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Effing the Ineffable

Glen Newey: Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century by Jonathan Glover, 25 November 1999

Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century 
by Jonathan Glover.
Cape, 469 pp., £18.99, October 1999, 0 224 05240 3
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... namely utilitarianism, and a narrow sub-species of that, to which few utilitarians, not even R.M. Hare, subscribe. ‘Consequentialism’ remains a blank cheque until the relevant sorts of consequences are identified, along with some metric for comparing the consequences we’re meant to be interested in. The consequences might be human suffering, and the ...
Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method and Point 
by R.M. Hare.
Oxford, 250 pp., £11, December 1982, 0 19 824659 5
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... According to Professor Hare, most contemporary moral philosophers are benighted. They cannot get through their thick skulls the clear principles of moral reasoning which he has set out and developed in two previous book-length studies of ethical theory, The Language of Morals and Freedom and Reason, and which he spells out again and develops further in this one ...

God loveth adverbs

Jonathan Glover, 22 November 1990

Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity 
by Charles Taylor.
Cambridge, 601 pp., £25.95, November 1989, 0 521 38331 5
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... recent years, there has been a debate about the relative status of principles and intuitions. R.M. Hare has suggested that intuitions are prejudices derived from a particular upbringing. Some intuitions, chosen on theoretical grounds, should be taken seriously in everyday life, but none of them should play any part in moral philosophy’s critical thought ...

Five Girls on a Rock

Allan Gibbard: Derek Parfit, 7 June 2012

On What Matters 
by Derek Parfit.
Oxford, 540 pp. and 825 pp., £30, May 2011, 978 0 19 926592 3
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... he knew it, but do his arguments really tell against it? Parfit’s teacher, later colleague, R.M. Hare, who dominated Oxford moral philosophy in the later part of the mid-20th century, proclaimed himself a Kantian, but argued that what is coherent and systematic in Kant turns out to be utilitarian. Most philosophers who follow Kant have regarded ...

Animal Happiness

Brigid Brophy, 5 June 1980

Practical Ethics 
by Peter Singer.
Cambridge, 237 pp., £10, February 1980, 0 521 22920 0
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... XIX, 18). His brief, bumpy ride through the history of ethics quickly reaches R.M. Hare and the ‘universalisability’ of moral judgments; on to the ‘imaginary “impartial spectator” ’ or ‘Ideal Observer’ (published, I suppose, in an ideal world, on respectively Saturday and Sunday) from whose point of view such judgments are ...

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