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Moral objectivity: Kant, Hume and psychopathy

Jansen, Claudia (2018) Moral objectivity: Kant, Hume and psychopathy. Master of Philosophy (MPhil) thesis, University of Kent,.

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Abstract

Moral objectivity is about genuinely better or worse courses of action and states of affairs in the moral domain. It seems good to aim at an identification of objective moral justifications that is maximally independent of subjectivity (at least if the threat of relativism is to be avoided). Having said that, it seems problematic to accept objective discriminations or justifications that are devoid of subjectivity. Every account of objective moral justifications seems in need of some sort of relationship with naturalistic human minds. How else could such justifications enter the universe? In this study I build towards arguments for deciding when claims about the status of moral objectivity are overambitious. I offer three lines of argument that point to moral objectivity being essentially anti-realist and (as such) mind-dependent. The first is grounded in Hume's (exclusively psychological) conception of 'reason'. It is paradigmatically well illustrated by Kant's philosophy. The second and third lines of argument are grounded in research about the nature and etiology of psychopathy. The second is about conceptual relativity regarding normative judgements about good practical lives. The third is about libertarian freedom over innately given components, components crucial to the psychological possibility of taking account of others in evaluative decision-making. Due to conceptual and empirical problems about (possible worlds of) human nature, which will be laid out, these two lines of argument need further conceptual and empirical attention. Additional to my constructive theory about the limits of moral objectivity, my study contains a critical reflection on methodological aspects of the contemporary meta-ethical debate. Overall, my study is a critical call for better reflection on the concept 'reason' and a deeper involvement with theoretical claims about human nature.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Philosophy (MPhil))
Thesis advisor: Kirchin, Simon T.
Thesis advisor: Corfield, David
Uncontrolled keywords: Kant, Hume
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Philosophy
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2018 11:10 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 20:24 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/66548 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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