From Universal Prescriptivism to Utilitarianism - Cox

From Universal Prescriptivism to Utilitarianism - Cox -...

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Unformatted text preview: From Universal Prescriptivism to Utilitarianism Author(s): J. W. Roxbee Cox Source: The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 142 (Jan., 1986), pp. 1-15 Published by: Blackwell Publishing for The Philosophical Quarterly Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2219305 . Accessed: 17/08/2011 18:26 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Blackwell Publishing and The Philosophical Quarterly are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Philosophical Quarterly. http://www.jstor.org The Philosophical Quarterly Vol.36 No.142 ISSN 0031-8094$2.00 The Philosophical Q9arter{y Vol.36 No. 142 January 1986 FROM UNIVERSALPRESCRIPTIVISMTO UTILITARIANISM BYJ. W. ROXBEECOX A leading moral philosopher, in a reviewofHare'sMoral Thinking,' has describedthebookas "perhaps themostsubstantial formulation ofutilitarian- ismsince HenrySidgwick".2 Anotherreviewerwrote: "Utilitarianism, which was silentin The Languageof Morals (LM) andmutedinFreedom andReason (FR), comes out loud and clear inMoral Thinking."3 Hare himselfremarksin MT that"InFR I hadbeen flirting witha theory ofa broadly utilitarian sort" (170). How has thechangecome aboutfromuniversalprescriptivism (as R. M. Hare, Moral Thinking (Oxford,1981) (abbreviated as 'MT'). 2 R. B. Brandt, reviewofMT in Times Literary Supplement, 2nd July,1982,p. 713. 3Bernard Mayo, reviewofMT in Philosophical Books23 (1982),pp. 173-5. 2 J.W.ROXBEECOX Hare'sbasic position hascome conveniently tobe called) toa thoroughgoing utilitarianism in MT? In FR Hare wrote:"the logical characterof moral language, as I haveclaimedittobe" (universalizability and prescriptivity) "is the formalfoundationof any such [utilitarian] theory" (123).4 In MT the same point is made.Ofthe argument inMT fromuniversal prescriptivism to utilitarianism Hare says: "the steps in that argument ... wereall based on the logic ofthe concepts involved" (176). The relevantdifference between thetwoworksis thatinMT Hare no longerregards theexistenceofidealists and fanaticsas a reasonfor taking utilitarianism to cover only a part of morality (cp. FR, 119). Apart from important and interesting differences of presentation, the essential arguments forthelinkbetweenuniversal pre- scriptivism (UP) and utilitarianism, so strongly emphasized in MT, were alreadypresent whenthelinkwas more tentatively proposed inFR....
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From Universal Prescriptivism to Utilitarianism - Cox -...

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