These notes are for students in Dr. Scott Moore's PHI 1305.

Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity

Important Terms and Concepts--Chapter 2: The Inarticulate Debate



relativism-- a general term for a variety of belief systems which affirm that either knowledge or morality (or both) is (1) dependent on socio-historical contexts [knowledge is not transcendent]; (2) not amenable to hierarchical ordering [you can't rank truths or beliefs]; (3) not amenable to debate and argumentation [you can't convince others].

moral ideal-- "a picture of what a better or higher mode of life would be, where 'better' and 'higher' are defined not in terms of what we happen to desire or need, but offer a standard of what we ought to desire."

Liberalism of neutrality-- the belief that a 'Liberal society" (one that values the uniqueness of the individual and individual rights--he's not talking about a society controlled by Ted Kennedy) must be neutral on questions of what constitutes the good life.

moral subjectivism-- the view that morality is grounded not in reason or the way things are but in the preferences of individual subjects.

"That about which we cannot speak, there we must pass over in silence."

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus


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