Not so promising after all: Evaluator-relative teleology and common-sense morality

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (3) (2006)
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Douglas Portmore has recently argued in this journal for a "promising result" – that combining teleological ethics with "evaluator relativism" about the good allows an ethical theory to account for deontological intuitions while "accommodat[ing] the compelling idea that it is always permissible to bring about the best available state of affairs." I show that this result is false. It follows from the indexical semantics of evaluator relativism that Portmore's compelling idea is false. I also try to explain what might have led to this misunderstanding.

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Mark Schroeder
University of Southern California


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