[lit-ideas] Re: SOS - BA vs Hare's prescriptive

On Page 76 Taylor refers to "the kind of support that theories like Hare's
prescriptivism derive from considerations about the logic of moral language.
But once one thinks in this way in connection with, say, a theistic view,
then one is heading towards a totally wrong picture of the situation, one
which had some relevance to an earlier age, as I argued above, but has none
to ours."

 

That statement led me to the aforementioned reviewer whom you say is not
misleading who wrote, "He [Hare] argues that claims are moral if and only if
they take the form of universalizable prescriptions. They are
universalizable in that an agent must be willing to apply them to all cases
that are alike in all the relevant respects. They are prescriptive in that
they provide guidance about how to act and they are necessarily connected to
motivation."  

 

I hope we aren't going to get into one of our famous arguments that results
in our being described as dogs, but I believe that I am being true to what
the reviewer wrote.  Explain to me why I am not.  I see Kant's Categorical
Imperative here - a truth that is to be universalized.  I can say "thou
shalt not murder" and intend this to be universalizable.  It is prescriptive
and a guide for moral behavior.   I can also see Geary's "be kind" as
universalizable within his framework.  

 

I haven't read Hare but don't see how he can hold the view that we must
believe our moral choices to be universalizable prescriptions without the
potential for evaluating consequent more actions.  Jack was unkind to Jim.
He violated Geary's universalized prescription; therefore in Geary's moral
judgment Jack is guilty of moral turpitude.  

 

Also, if Mike truly believes that Rawls "be kind" is a universalizable
prescription, then it is at least part of his Framework, if not the whole
thing.

 

Lawrence

 

 

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Robert Paul
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 7:29 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: SOS - BA vs Hare's prescriptive

 

Lawrence Helm wrote:

 

> I don't think I am being misleading if you read what immediately 

> precedes the paragraph you quote from, namely "He [Hare] argues that 

> claims are moral if and only if they take the form of universalizable 

> prescriptions. They are universalizable in that an agent must be willing 

> to apply them to all cases that are alike in all the relevant respects. 

> They are prescriptive in that they provide guidance about how to act and 

> they are necessarily connected to motivation."

 

This is certainly not misleading as far as it goes. But in what I'll 

quote again to you (which would seem to be your interpretation of the 

difference between Taylor and Hare) what you say either ignores or is 

inconsistent with this.

 

One can see that Taylor (at least at this point) is taking a very

different tack from Hare and yet I wonder if Hare doesn't have the truer

hold on this matter.  Do we really think as Taylor argues that we settle

for the BA, Best Account?  Or do we with Hare believe our framework is

the truth and that it should be universalized.

 

It is the last sentence that is misleading, and especially so as Hare is 

nowhere concerned with the truth of moral judgments or with the truth of 

frameworks, whatever that might mean.

 

> This is fairly misleading. Hare isn't arguing that we first discover

> 

> some moral 'truth' and then work to get it universalized (or

> 

> universalised). He's arguing that something about the 'logic' of moral

> 

> language requires that anything we put forward as a moral judgment must

> 

> be universalizable: that if it's correct in such and such circumstances

> 

> then it must be correct in any similar circumstances (no idiosyncratic

> 

> judgments). Some have argued that this is trivially true with respect to

> 

> any judgment.

 

Robert Paul

(again)

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