Does anybody think that there might be another common metaethical theory to go along w/ deontology, consequentialism, and virtue? I think it's only rarely codified, usu. used implicitly or as a folk theory, in which morality consists of bettering ones own faction and defeating opposing factions, and as far as I can see it's most common in radical politics of all stripes. Is this distinguishable from very myopic consequentialism or mere selfishness?

I don't think it's often explicitly stated or even identified as a premise - the only case in which I see it stated by people who understand what it means is when restrictionists bring it up in debates about immigration. Its opponents call it tribalism, what its proponents call it differs depending on what the in-group is. I would classify it as a form of moral intuitionism. By the way, there are other ethical theories in addition to the three you mentioned. For example: contractarianism (though perhaps it's a form of consequentialism), contractualism (maybe consequentialist or deontological), and various forms of moral intuitionism.

8pragmatist7yIt depends on the reasons why one considers it right to benefit one's own faction and defeat opposing ones, I guess. Or are you proposing that this is just taken as a basic premise of the moral theory? If so, I'm not sure you can justifiably attribute it to many political groups. I doubt a significant number of them want to defeat opposing factions simply because they consider that the right thing to do (irrespective of what those factions believe or do). Also, deontology, consequentialism and virtue ethics count as object-level ethical theories, I think, not meta-ethical theories. Examples of meta-ethical theories would be intuitionism (we know what is right or wrong through some faculty of moral intuition), naturalism (moral facts reduce to natural facts) and moral skepticism (there are no moral facts).

Open thread, August 12-18, 2013

by David_Gerard 1 min read12th Aug 2013125 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.