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September 18th, 2014

  • Image preview All Day: William Stafford Retrospective Exhibits
    Stafford at 100 - A Centenary Exhibit on display at the Aubrey R. Watzek Library exhibits a selection of photographs, manuscripts, books, and artifacts from the William Stafford Archives. The Exhibit is open from January through December 31 2014.
    until December 31

September 19th, 2014

  • 3:30pm - 5:00pm: Real Moral Progress: Why Pragmatic Naturalism Requires Moral Realism by William Rottschaefer

    In his recent book, The Ethical Project, Philip Kitcher offers a pragmatic naturalistic metaethical account of moral progress.  Examining ethical practice, Kitcher presents a functional account of it as a social technology for alleviating altruism failures, one exemplified in a phylogeny of moral practice including elimination of chattel slavery and recognition of both women’s rights and gay rights.  He suggests a theory of bio-cultural evolution as an ultimate explanation of this phylogeny and, as proximate mechanisms, social-cultural learning, socially engaged normative guidance and cognitively equipped emotions.  Given these scientifically supported bases, Kitcher argues that pragmatic naturalism offers the best metaethical account of why these changes in moral practice are morally progressive.  Making use of these same scientific bases, I argue that Kitcher’s metaethical account requires the adoption of an objective moral realism, one, nevertheless, that is compatible with his core pragmatism.