By Stephen Edelston Toulmin

The imperative challenge of ethics, in keeping with Stephen Toulmin, is that of discovering how to distinguish strong ethical arguments from susceptible ones, stable purposes from negative ones, and figuring out no matter if there comes some extent during ethical argument while the giving of purposes turns into superfluous. The inquiry he undertakes in An exam of where of cause in Ethics facilities at the query of what makes a specific set of proof that endure on an ethical selection a "good cause" for appearing in a selected means. the writer contends that he has no real interest in a round argument to the impression "good cause" is one who helps the type of act he might regard as a "good act"; his activity is to elucidate the character of ethical reasoning and the type of common sense that is going into it.

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Extra info for An examination of the place of reason in ethics

Sample text

When 2 Ayer, op. cit. p. 197. 8 above. 58 REASON IN ETHICS anyone is first presented with such statements, he is likely to be misled by their form into thinking that they express ordinary matters-of-fact. The statements, ' There is no good reason for passing from any set of facts to an ethical judgement' and 'There is never any good reason for saying that anything is good or right', are at first sight very like the statement, ' There is no good reason for supposing that he will come before five o'clock'.

But their theories gave no help. Some bade us talk of 'goodness' as an ' objective property', and spent their time in arguments about this 'property' (invented by themselves), so that they never even reached our question. Others tried to explain ethics away, by giving a psychological account of valuation, or by describing it as `mere ejaculation', denying that we had any right to ask our question at all. This was bad enough. But not only were their theories unhelpful; on closer inspection they turned out to be false.

Once again, however, the philosophers claim to know better. For most of them, our fears and doubts are unreal; and they are ready to produce, in answer to our question, a comprehensive verbal formula of the kind which seems to be required. To tell the truth, they produce between them a large number of such formulae, many of them at first sight appearing to be incompatible with one another. In considering the question we are, in REASONING AND ITS USES 73 fact, in the position of having too many answers to choose between rather than too few.

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