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INTUITIONS OF FITTINGNESS

INTUITIONS OF FITTINGNESS In one sense of the term current among analytical philosophers, the quietist _lacks skeptical doubts about the metaphysical or epistemological status of ethical judgments as a class of judgment. He may still have doubts about, say, the current state of morality. There are criteria of courage by which, though they are open-ended, a man may count as acting bravely. It need not follow that he has adopted the best tactics. Yet he must have responded fittingly to danger. But how is that to be identified? "Ought"-judgments are to be understood contextually, with an implicit relativity to certain ends or quasi-ends, and—when the "ought" is only pro tanto —to certain aspects of, or opportunities within, a situation. These judgments are often intuitive in that they do not derive from the application of a principle. Fittingness is an anthropocentric relation that holds within some human perspective; we should not think of it as a feature purportedly inherent in the very nature of things. It is salutary to remember cases where the "ought" is so relativized, say to an undesirable end, that it identifies no reason for action. The nature of the relation does not change when it is relativized to an end that the agent has reason to achieve. "Ought"-judgments should not be interpreted in ambitious ways that make them generally problematic. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

INTUITIONS OF FITTINGNESS

Common Knowledge , Volume 15 (3) – Oct 1, 2009

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References (13)

Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-2009-017
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In one sense of the term current among analytical philosophers, the quietist _lacks skeptical doubts about the metaphysical or epistemological status of ethical judgments as a class of judgment. He may still have doubts about, say, the current state of morality. There are criteria of courage by which, though they are open-ended, a man may count as acting bravely. It need not follow that he has adopted the best tactics. Yet he must have responded fittingly to danger. But how is that to be identified? "Ought"-judgments are to be understood contextually, with an implicit relativity to certain ends or quasi-ends, and—when the "ought" is only pro tanto —to certain aspects of, or opportunities within, a situation. These judgments are often intuitive in that they do not derive from the application of a principle. Fittingness is an anthropocentric relation that holds within some human perspective; we should not think of it as a feature purportedly inherent in the very nature of things. It is salutary to remember cases where the "ought" is so relativized, say to an undesirable end, that it identifies no reason for action. The nature of the relation does not change when it is relativized to an end that the agent has reason to achieve. "Ought"-judgments should not be interpreted in ambitious ways that make them generally problematic.

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2009

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