James R. Otteson's Actual Ethics PDF

By James R. Otteson

A protection of the 'classical liberal' political culture, utilized to contemporary ethical and political concerns.

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2; and Wright, The Moral Animal, esp. chap. 7. I draw on all these works in my discussion. As did, for example, William Hamilton, in his 1964 papers “The Genetical Evolution of Social Behaviour I” and “The Genetical Evolution of Social Behaviour II,” both collected in The Narrow Roads of Gene Land. For sustained criticism of this enterprise, see Kitcher’s Vaulting Ambition. 20 Working Out the Position could determine behavior with anything like this much precision. ) It is much more reasonable to say that our genes determine parameters, or “reaction norms,” within which our behavior can fall; the exact course of anyone’s behavior will be somewhere in that range—that much we can know—but exactly where it will fall cannot be predicted by knowing one’s genes.

Not only is that the way to respect people’s personhood—both of the actors and of those affected by their actions—but it also allows to operate the natural incentives that give people the motivations necessary to develop their judgment properly, and hence, we can hope, to make fewer bad decisions in the future. natural human motivation I do not wish to suggest that human beings are exclusively self-interested in any narrow or pernicious sense. Indeed, I take it as all but self-evident that they routinely consider the interests of others in making their decisions.

32 Similarly with the USDA. Its “food pyramid” currently prescribes six to eleven daily servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta; two to three servings daily of meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, or nuts; two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese; and only “sparing” use of fats and sweets. Is this the right diet for everyone? Of course not. Some people will need far more protein (certain kinds of athletes, for instance), while others could become seriously ill from that much milk product; and consider the apparent success of the Atkins diet, which recommends far higher intakes of meat and fat and far lower intakes of breads, pastas, and other carbohydrates.

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Actual Ethics by James R. Otteson


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