Ordinary experience as evidence in Joseph Butler's moral theory Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Mills, Heather Ann
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy
  • Given Joseph Butler's tripartite view of human psychology, some philosophers argue that he faces three objections: circularity, vacuity and normativity. Sahar Akhtar argues that if we interpret Butler to hold reason and conscience as two different mental capacities, he can answer these objections. Amelie Rorty argues, in contrast, that he can do so while maintaining that reason and conscience are the same mental capacity. I agree with Rorty's conclusion and argue that: 1) Part of the reason the disagreement arises in the secondary literature is due the fact that Butler presents his philosophical position in colloquial English. 2) I conclude that if we take Butler at his word that the evidence of his philosophical position comes from our very experiences of making moral decisions then he does not in fact face the three objections.
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  • Hill, Thomas E.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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