Philosophy 1200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 37: Consequentialism, Moral Reasoning, List Of Fables Characters
Reasoning about what we ought to do is called moral reasoning or normative reasoning. A difficulty with normative reasoning is that it is circular. As david hume famously pointed out, we cannot derive an ought from an is . That is, for all moral reasoning we must accept some normative claim or other as a starting premise. Without such we cannot draw a normative conclusion. Note: when a conclusion makes a normative claim, at least one premise must also be a normative statement. Reasoning about what we ought to do seems much like deciding what we prefer, a matter of taste. How we ought to treat people vs what we like: justification. Judgments of taste need no such justification: generalizability. Moral judgments generalize to other people in similar situations. Judgments of taste are not expected to generalize. Skepticism claims that there are no criteria for moral justification.