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Moral Writings$
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H. A. Prichard and Jim MacAdam

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250196

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199250197.001.0001

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Manuscript on Morals

Manuscript on Morals

Chapter:
(p.114) 8. Manuscript on Morals
Source:
Moral Writings
Author(s):

H. A. Prichard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199250197.003.0008

To ascertain the truth about the main problems of moral philosophy, Prichard begins by dismissing as unreal the question ‘What is moral obligation?’ Being sui generis, ‘moral obligation’ cannot be defined in terms of other things. We are left with the question ‘What makes right acts right?’, to which Prichard replies there is no general answer. We are also left with the question ‘What, if anything, ought we to do in life?’ After contrasting the moral and the non‐moral senses of ought, Prichard replies to Sidgwick's utilitarian treatment of this question, which involves dividing the question into two: ‘What ought I to do?’ and ‘What ought I to aim at?’ Dismissing the latter formulation, Prichard defends an intuitionist account of how we come to know what we ought to do. He concludes by distinguishing between the right and the good.

Keywords:   good, intuitionism, moral philosophy, obligation, ought, right, utilitarian(ism)

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