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Old 07-25-2009, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Civil War, Moral Realist Style

Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin View Post
I think you are making a very strong assumption about "compelling belief" in your further argument. I think Kant is right to see "ought" as expressing a kind of necessity. But neither he nor I would claim that compelling reasons can really compel people to think or act rationally. Rather, the claim is just that a fully rational person would necessarily come to a certain belief or choose a certain action..
You will admit, won't you, that in assenting to a logical or empirical or scientific proposition we really have no choice to think otherwise, whereas in adopting a moral course of action we do have a choice? Morality presupposes freedom, the freedom to choose an immoral course of action. That is all I meant. Your examples in the next paragraph--the deliberations of a jury or of scientists evaluating rival scientific theories--do not imply moral choice. Presumably, jurors and scientists are expected to weigh the evidence for and against with a view to coming to the truth about the matter. They have NO choice if they understand what the norms of evidence and logic entail.

I think it is now generally understood that Kant runs together two meanings of freedom---"rational" freedom (the categorical imperative etc.), and the more ordinary commonsense idea of freedom as the freedom to choose between moral and immoral course of actions. Kant would like us to believe that in choosing to be moral we are acting rationally, whereas in choosing to be immoral we are acting irrationally. That may be so, but you really have to accept quite a bit of metaphysics to understand his argument.

Originally Posted by Bloggin' Noggin View Post
(I have some sympathy for your question about how i see moral and rational norms as being related. I have no time right now for that -- but i will try to address it a bit more in the thread with Jay J. My next reply to him should lay out the philosophical landscape a bit more.
I look forward to seeing a bit more of the landscape.
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