Ethics and the Question of What to Do

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 25 (2) (2023)
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In this paper I present an account of a distinctive form of ‘practical’ or ‘deliberative’ uncertainty that has been central in debates in both ethics and metaethics. Many writers have assumed that such uncertainty concerns a special normative question, such as what we ought to do ‘all things considered.’ I argue against this assumption and instead endorse an alternative view of such uncertainty, which combines elements of both metaethical cognitivism and non-cognitivism. A notable consequence of this view is that even if there are objective and irreducible truths about how we ought to act, all things considered, the ‘central deliberative question,’ as it’s sometimes called, doesn’t concern such truths. Instead, that question doesn’t have a true answer.

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Olle Risberg
Uppsala University


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