Research Workshop on "The Eligibility of Rule Utilitarianism"
David Mokriski (UCSB Grad Student)
Friday, May 17th from 12:10-2 PM in 22-210 (English bldg)
Abstract: Rule Utilitarianism is a promising moral theory relative to two of its chief rivals. Act Utilitarianism is extremely simple and non-arbitrary but fits very poorly with our moral judgments. Rossian Pluralism (a.k.a. “Commonsense Morality”) captures our moral judgments extremely well but at the cost of being highly complex and arbitrary. Rule Utilitarianism strikes a good balance between these extremes, remaining relatively simple and non-arbitrary while capturing our moral judgments reasonably well. One might wonder, why is it that we should favor moral theories that are simple and non-arbitrary over those that better capture our moral judgments? As it turns out, this follows from an influential theory of meaning, often attributed to David Lewis. Appreciating this theory of meaning can make us rethink methodology in ethics and philosophy more generally.
The Cal Poly Philosophy department is continuing the Research Workshop series. At these Research Workshops, graduate students from the UC Santa Barbara philosophy department come to Cal Poly to discuss some of their current work over lunch with our students and faculty. The Philosophy Research Workshops provide an opportunity to encounter and explore areas of current graduate student research. If the topics seem puzzling, consider attending so you may learn more about areas of philosophy beyond the scope of your current experience. We have scheduled two Research Workshops in Fall, with more scheduled for Winter and Spring.
The Cal Poly Research Workshop is made possible by the generous support of our alumni and benefactors.
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