Ideas from 'Moral Arguments' by Philippa Foot [1958], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Virtues and Vices' by Foot,Philippa [Blackwell 1981,0-631-12749-6]].

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22. Metaethics / A. Value / 1. Nature of Value / b. Fact and value
We can't affirm a duty without saying why it matters if it is not performed
                        Full Idea: I do not know what could be meant by saying it was someone's duty to do something unless there was an attempt to show why it mattered if this sort of thing was not done.
                        From: Philippa Foot (Moral Arguments [1958], p.105)
                        A reaction: The Kantian idea assumes that duty is an absolute, and yet each duty rests on a particular maxim which is going to be universalised. So why should that maxim be universalised, and not some other?
Whether someone is rude is judged by agreed criteria, so the facts dictate the value
                        Full Idea: Whether a man is speaking of behaviour as rude or not rude, he must use the same criteria as anyone else. ...We have here an example of a non-evaluative premise from which an evaluative conclusion can be deduced.
                        From: Philippa Foot (Moral Arguments [1958], p.104)
                        A reaction: We would now call 'rude' a 'thick' ethical concept (where 'good' is 'thin'). Her powerful point is, I take it, that evidence is always relevant to judgements of thick concepts, so there is no fact-value gap. 'Rude' has criteria, but 'good' may not.
To reject the fact-value distinction, no evidence can count in favour of rightness or wrongness
                        Full Idea: To show that facts and values are unconnected we must show that some things do and some things don't count in favour of a moral conclusion, and that no one can choose what counts as evidence for rightness or wrongness.
                        From: Philippa Foot (Moral Arguments [1958], p.99)
                        A reaction: But what sort of facts might do the job? I can only think of right functioning and health as facts which seem to imply value. Pleasure and misery don't quite get there.
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / k. Ethics from nature
Moral judgements need more than the relevant facts, if the same facts lead to 'x is good' and 'x is bad'
                        Full Idea: It is suggested that anyone who has considered all the facts which could bear on his moral position has ipso facto produced a 'well founded' moral judgement, ...How 'x is good' can be well founded when 'x is bad' is equally well founded is hard to see.
                        From: Philippa Foot (Moral Arguments [1958], p.96)
                        A reaction: This seems to be a warning to particularists, if they hope that moral judgements just emerge from the facts. It doesn't rule out physicalist naturalism about morality, if the attitudes we bring to the facts have arisen out of further facts.