Do Moral Questions Ask for Answers?

Philosophia 43 (1):43-61 (2015)
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Abstract

It is often assumed that moral questions ask for answers in the way other questions do. In this article, moral and non-moral versions of the question ‘Should I do x or y?’ are compared. While non-moral questions of that form typically ask for answers of the form ‘You should do x/y’, so-called ‘narrow answers’, moral questions often do not ask for such narrow answers. Rather, they ask for answers recognizing their delicacy, the need for a deeper understanding of the meaning of the alternatives and the fact that moral decisions are, as Gaita formulates it, ‘non-accidentally and inescapably’ the agent’s to make. In short, moral questions often ask for a kind of answer that is highly different from the kind of answer non-moral questions ask for. In presupposing the ideal answer to a moral question to be a narrow answer, moral philosophers have tended to overlook this

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