Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Quote: Foot Making Fun of Expressivists

In her book 'Natural Goodness' Philippa Foot criticizes (lightly mocks) expressivist accounts of moral evaluation because they seem to make evaluation of human action completely disconnected from our evaluation of other biological aspects of human well-being, as well as the evaluation of the goodness of other kinds of animals and plants.

"For it is obvious that no expressivist account will do in those other domains: we cannot think that the use of the word 'good' is to express a 'pro-attitude' in what we say about the roots of nettles or the fangs of ferocious beasts. Nowadays such evaluations are apt to be marginalized as if they were fanciful extensions of the 'proper' evaluations that express our attitudes, practical decisions, or desires. But when I was told by a certain philosopher who wanted to explain 'good' in terms of choices, that the good roots of trees were roots of the kind 'we should choose if we were trees', this finally confirmed my suspicion of the kind of moral philosophy that was his."

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