SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Peter Singer, Ethical Significance of the Community, and Bottom-Up Ethics
(Ethics, English)

Setting out from the utilitarian position and deploying a critical rationalist perspective, I sketch a critique of Peter Singer's reluctance to recognize ethical significance of communities smaller than entire humanity. Using two lines of argumentation: 1) from value-rational gains and 2) from instrumental-rational gains, I first demonstrate that community partiality plays a significant role in the utility-maximizing all-things-considered judgment and thus satisfies the standard of impartial justification of partial preferences proposed by Singer.

After defending psychological and moral ownership gains from community partiality, I use the concept of cultural evolution to argue that the bottom-up emergence of utility-maximizing social norms as outcomes of iterated social game is a necessary condition of social utility. Eventually, I extend this normative exposition to a metaethical level, arguing that the emergence of moral norms is a special case of cultural evolution, and considering their possible convergence to utility-maximizing solutions.

The article contributes by offering a critique of Singer's overreliance on reason and biology to the neglect of relevant cultural factors and by exploring a possible marriage of utilitarianism and moral constructivism, with the community serving as the basic vehicle of the inter-subjective cultural - including moral - evolution.

Chair: Felix Danowski
Time: 14:00-14:30, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005
Remark: Online Talk

Krzysztof Glowacki 
(University of Warsaw, Poland)

Testability and Meaning deco