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Underivative DutyBritish Moral Philosophers from Sidgwick to Ewing$
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Thomas Hurka

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577446.001.0001

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Common Themes from Sidgwick to Ewing

Common Themes from Sidgwick to Ewing

(p.6) 1 Common Themes from Sidgwick to Ewing
Underivative Duty

Thomas Hurka (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter identifies the features that made the philosophers from Sidgwick to Ewing a unified and distinctive group in the history of ethics. These include their conceptual minimalism, whereby all normative judgements can be expressed using a few basic concepts; their non‐naturalist metaethics, whereby moral judgements express sui generis truths that can be known by moral intuition; their goal of theorizing common‐sense morality by relating it to more abstract principles; their interest in moral explanations, or in why acts are right or wrong; and their pursuit of what can be called ‘structural’ as against ‘foundational’ explanations. Many of these views are summarized in the idea that some moral duties, the basic ones, are underivative.

Keywords:   Sidgwick, Ewing, non‐naturalism, intuition, moral explanation, underivative duty

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