The Magnetism of the Good and Ethical Realism Essay

2883 Words 12 Pages
The Magnetism of the Good and Ethical Realism

ABSTRACT: Ethical antirealists believe the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, do not signify properties that objects and actions have or might have. They believe that when a person calls pain or any other event ‘bad’ and adultery or any other action ‘wrong’, he does not report some fact about that object or action. J. L. Mackie defends ethical anti-realism in part by appealing to an ontological queerness he believes value properties would have if they existed. "If there were objective values," Mackie writes, "they would be entities or qualities or relations of a very strange sort, utterly different from anything else in the universe." (1) Goodness would have a queer magnetic
…show more content…
When we recognize a feature of what it is for an object to be good or bad, and a certain property of people, we can understand why good and bad motivate us as they do. When we understand this we see there is nothing unbelievably queer in good and bad motivating us as they do. Thus, to explain why that which is good attracts people, and why that which is bad repels people, I identify both a property in the good (or bad) object and a property in our constitution. The property in the good object I specify in Part I below; the property in our constitution I specify in Part II. I defend a form of ‘ethical rationalism’, the view that the good prompts us to desire and seek what is good by way of reason.

Part I: A property in a good object that disposes people to seek the object

Goodness and reasons for action

We identify a property in an object’s being good or bad that is responsible for the object's consequences on human motivation by identifying a connection between an object's being good or bad and that object’s having a property that provides reasons for action and reasons for desire.

Suppose a woman is contemplating which of two careers to pursue. When she contemplates the pros and cons for each of the career options, she lists what are both good and bad properties of each career and

Related Documents