terms. And at l e a s t i n the context o f moral d i s c u s s i o n o t h e r s w i l l by and l a r g e t h i n k i n j u s t such terms because of the s o c i a l , p u b l i c nature of moral problems. The s u b j e c t i v i s t ' s s u b j e c t i v i s m w i l l h a r d l y be n o t i c a b l e s i n c e , w hile i t i s t r u e t h a t i t i s onl y h i s own v a l u a t i o n of the ends of the s o c i a l u n i t y which ground t h e i r v a l u e f o r him, those ends g a i n s t a b i l i t y and a non-personal 210 appearance by being p e r c e i v e d through a s p e c i a l s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n which i d e n t i f i e s the s e l f with a group which shares those ends. S u b j e c t i v i s m , then, seems to be c o n s i s t e n t w i t h a s t a b l e moral o u t l o o k but so f a r as I can see i t r e q u i r e s the adoption of a p a r t i c u l a r s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n . There remains, however, the qu e s t i o n of how a moral s u b j e c t i v i s t can use the no t i o n s of o b l i g a t i o n and duty i n the absence of the concept o f o b j e c t i v e , i n t e r p e r s o n a l l y v a l i d v a l u e s . I have suggested t h a t anyone who i s comfortable w i t h the idea t h a t there are o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s can r e f e r t o those v a l u e s as grounds f o r h i s own use of those concepts. Moore, f o r example, c o u l d say: Our 'duty,' t h e r e f o r e , can o n l y be d e f i n e d as t h a t a c t i o n , which w i l l cause more good to e x i s t i n the Universe than any p o s s i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e . And what i s ' r i g h t ' or 'morally p e r m i s s i b l e ' o n l y d i f f e r s from t h i s , as what w i l l not cause less good than any p o s s i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e . When, t h e r e -f o r e , E t h i c s presumes to a s s e r t t h a t c e r t a i n ways of a c t i n g are ' d u t i e s ' i t presumes to a s s e r t t h a t to a c t i n those ways w i l l always produce the g r e a t e s t p o s s i b l e sum of good. (Moore, 1903, P r i n c i p i a Ethica, p. 148) One attempt to make sense of moral o b l i g a t i o n s i n the absence of an acceptance of o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s i s found i n the development o f the concept o f i n s t i t u t i o n a l o b l i g a t i o n . (See e s p e c i a l l y the Hare/Searle c o n t r o v e r s y : Hudson (1969).) B a s i c a l l y the idea i s t h a t o b l i g a t i o n s (or many of them) a r i s e because of the e x i s t -ence i n s o c i e t y of c o n v e n t i o n a l or rule-governed i n s t i t u t i o n s . To promise, f o r example, i s to invoke the r u l e s of the promise i n s t i t u t i o n , which r u l e s i n c l u d e the requirement t h a t one do as one promised t o do. Promising puts one under an o b l i g a t i o n by 211 b r i n g i n g the r u l e s of the promise i n s t i t u t i o n to bear. The main l i n e of debate over the concept o f i n s t i t u t i o n a l o b l i g a t i o n concerns the q u e s t i o n o f whether these o b l i g a t i o n s are moral or non-moral (or more g e n e r a l l y , whether statements about o b l i g a t i o n s which have been i n c u r r e d i n s t i t u t i o n a l l y , are e v a l u a t i v e or d e s c r i p t i v e ) . The debate i s complex, but I t h i n k i t i s c l e a r t h a t the (moral) judgment t h a t one ought to keep promises or t h a t someone ought t o keep a p a r t i c u l a r promise, cannot be t r a n s l a t e d p r o p e r l y i n t o any statement about what the promise i n s t i t u t i o n r e q u i r e s . Rather one must view such a statement as one made from w i t h i n the i n s t i t u t i o n . There are two ways t o go from here. One c o u l d go on to argue t h a t a judgment made from w i t h i n an i n s t i t u t i o n i s e v a l -u a t i v e (or moral) s i n c e making the judgment i m p l i e s a b e l i e f t h a t the i n s t i t u t i o n (and hence i t s r u l e s ) are m o r a l l y j u s t i f i e d o r r e q u i r e d . Another p o s s i b i l i t y would be to co n c e n t r a t e on the s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n of someone who makes judgments from w i t h i n an i n s t i t u t i o n . A s u b j e c t i v i s t moral agent might see h i m s e l f as p a r t of (as i n v o l v e d in) the i n s t i t u t i o n whose r u l e s he i s i n v o k i n g r a t h e r than as endorsing i t , as i t were, from without. I f he sees others as s i m i l a r l y p a r t of the i n s t i t u t i o n , he can see h i s judgments about o b l i g a t i o n as i n v o c a t i o n s of the r u l e s by which a l l are bound. As long as h i s o p t i o n to leave the i n s t i t u t i o n remains i n the background he can speak as though the o b l i g a t i o n s are o b j e c t i v e l y r e q u i r e d . I l i n k h i s involvement i n the i n s t i t u t i o n w i t h h i s s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n because as soon as he begins to see h i m s e l f as an i n d i v i d u a l who may choose to opt 212 out o f the i n s t i t u t i o n , the o b l i g a t i o n s l o s e t h e i r o b j e c t i v e appearance. As long as he t h i n k s o f h i m s e l f as p a r t of the i n s t i t u t i o n , however, h i s o b j e c t i v e l y f l a v o u r e d judgments w i l l seem q u i t e n a t u r a l . The moral s u b j e c t i v i s t can, then, p a r t i c i p a t e i n moral d i s -course without g r o s s l y m i s l e a d i n g other moral agents i f he main-t a i n s a c e r t a i n c o n c e p t i o n of hi m s e l f as an i n t e g r a l p a r t of s o c i e t y and i t s i n s t i t u t i o n s . 3 Moral and amoral s u b j e c t i v i s m c o n t r a s t e d I t has turned out t h a t s u b j e c t i v i s m i s not s t r i c t l y i n c o n -s i s t e n t w i t h moral agency, but our d i s c u s s i o n of moral s u b j e c t i -vism suggests a way of d i s t i n g u i s h i n g the amoral from the moral s u b j e c t i v i s t . Where the moral agent sees h i m s e l f as e s s e n t i a l l y a p a r t or member of some f a i r l y l a r g e s o c i a l u n i t , the a m o r a l i s t sees h i m s e l f as e s s e n t i a l l y an i n d i v i d u a l . Whatever the amoral-r i s t ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h other persons, he r e t a i n s av~ strong;, sense of h i s unique i n d i v i d u a l i t y . He does not d e l i b e r a t e i n the f i r s t person p l u r a l mode nor by ask i n g q u e s t i o n s l i k e "What i f everyone does t h i s ? " , because t h a t would not s o l v e h i s f i r s t person p r a c t i c a l problems. Where the moral agent sees the laws, i n s t i t -u t i o n s and customs of h i s s o c i e t y as p a r t o f h i s s o c i e t y ' s (and hence h i s ) attempt to achieve c e r t a i n ends, the a m o r a l i s t sees these as e x t e r n a l c o n s t r a i n t s and a r t i f a c t s around which or through which he must p l a n h i s own p r o j e c t s . The a m o r a l i s t i s a member of s o c i e t y i n many ways but i n s p i r i t he remains an o u t s i d e r . Even when h i s p r o j e c t s c o i n c i d e w i t h those of o t h e r s 213 or even of s o c i e t y as a whole he never q u i t e l o s e s s i g h t of them as h i s p r o j e c t s , f i r s t and foremost. There are interesting, conceptual l i n k s among the ideas of ^ i n d i v i d u a l i s m , s u b j e c t i v i s m and amoralism, but I w i l l not attempt to t r a c e them a l l here. . I t i s no a c c i d e n t t h a t the r i s e o f i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c p o l i t i c a l p h i l o s o p h y i n the western world has been accompanied by moral s k e p t i c i s m and a movement away from t r a d i t i o n a l moral v a l u e s (at l e a s t a q u e s t i o n i n g of the l a t t e r ) . I t i s i n t e r -e s t i n g as w e l l t h a t much of the r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t the p r e v a i l i n g moral c l i m a t e has taken the form of an i d e a l i z a t i o n of j u s t the k i n d of s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n I have been imputing t o the moral s u b j e c t -i v i s t , as i f i n r e c o g n i t i o n of the f a c t t h a t the only way to stop the s h i f t to amoralism prompted by a gen e r a l sympathy w i t h (although I t h i n k not a genuine acceptance of) s u b j e c t i v i s m i n v a l u e s , i s to push the o b j e c t i v i s m / s u b j e c t i v i s m i s s u e i n t o the background by changing the mode i n which p r a t i c a l problems are p e r c e i v e d . The a m o r a l i s t i s a conceptual i n d i v i d u a l i s t . He sees h i m s e l f as standing a p a r t from o t h e r s and as c r e a t i n g and s u s t a i n i n g h i s v a l u e framework and because of t h i s h i s p o s i t i o n i s i n h e r e n t l y u n s t a b l e . There i s always a pressure on the d e v i a n t to conform and i t i s onl y through a s u s t a i n e d e f f o r t and c o n t i n u a l r e f l e c t i o n t h a t the s e l f - c o n c e p t i o n of the amoral agent can be s u s t a i n e d . T h i s i n s t a b i l i t y i s , however, shared by the moral s u b j e c t i v i s t because of what I have r e f e r r e d to as the n a t u r a l d r i f t from moral t h i n k i n g t o o b j e c t i v i s m . 214 4 E x i s t e n t i a l i s m There are two main streams of modern p h i l o s o p h i c a l thought which have taken v e r y s e r i o u s l y the i d e a of the s u b j e c t i v i t y of v a l u e s ; emotivism and e x i s t e n i a l i s m . Yet i n s p i t e of t h i s common concern, there c o u l d h a r d l y be found two schools of thought with more d i v e r g e n t s t y l e s and methods. E t h i c a l e m o t i v i s t s f o l l o w i n g the l e a d of Hume, and l a t e r of Ayer and Stevenson t y p i c a l l y argue t h a t t h e i r t h e o r i e s are e s s e n t i a l l y attempts to d e s c r i b e o r d -i n a r y moral d i s c o u r s e and have g e n e r a l l y supposed t h a t nothing i n t h e i r t h e o r i e s ought to upset the o r d i n a r y man or make him change h i s a t t i t u d e s and o u t l o o k . The s p i r i t of e x i s t e n i a l i s m , on the o t h e r hand, i s much more a c t i v i s t and much of the e x i s t e n -t i a l i s t l i t e r a t u r e i s aimed at a broader r e a d e r s h i p than j u s t academic p h i l o s o p h e r s . The e x i s t e n t i a l i s t wants to understand "the phenomena" and not the language (which may or may not r e f l e c t the t r u e nature of things) and the understanding gained may, he a l l o w s , produce s i g n i f i c a n t changes i n the outlook of the o r d i n a r y man. I have a l r e a d y s a i d something about e m o t i v i s t t h e o r i e s and I have t r i e d t o d e a l w i t h them p r e t t y much on t h e i r own terms, t r e a t i n g them as d e s c r i p t i v e analyses of o r d i n a r y moral d i s c o u r s e . I should now l i k e to say a l i t t l e about the e x i s t e n t i a l i s t approach to s u b j e c t i v i s m . A c t u a l l y , of course, e x i s t e n t i a l i s t t h i n k e r s do not form a very coherent group and i t would be a mistake to t h i n k t h a t very much c o u l d be s a i d which would h o l d f o r a l l of them. I f t h e r e i s a c r u c i a l c e n t r e to e x i s t e n t i a l i s t thought i t i s the n o t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l freedom o f c h o i c e a t a 215 very fundamental l e v e l and along w i t h i t a b e l i e f t h a t people must make such fundamental c h o i c e s f o r themselves. They are not to be made by any o u t s i d e or o b j e c t i v e c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . However, the r e s u l t i s not always a S a r t r i a n s u b j e c t i v i s m , e s p e c i a l l y when the e x i s t e n t i a l i s m i s r e l i g i o u s . I quote a passage from M a r t i n Buber: " I f I have done away wit h God the F a t h e r . . . , " S a r t r e says l i t e r a l l y , "someone i s needed to i n v e n t v a l u e s . . . . L i f e has no meaning a p r i o r i ... i t i s up to you to g i v e i t a meaning, and value i s nothing e l s e than t h i s meaning which you choose." That i s almost e x a c t l y what Ni e t z c h e s a i d , and i t has not become any t r u e r s i n c e then. One can b e l i e v e i n and accept a meaning or v a l u e , one can s e t i t as a g u i d i n g l i g h t over one's l i f e i f one has d i s c o v e r e d i t , not i f one has i n -vented i t . I t can be f o r me an i l l u m i n a t i n g meaning, a d i r e c t i o n - g i v i n g value o n l y i f i t has been r e v e a l e d to me i n my meeting wi t h Being, not i f I have f r e e l y c h o s e n . i t f o r myself from among the e x i s t i n g p o s s i b i l i t i e s . (Buber, 1957, Eclipse of God, pp. 68-70) Thus, the e x i s t e n t i a l emphasis on the s u b j e c t i v i t y of the i n d i -v i d u a l and even on the n e c e s s i t y of fundamental c h o i c e does not l e a d n e c e s s a r i l y to a s u b j e c t i v i s t view of v a l u e s . I t may be t h a t the fundamental c h o i c e i s seen to be the "unreasoned" leap i n t o f a i t h from which p o i n t o b j e c t i v e value can be d i s c o v e r e d . In any case, the d i v e r s i t y among e x i s t e n t i a l i s t s being what i t i s , i t i s b e s t to d e a l w i t h j u s t one w r i t e r and s i n c e J.P. S a r t r e i s probably the most wi d e l y read and i s s q u a r e l y i n the main stream of e x i s t e n t i a l i s t thought, I propose to concentrate on h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n f o r the most p a r t . S a r t r e ' s e t h i c a l theory i n Being and Nothingness ( i f . i t can be c a l l e d an e t h i c a l theory) grows out of h i s a n a l y s i s of the nature of consciousness. I 216 cannot hope here to presen t S a r t r e ' s theory and I s h a l l have to assume t h a t i t i s f a m i l i a r enough f o r my purposes. The main q u e s t i o n I wish to address i s whether or not S a r t r e ' s views, and i n s o f a r as h i s views are t y p i c a l of e x i s t e n t i a l i s t s , whether or not e x i s t e n t i a l i s t t h e o r i e s i n g e n e r a l , are c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the n o t i o n of ( s u b j e c t i v i s t ) moral agency. 5 Jean-Paul S a r t r e I t i s c l e a r , I t h i n k t h a t S a r t r e ' s brand of e x i s t e n t i a l i s m , a t l e a s t as i t i s expounded i n Being and Nothingness - i s not a moral theory, nor even a metamoral theory. That i t i s not a moral theory S a r t r e h i m s e l f r e c o g n i z e s , and i n the l a s t s e c t i o n of the book he p o i n t s out t h a t the o n l y i m p l i c a t i o n o f ontology and e x i s t e n t i a l p s y c h o a n a l y s i s (which he c a l l s "moral d e s c r i p t i o n " ) i s to r e v e a l to people the u l t i m a t e s u b j e c t i v i t y of v a l u e s . S a r t r e seems t o take i t f o r granted t h a t knowing the t r u t h about these matters w i l l have some e f f e c t on how we t h i n k about what we do, whether or not i t makes any d i f f e r e n c e to what we do. But even i f the acceptance of h i s theory does a f f e c t what people do (perhaps by f r e e i n g them from bad f a i t h and a b e l i e f i n o b j e c t i v e v a l u e , and thus opening up a new range of c h o i c e s where none were r e c o g n i z e d before) those consequences would not be intended by o r i m p l i e d i n the theory i t s e l f and so would not s u f f i c e to c o n s t i t u t e the theory as an e t h i c a l or moral one. Yet, w h i l e S a r t r e ' s theory i s norma t i v e l y s i l e n t on v a r i o u s s o r t s of i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s i t i s not a l t o g e t h e r s i l e n t d e s c r i p t i v e l y . He d i s c u s s e s l o v e , hate, l u s t , d e s i r e and so on, 217 often i n great depth but, except for the occasional mention of bad f a i t h , the normative issues remain i n the background. Indeed, with the exception of the i m p l i c i t demand that we see things as they are (as Sartre claims they are), there are not even any formal requirements on what we can value or what projects we can undertake. Our freedom i s i n f i n i t e although bounded by f a c t i c i t y . It i s inter e s t i n g that i n his E x i s t e n t i a l ism (which he l a t e r repudiated), Sartre does advance a formal constraint on valuation and he does so i n order to answer the charge that e x i s t e n t i a l i s m leaves man free to choose his values irresponsibly and a r b i t r a r i l y without regard for human s o l i d a r i t y . I have already quoted two of the relevant passages e a r l i e r and i t w i l l be r e c a l l e d that the claim i n these was that, i n some cases, in choosing a value or an i d e a l , a man chooses i t as good uni-v e r s a l l y , as good for a l l , as an ide a l for man as such, and so on. This maneuver, however, i s not only contradictory to the s p i r i t of much of Being and Nothingness, but seems to be quite unfounded on anything at a l l i n the rest of Sartre's theory. It looks very much l i k e an attempt to show that his ex i s t e n t i a l i s m i s at least a quasi-moral theory a f t e r a l l . I t i s as i f Sartre r e a l i z e d that unless something of t h i s sort could be established, the adoption of an e x i s t i a l i s t outlook would tend toward amorality. I suggested e a r l i e r i n t h i s chapter that the most promising form of s u b j e c t i v i s t moral agency was the one which involved the ind i v i d u a l i n a p a r t i c u l a r self-conception, e.g. as part of a c o l l e c t i v e "we." Interestingly, i n spite of the fact that Sartre's theory i n Being and Nothingness pushes i n exactly the opposite 218 d i r e c t i o n , he ended up i n The C r i t i q u e of D i a l e c t i c a l Reason defending a M a r x i s t p o s i t i o n i n which t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y o f seein g o n e s e l f as a member, as a p a r t of a group with a c o i n c i d e n c e o f i n t e r e s t s , i s a b s o l u t e l y c r i t i c a l . In Being and Nothingness, S a r t r e (1966) says: The s p i r i t o f s e r i o u s n e s s has two c h a r a c t e r -i s t i c s : i t c o n s i d e r s values as transcendent givens independent of human s u b j e c t i v i t y , and i t t r a n s f e r s the q u a l i t y of " d e s i r a b l e " from the o n t o l o g i c a l s t r u c t u r e o f t h i n g s t o t h e i r simple m a t e r i a l c o n s t i t u t i o n . For the s p i r i t of s e r i o u s n e s s , f o r example, bread i s d e s i r a b l e because i t i s necessary to l i v e (a va l u e w r i t t e n i n an i n t e l l i g i b l e heaven) and because bread i s n o u r i s h i n g . The r e s u l t of the s e r i o u s a t t i t u d e , which as we know r u l e s the world, i s to cause the symbolic v a l u e s of t h i n g s to be drunk i n by t h e i r e m p i r i c a l i d i o s y n c r a s y as ink by a b l o t t e r ; i t puts forward the o p a c i t y of the d e s i r e d o b j e c t and p o s i t s i t i n i t s e l f as a d e s i r a b l e i r r e d u c i b l e . Thus we are al r e a d y on the moral plane but c o n c u r r e n t l y on t h a t o f bad f a i t h , f o r i t i s an e t h i c s which i s ashamed of i t s e l f and does not dare speak . i t s name. I t has obscured a l l i t s g o a l s i n order t o f r e e i t s e l f from anguish (p. 796). I t almost seems t h a t f o r S a r t r e the "moral plane" i s both o b j e c t i v i s t and n e c e s s a r i l y i n bad f a i t h . Mary Warnock i n her e x c e l l e n t book E x i s t e n t i a l i s m d i s c u s s e s the q u e s t i o n of whether or not the theory o f Being and Nothingness i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h moral agency. She says: There i s a r e a l d i f f i c u l t y a t t h i s p o i n t i n S a r t r e ' s p h i l o s o p h y which he d i d not i n any way s o l v e , a t l e a s t u n t i l he abandoned E x i s t e n t i a l i s m . In Being and Nothingness he seems to be saying t h a t we must each decide f o r o u r s e l v e s how to l i v e , what i s good and what i s bad, and t h a t t h i s i s a p u r e l y p e r s o n a l d e c i s i o n , which no one can take on b e h a l f o f another. But there i s an element i n genuine e v a l u a t i o n which w i l l 219 not submit to t h i s a n a l y s i s , I f , f o r example, a man judges s i n c e r e l y t h a t tax e v a s i o n i s wrong, then i n some sense he has, whether he knows i t or not, judged t h a t i t i s wrong i n g e n e r a l , and he may even b e l i e v e , though without saying as much, t h a t i t i s wrong n e c e s s a r i l y , or a b s o l u t e l y . . . . And so S a r t r e has not s a i d enough, when he i n s i s t s t h a t human beings cannot f i n d a b s olute v a l u e s i n the world, thev can o n l y pretend to themselves to do so. He has not taken i n t o account of the f a c t s of forming moral o p i n i o n s . (Warnock, 1970, p. 124) I t h i n k t h a t Warnock here v o i c e s a very common r e a c t i o n to S a r t r e ' s w r i t i n g i n s o f a r as she i s unable to see even the p o s s i b i l i t y of moral t h i n k i n g w i t h i n S a r t r e ' s terms of r e f e r e n c e . I have used the terms " v a l u a t i o n " throughout i n s t e a d of " e v a l u a t i o n " to mark j u s t the s o r t of d i f f e r e n c e which she p o i n t s up between the e x i s t e n t i a l i s t (amoral) approach and the moral approach to v a l u e s . S a r t r e , h i m s e l f has a very a c t i v e s o c i a l conscience and i s p o l i t i c a l l y v e r y aware. I f Warnock i s r i g h t (and I agree with her here) t h a t S a r t r e ' s e x i s t e n t i a l i s m i s e s s e n t i a l l y amoral (my term, not h e r s ) , then i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t he should f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to continue to embrace a p h i l o s o p h y which makes no s p e c i a l p r o v i s i o n f o r , and i s even p o s s i b l y i n c o n s i s t e n t with, the s i n c e r e use of moral language. Moral language i s a f t e r a l l the language of s o c i a l l y concerned p o l i t i c a l man. I should say t h a t I am not suggesting t h a t the a m o r a l i s t must not engage i n h the a f f a i r s of s o c i e t y but o n l y t h a t he must do so with one eye f i r m l y f i x e d on h i m s e l f as an i n d i v i d u a l e x i s t e n t who i n S a r t r e ' s phrase i s "the being by whom va l u e s e x i s t . " 220 6 N i e t z s c h e A n a t u r a l p l a c e to look f o r a treatment of the p o s s i b i l i t y of abandoning m o r a l i t y i s i n the w r i t i n g s of F r i e d r i c h N i e t z s c h e . U n f o r t u n a t e l y i t i s not easy, having looked, t o say what i s t h e r e . C e r t a i n l y t h e r e i s an important theme of a n t i - m o r a l i s m i n N i e t z s c h e ' s thought and while some commentators have construed him as advocating a new and d i f f e r e n t m o r a l i t y , i t seems to me t h a t h i s r e j e c t i o n of c o n v e n t i o n a l moral v a l u e s i s so r a d i c a l and thorough t h a t i t would be s t r a i n e d t o speak of m o r a l i t y a t a l l r e g a r d i n g h i s a l t e r n a t i v e view. The concept on which we must con c e n t r a t e i s c l e a r l y t h a t of the "ubermensch" or "overman" but f i r s t some remarks about N i e t z s c h e ' s h o s t i l i t y toward c o n v e n t i o n a l m o r a l i t y are i n order s i n c e , i n l a r g e measure, the overman i s the embodiment o f what N i e t z s c h e sees as the way of going beyond o r d i n a r y moral t h i n k i n g . Here, as elsewhere, the i s s u e i s clouded by N i e t z s c h e ' s tendency to t h e o r i z e i n terms of a b i o l o g i c a l psychology. He says, f o r example, t h a t what people v a l u e i s determined by t h e i r p s y c h o l o -g i c a l makeup; indeed t h a t the m o r a l i t y of a group c o u l d no more be changed than c o u l d i t s physique or the b i o c h e m i c a l composition of i t s blood. The whole d o c t r i n e of the w i l l to power i s s a t u r -ated with t h i s s o r t of n a t u r a l i s m . However, i t i s p o s s i b l e to i g n o r e most of N i e t z s c h e ' s p s y c h o l o g i c a l hypotheses while p r e -s e r v i n g a reasonably coherent p o i n t of view, because, i n s p i t e of them, he c e r t a i n l y thought t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e to conduct a c r i t i q u e of m o r a l i t y and the r e s u l t s of the c r i t i q u e might be expected to i n f l u e n c e our ways of t h i n k i n g and a c t i n g . 221 In the P r e f a c e to the Genealogy .of Morals (6), he says: L e t us a r t i c u l a t e t h i s new demand: we need a c r i t i q u e of moral v a l u e s , the value of these values themselves must first be called in question.... One has taken the v a l u e of these "values" as g i v e n , as f a c t u a l , as beyond a l l q u e s t i o n ; one has h i t h e r t o never doubted or h e s i t a t e d i n the s l i g h t e s t degree i n supposing "the good man" to be of g r e a t e r value than "the e v i l man," of g r e a t e r value i n the sense of f u r t h e r i n g the advance- , ment and prosperity of man i n g e n e r a l (the f u t u r e of man i n c l u d e d ) . But what i f the r e v e r s e were t r u e ? . . . . So t h a t p r e c i s e l y m o r a l i t y would be to blame^.if the highest power and splendor a c t u a l l y p o s s i b l e to the type man was never i n f a c t a t t a i n e d ? So t h a t p r e c i s e l y m o r a l i t y was the danger of dangers. (Nietzsche, 1969, p. 20) N o t i c e the s h i f t from " p r o s p e r i t y " to "power and splendor" as w e l l as the s h i f t from "man i n g e n e r a l " to "the type man." N i e t z s c h e o f t e n denegrates the t y p i c a l l y moral concern with comfortable l i v i n g , s e c u r i t y , happiness, p r o s p e r i t y , and so on, i n favour of v a l u e s which are b e t t e r thought of as human e x c e l -l e n c e s than moral v i r t u e s ; e.g. s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e , i n t e l l e c t u a l c o n s c i e n t i o u s n e s s , s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y , and so on. Consider the f o l l o w i n g passage: You want, i f p o s s i b l e - and there i s no more insane " i f p o s s i b l e " - to abolish s u f f e r i n g . And we? I t r e a l l y seems t h a t we would r a t h e r have i t h i g h e r and worse than ever. Well-being as you understand i t - t h a t i s no g o a l , t h a t seems to us an end, a s t a t e t h a t soon makes man r i d i c u l o u s and con-t e m p t i b l e - t h a t makes h i s d e s t r u c t i o n desiraJble. (Nietzsche, 1966, Beyond Good and E v i l , 225, p. 153) , I t h i n k there can be l i t t l e doubt t h a t N i e t z s c h e , the s e l f -confessed a m o r a l i s t , i s prepared to take very s e r i o u s l y indeed 222 the p o s s i b i l i t y of abandoning m o r a l i t y i t s e l f , and not j u s t of m o d ifying c o n v e n t i o n a l m o r a l i t y . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g , however, t h a t he does not envisage any r e a l p o s s i b i l i t y o f a u n i v e r s a l abandonment of m o r a l i t y because the "herd" can h a r d l y be expected to exemplify nor even apprec-i a t e human e x c e l l e n c e (as he understands i t ) to any g r e a t extent. Sometimes he even suggests t h a t m o r a l i t y ought to p r e v a i l i n the herd as the c o n d i t i o n of the e x i s t e n c e of the overman. He says: The continuance of the C h r i s t i a n i d e a l i s one of the most d e s i r a b l e t h i n g s there are - even f o r the sake of the i d e a l s t h a t want to stand b e s i d e i t and perhaps above i t - they must have opponents, strong opponents, i f they are to become strong. Thus we immoralists r e q u i r e the power of m o r a l i t y : our d r i v e of s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n wants our opponents to r e t a i n t h e i r s t r e n g t h -i t o n l y wants to become master over them. (Nietzsche, 1968, The Will to Power, , 361, p. 197) At t h i s p o i n t , we should note a t e n s i o n , i f not a c o n t r a -d i c t i o n , i n N i e t z s c h e ' s t h i n k i n g . On the one hand, he r e s i s t s the n o t i o n t h a t there are o b j e c t i v e v a l u e s t o be d i s c o v e r e d by the contemplation of the nature of t h i n g s , as i t were. Not o n l y must the moral v a l u e s be r e v a l u e d , but a l l v a l u e s must c o n s t a n t l y be r e v a l u e d . For N i e t z s c h e , much more than f o r S a r t r e , t h i s "must" i s e t h i c a l and thoroughly normative, s i n c e i t i s o n l y by adopting t h i s e v e r - q u e s t i o n i n g p o i n t of view t h a t a man can achieve h i s h i g h e s t p o t e n t i a l . N i e t z s c h e has, i t seems, a view of the i d e a l , h i g h e s t , b e s t k i n d of e x i s t e n c e f o r man and i t i s an i d e a l which, while not a t t a i n a b l e f o r any but a smal l e l i t e , i s nonetheless v e r y much l i k e an o b j e c t i v e v a l u e of the s o r t he 223 denies e x i s t s . Indeed, N i e t z s c h e c l a i m s t h a t the e x i s t e n c e of one overman c o u l d j u s t i f y the world! He says: I t each: t h a t there are higher and lower men, and t h a t a s i n g l e i n d i v i d u a l can under c e r t a i n circumstances j u s t i f y the e x i s t e n c e of whole m i l l e n n i a - t h a t i s , a f u l l , r i c h , g r e a t , whole human being i n r e l a t i o n t o c o u n t l e s s incomplete f r a g -mentary men. (Nietzsche, 1968, The Will to Power, 997, p. 518) I t i s comments such as these which have convinced some people t h a t N i e t z s c h e i s a c t u a l l y a m o r a l i s t i n s p i t e of h i m s e l f . I t seems to me b e t t e r to say t h a t he may be an o b j e c t i v i s t or even t h a t he has an e t h i c a l theory, but t h a t the nature of h i s e t h i c s does not permit the t i t l e " m o r a l i s t . " (See The will to Power, 304, p. 171 where N i e t z s c h e suggests t h a t even m o r a l i s t s , i . e . those who would propagate moral v i r t u e s , a c t u a l l y need to be a m o r a l i s t s so as not to succumb to t h e i r own v i r t u e s and the n o t i o n t h a t they embody o b j e c t i v e values.) I f nothing e l s e , h i s l a c k of concern and the overman's l a c k of concern, f o r the w e l l - b e i n g of the bulk of mankind d i s q u a l i f i e s him on t h a t score. But, i n any case, i t i s not N i e t z s c h e we are p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h here; i t i s the overman, and s u r e l y he does not even begin to q u a l i f y as a moral agent. The overman stands alone. Again and again N i e t z s c h e p a i n t s him as the s o l i t a r y i n d i v i d u a l , as f o r example i n the f o l l o w i n g passages: I t each: the herd seeks to p r e s e r v e one type and defends i t s e l f on both s i d e s , a g a i n s t those who have degenerated from i t ( c r i m i n a l s , etc.) and those who tower above i t . The tendency of the herd i s d i r e c t e d toward s t a n d s t i l l and p r e s e r v a t i o n , t h e r e 224 i s n othing c r e a t i v e i n i t . The p l e a s a n t f e e l i n g s w i t h which the good, benevolent, j u s t man i n s p i r e s ( i n c o n t r a s t to the t e n s i o n , f e a r which the g r e a t , new man arouses) are our own f e e l i n g s of p e r s o n a l s e c u r i t y and e q u a l i t y : the herd animal thus g l o r i f i e s the herd nature and then i t f e e l s comfortable. T h i s judg-ment of comfort masks i t s e l f w i t h f a i r words - thus " m o r a l i t y " a r i s e s . - But observe the h a t r e d o f the herd f o r the t r u t h f u l . - (285 , p. 162). L e t one not be deceived about o n e s e l f ! I f one hears w i t h i n o n e s e l f the moral imper-a t i v e as i t i s understood by a l t r u i s m , one belongs to the herd. I f one has the o p p o s i t e f e e l i n g , i f one f e e l s one's danger and a b b e r r a t i o n l i e s i n d i s i n t e r e s t e d and s e l f l e s s a c t i o n s , one does not belong to the herd. (286, p. 162) (Nietzsche, 1968, The Will to Power) Thus the overman does not d i s p l a y the k i n d of consciousness of community which i s one hallmark of the moral age