ON GIBSON’S DEFENCE OF QUINEAN ETHICS

Nigerian Journal of the Humanities 18 (Sepember):18-37. (2012)
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Abstract

Roger Gibson offers a defence of W.V.O. Quine’s conception of ethics as “methodologically infirm” against Owen Flanagan’s criticism. Gibson argues that Flanagan’s critique of Quinean ethics is misdirected, and that he (Flanagan) fails to establish that ethics and science (natural science) are on a methodological par. In this essay, we argue that there may actually be some sort of overemphasis in Flanagan’s argument, given its inclination to see Quine’s holism as rejecting any form of correspondence theory, yet, pace Gibson (as well as Quine), this does not suggest that ethics is “methodologically infirm” in comparison with natural science. Rather, we argue that the comparative attempt between ethics and natural science is mistaken, because the two disciplines are necessarily different in goals, tasks and methods.

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Olaoluwa Andrew Oyedola
Anglia Ruskin University

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