Moral Tuning

Metaphilosophy 49 (4):435-458 (2018)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Can a set of musical metaphors in a treatise on ethics reveal something about the nature and source of moral autonomy? This article argues that it can. It shows how metaphorical usage of words like tone, pitch, and concord in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments can be understood as elements of an analogical model for morality. What this model tells us about morality depends on how we conceptualise music. In contrast to earlier interpretations of Smith's metaphors that have seen music as an aesthetic object, this article sees music as a practice. Understood in this way, the analogy allows us to see morality too as a practice––as moral tuning. This in turn reveals a novel answer to the intractable problem of conventionalism: moral autonomy consists in the freedom inherent in the constant need to interpret and reinterpret the strictly formal ideal of perfect propriety.
Categories
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
SIVMT
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-01-17
View other versions
Added to PP index
2018-07-26

Total views
45 ( #46,584 of 53,601 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #53,175 of 53,601 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.