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Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 8$
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Russ Shafer-Landau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678044.001.0001

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On Being Social in Metaethics 1

On Being Social in Metaethics 1

(p.50) 3 On Being Social in Metaethics1
Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 8

Kate Manne

Oxford University Press

Many contemporary theorists take practical reasons to have their source either in objective facts about what to do, or subjective facts about what we want as individuals. This chapter discusses the alternative possibility that at least some practical reasons have their source in social practices. Particular attention is given to the practices of friendship and marriage. It is suggested that there are important advantages to allowing that the norms of such practices can provide reasons directly, when certain background conditions hold. For example, we can then allow that the husband who saves his wife with the simple thought ‘She’s my wife—I’ve got to save her’ is doing the right thing for the right reason, thus acting in a morally worthy way. It is then argued that the background conditions that make a social practice ripe to provide reasons plausibly have to do with its tendency to promote human flourishing.

Keywords:   practical reasons, social practices, social norms, friendship, marriage, moral worth

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