Objectivity in Ethics

March 31, 2016 - April 1, 2016
Department of Philosophy, Utrecht University

Domplein 29

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Sophie Grace Chappell
Allan Gibbard
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Sharon Street
New York University
Catherine Wilson
University of York, UK


Julia Hermann
Utrecht University
Jeroen Hopster
Utrecht University
Wouter Kalf
Utrecht University
Michael Klenk
Utrecht University

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Most of us agree that moral norms are, or should be, more objective than aesthetic judgements or expressions of taste. Ordinary moral judgements contain a claim to objectivity. Their validity is thought to be independent from one’s individual desires or inclinations. 

However, philosophers disagree deeply about nearly all aspects of objectivity in ethics. Should we analyse the objectivity of moral judgements in terms of truth or falsity? If so, how should we understand moral truth? How would moral properties fit into our science-based view of the world? Should a conception of moral objectivity be influenced by facts about human nature? Can the empirical sciences contribute to a better understanding of morality’s purported objectivity?

The aim of this two-day conference is to explore the diversity of philosophical doctrines about moral objectivity, and to assess their philosophical and scientific merits. Confirmed speakers are Allan Gibbard, Sharon Street, Catherine Wilson and Sophie Grace Chappell

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February 29, 2016, 4:00am CET

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