E. F. Carritt (1876-1964)

In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell (2016)
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E. F. Carritt (1876-1964) was educated at and taught in Oxford University. He made substantial contributions both to aesthetics and to moral philosophy. The focus of this entry is his work in moral philosophy. His most notable works in this field are The Theory of Morals (1928) and Ethical and Political Thinking (1947). Carritt developed views in metaethics and in normative ethics. In meta-ethics he defends a cognitivist, non-naturalist moral realism and was among the first to respond to A. J. Ayer’s emotivist challenge to this view. In normative ethics he advocates a deontological view in which there is a plurality of obligations and of non-instrumental goods. In the context of defending this view he raised some penetrating and novel criticisms of ideal utilitarianism. He held that it is not acceptable to revise our reflective common-sense moral attitudes in the face of philosophical moral theories, and that moral philosophy is only indirectly practical.
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