Ideas of A.C. Ewing, by Theme

[British, 1899 - 1973, Lecturer at Cambridge University.]

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13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / b. Pro-coherentism
We can no more expect a precise definition of coherence than we can of the moral ideal
     Full Idea: I think it is wrong to tie down the advocates of the coherence theory to a precise definition. ...It would be altogether unreasonable to demand that the moral ideal should be exhaustively defined, and the same may be true of the ideal of thought.
     From: A.C. Ewing (Idealism: a critical survey [1934], p.231), quoted by Erik J. Olsson - Against Coherence 7.6
     A reaction: I strongly agree. It is not a council of despair. I think the criteria of coherence can be articulated quite well (e.g by Thagard), and the virtues of enquiry can also be quite well specified (e.g. by Zagzebski). Very dissimilar evidence must cohere.
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / c. Coherentism critique
If undetailed, 'coherence' is just a vague words that covers all possible arguments
     Full Idea: Without a detailed account, coherence is reduced to the mere muttering of the word 'coherence', which can be interpreted so as to cover all arguments, but only by making its meaning so wide as to rob it of almost all significance.
     From: A.C. Ewing (Idealism: a critical survey [1934], p.246), quoted by Erik J. Olsson - Against Coherence 2.2
     A reaction: I'm a fan of coherence, but it is a placeholder, involving no intrinsic or detailed theory. I just think it points to the reality of how we make judgements, especially practical ones. We can categorise the inputs, and explain the required virtues.
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / c. Particularism
The ground for an attitude is not a thing's 'goodness', but its concrete characteristics
     Full Idea: The ground for an attitude lies not in some other ethical concept, goodness, but in the concrete, factual characteristics of what we pronounce good. ...We shall not be better off if we interpolate an indefinable characteristic of goodness besides.
     From: A.C. Ewing (The Definition of Good [1948], p.172), quoted by Francesco Orsi - Value Theory 1.4
     A reaction: This is a forerunner of Scanlon's Buck-Passing theory of the source of value (in other properties). I approve of this approach. If I say 'actually this very strong cheese is really good', I'm not adding goodness to the cheese.