Smith on moral fetishism

Analysis 57 (3):187–195 (1997)
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Abstract

In his book The Moral Problem and in a recent issue of this journal, Michael Smith claims to refute any theory which construes the relationship between moral judgements and motivation as contingent and rationally optional. Smith’s argument fails. In showing how it fails, I shall make three claims. First, a concern for what is right, where this is read de dicto, does not amount to moral fetishism. Second, it is not always morally preferable to care about what is right, where this is read de re. Third, the externalist can account for why a good and strong-willed person is reliably motivated in accordance with her moral judgements without appealing to a basic moral motive to do what is right, where this is read de dicto.

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Hallvard Lillehammer
Birkbeck College, University Of London

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