SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

A Fictionalist Rule Consequentialism: Is It Possible?
(Ethics, English)

Among moral philosophers of late 20th and early 21st centuries like David Copp and Brad Hooker it is a commonly affirmed idea that a moral code is to be desired by the agent as a socially enforced and generally subscribed moral rule. This requirement seems to be acceptable and intuitively admissible for a moral consequentialist. However, it has several dimensions for each there will be at least one fundamental question to be answered. Some aspects of it are already held before. However, there is one philosophically crucial aspect that is not clear enough.

Most versions of consequentialism lay upon a form of moral realism. Most of them assume that there are moral facts. They just differ on whatness of those facts, as well as ways of attaining them. For example, for an act utilitarian there is a moral fact for an individual act a under certain circumstances at a given time. For an agent A given all the related information d at a certain time t there is a moral fact that an act a participates. Act utilitarians are trying to find the best way to approximate that very fact with limited information. Rule utilitarians make the same assumption when they put a moral rule regarding types of actions: they necessarily assume that there is at least one moral fact related to that type of action and a well formed moral rule will approximate that fact.

What I claim is that an anti-realist non-utilitarian moral consequentialism is possible, and even better. Holding on to the idea that a moral code shall be desired to be socially enforced and generally subscribed is way easier if one accepts that there are no moral facts. In this paper I appeal to the idea that there are no moral facts, and I claim that a fictionalist consequentialism that is grounded upon agents' assumed will to make the world "better" should be a rule-oriented non-utilitarianism. At the end, this project is expected to be (1) less vulnerable to usual criticisms made for consequentialism, and (2) more functional than its alternatives. I will highlight usefulness and applicability as necessary conditions for a moral theory. I will especially refer to several ethicists and metaethicists like Brad Hooker, David Copp, and Daniel Nolan to bridge moral fictionalism and rule consequentialism.

Chair: Damiano Ranzenigo
Time: 15:20-15:50, 18 September 2019 (Wednesday)
Location: SR 1.004

Beşir Özgür Nayir 
(Boğaziçi University, Turkey)

I was born and raised in Istanbul. My main area of interest is Moral Philosophy with a special interest in Consequentialism. I conduct my studies with a great effort not to exclude metaethical discussions. I always believed that metaethical and ethical discussions as well as problems dealt by applied ethicists are compound. I wrote my Master's thesis on the question of committing suicide in applied ethics with a great interest on moral-theoretical foundation of my investigation. I did present an original approach both for moral consequentialism and its application to the problem of committing suicide. Right now I am doing PhD in Philosophy and employed as a full-time teaching assistant in Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey.

Testability and Meaning deco