"Okay, it's not immoral but it is in poor taste"
Garry Young (University of Melbourne)

October 11, 2018, 4:15pm - 6:15pm
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne, The University of Melbourne

Jim Potter Room/Old Physics
The University of Melbourne
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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In this talk, I consider whether the proposition “x is not immoral but it is in poor taste” is morally contradictory. An argument for why this might be the case is presented, followed by attempts to avoid the putative contradiction. An anti-realist position based on the emergence of objectified norms – norms of morality and taste – is proposed, known as constructive ecumenical expressivism, to account for similarities in the process underlying judgements about taste and morality. I contend that norms of morality and taste are achieved through consensus, but that an accusation of poor taste amounts to a negative judgement about the treatment of a morally pertinent matter, thus making the former parasitic on the latter. Because poor taste is dependent on immorality, a morally relevant means of distinguishing between the two is available, making legitimate, from an expressivist perspective, the proposition “x is not immoral but it is in poor taste”.

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