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Utilitarianism for the fictionalist

ERI 149
Wednesday 24 January 2018 (15:15-17:00)

Philosophy PGR Seminar Series 2017/18

  • Speaker: Francois Jaquet
  • Title: Utilitarianism for the fictionalist

The Philosophy department's PGR seminar is an opportunity for postgraduate research students at Birmingham to present the material they are working on to the department's staff and other students. The seminar meets roughly on fortnightly Wednesdays from 15:15 to 17:00 in the ERI. All welcome!


Moral fictionalists believe that we should entertain moral attitudes despite the fact that moral propositions are uniformly false. Still, in their opinion, these attitudes should not be moral beliefs but moral make-beliefs: in our deliberative contexts, we should accept a set of moral propositions, a moral fiction. So far, fictionalists haven't investigated the content of this fiction. It may therefore be that we should make-believe in Kant's categorical imperative or in the Ten Commandments. But I will argue that we should adopt a utilitarian fiction instead. In other words, we should make-believe in the set of moral propositions whose general adoption would maximize overall well-being.

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