Hare on Universal Prescriptivism and Utilitarianism

Hare on Universal Prescriptivism and Utilitarianism - Hare...

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Hare on Universal Prescriptivism and Utilitarianism Author(s): Ingmar Persson Source: Analysis, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Jan., 1983), pp. 43-49 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Committee Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3327806 . Accessed: 17/08/2011 18:37 . 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 [email protected] Oxford University Press and The Analysis Committee are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Analysis. http://www.jstor.org
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ACTING COMMITS ONE TO ETHICAL BELIEFS 43 permissible, i.e. permissible relative to his limited knowledge (and opportunity to reflect on this knowledge); it would be all right (subjectively) for a person who knew what Justus knew to act as Justus acted. Presumably Justus would have thought that his action was subjectively permissible but would have withheld judgment concerning whether it was objectively permissible. The example shows that we should formulate our second claim more carefully: acting logically-commits one to the belief that one's action is sub- jectively permissible (but not necessarily to the belief that the action is objectively permissible). Technically speaking, we prescriptivists should claim that an ought-judgment entails the corresponding imperative and an impera- tive entails the corresponding permissibility-judgment, provided that each of these is understood in the same way (e.g. both are taken subjectively or both are taken objectively). And we should specify that 'Do A' is to be taken subjectively when we speak of accepting 'Do A' as being the same as acting to do A. So the subjec- tive sense of 'Do A' and 'It would be all right for me to do A' must be used consistently throughout the argument. To sum up: using standard prescriptivist principles, it would follow that a logically consistent person would not act without thinking that his action is (at least subjectively) permissible. Loyola University of Chicago, 6525 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, Illinois 60626, U.S.A. ? HARRY J. GENSLER 1983 HARE ON UNIVERSAL PRESCRIPTIVISM AND UTILITARIANISM By INGMAR PERSSON IN his latest book, Moral Thinking (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1981), R. M. Hare attempts to derive utilitarianism from his account of moral notions in terms of universalizability and pre- scriptivity (henceforth: UP): '... the
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Hare on Universal Prescriptivism and Utilitarianism - Hare...

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