Allan Gibbard

Allan Gibbard teaches philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of Wise Choices, Apt Feelings, Thinking How to Live and, most recently, Reconciling Our Aims. Meaning and Normativity is due to appear later this year.

Five Girls on a Rock: Derek Parfit

Allan Gibbard, 7 June 2012

Morality can’t just be a system of arbitrary taboos. We want its protections, and others want those same protections against us. A morality worth heeding must have a rationale. A chief task of moral philosophers is to discern such a rationale and to shape it by criticism and argument. Derek Parfit’s On What Matters looks to two great moral philosophers, Immanuel Kant in the late...

A tyrant, imagine, spares an innocent man from torture, but solely in order to reap good publicity. He does what morality demands, but not for the reasons that demand it. T.M. Scanlon’s new book Moral Dimensions plays on the two kinds of moral evaluation this case illustrates: the permissibility of an act, and the meaning of the way one does it. Half the book uses this distinction...

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