PHIL 440: Study Questions on Ruse, Sober, Harman, and Street.
Questions on Ruse:
1. According to
2. What does
3. Why is it incorrect for Ruse to categorize himself as an ethical non-cognitivist?
4. What is the point of Ruse's spiritualism example (p. 659)?
5. Why does
6. What is the Dulles moral principle?
7. What is "intergalactic relativism"?
8. What does
Questions on Sober (Note that the diagram on page 661 of Sober's article is mixed up. I will correct it in lecture):
1. What is Sober's distinction between explanation and justification?
2. What is the difference between explanation and justification?
3. What is the example of the avunculate intended to show?
4. What is the
example of the decline in birth rates in
5. What does Sober mean by "subjectivism", "objectivism", "conventionalism", and "realism"?
6. What does Sober call "Hume's Thesis"? What are the two additions that Sober makes to Hume's Thesis?
7. It is important to realize that Sober's use of "genetic" in "Genetic arguments" and "genetic fallacy" does not refer to genes. It comes from "genesis", which means source or cause.
8. What are the examples of Ben and Cathy show supposed to show?
9. What is the example of the statistics professor supposed to show?
Study Questions on Harman, "Moral Nihilism"
1. According to Harman, what is the analogy between testing scientific theories and testing moral theories?
2. According to
Harman, what is the disanalogy? [Hint:
3. What are the two senses in which Harman thinks a theory can explain an observation? Explain. Which is the sense in which Harman thinks that moral theories can explain observations and which is the sense in which Harman thinks that they cannot?
4. What does Harman mean by moral nihilism? What is our term for that position? What is Harman's "more moderate nihilism"?
6. Why does Harman think that ethics is problematic?
Study Questions on Street, “A Darwinian Dilemma for Realist Theories of Value” (first half, through p. 135)
1. What does Street mean by “a happy coincidence between the realist’s
independent evaluative truths and the evaluative directions
in which natural selection tended to push us”(122)?
2. What does Street mean by the “no relation view”? No relation between what?
2. What does Street mean by the “tracking account”? What is it an account of?
3. What does Street mean by the “adaptive link account”? Why is the adaptive link account incompatible with the tracking account?
4. What is the point of Street’s in-group/out-group example on p. 133?