WHAT - (e.g utilitarianism A restriction that the subjects...

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WHAT’S IMPLAUSIBLE ABOUT THE MATHEMATICAL MODEL? First reason: Carl Sagan’s Pioneer 10 plaque. Various mathematical data (in binary). Plausible. Human figures, man with ‘hand raised in a gesture of goodwill’. Not so plausible. Second reason: motivational connection. Harder to identify. Both premise and validity are controversial. Linguistics is clearly Protagorean; plausibly morality is too. REFINING THE PROTAGOREAN POSITION Response dependent account: the Protagorean concepts are those whose extension is set by human responses. More precisely, a concept F is broadly response-dependent iff the basic equation is a priori true: —3 — x is F iff x elicits response R from subjects S in conditions C This is very broad. Amongst moral theories it captures two kinds of Protagoreanism: (i) metaethical: the nature of the moral concepts is determined by human attitudes (e.g. ideal observer theories); (ii) normative: the content of the moral concepts concerns human attitudes
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Unformatted text preview: (e.g. utilitarianism). A restriction that the subjects be observers (rather than participants) and that the conditions be standard, restricts us to the metaethical and gives the more common: x is F iff x elicits response R from competent observers in standard conditions A special case, judgment dependence: xisF iffx is judged to be F by competent observers in standard conditions Contrast linguistics and mathematics. The analogous equations for the linguistics are arguably a priori (a sentence is grammatical iff it is judged grammatical) whereas those for the latter are not. In this respect, morality, on this Protagorean view, is like linguistics. Unlike linguistics though, if we want to make sense of the nature of moral reasoning, we will want to be pretty fussy about the competent observers and the standard conditions....
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course PSY PSY2012 taught by Professor Scheff during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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