The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Science, Evaluation, and Morality

Vallance, Grant Douglas (2009). Science, Evaluation, and Morality. PhD thesis The Open University.

Full text available as:
[img]
Preview
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (6MB) | Preview
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

There is considerable dispute over the nature of the relationship between ethics and the natural sciences. This thesis argues that ethics is substantially independent of the natural sciences because the appeals to the natural sciences fail to adequately justify moral judgements about human beings. Specifically, I argue that if appeals to the natural sciences are not adequate to justify the normative assessment of living organisms, then they are not adequate to justify moral judgements about human beings. I consider the following appeals to justify the normative assessment of living organisms. These include the appeals to: (1) typicality; (2) history; (3) what is natural; (4) natural selection; (5) functions; (6) development; (7) species; and (8) the experience of pleasure and pain. I claim that these appeals are inadequate for one or more of the following reasons. One, some versions of the appeals are incompatible with the natural sciences. Two, the appeals justify implausible and counterintuitive moral judgements. Three, the appeals fail to adequately determine what should occur in contrast to what occurs. Four, there are many different appeals which justify contrary moral judgements and no objective means within the natural sciences to privilege one appeal over another. Finally, five, for some appeals there are various parameters which determine what is justified, but there are no objective means within the natural sciences to justify any particular set of parameters over and against alternatives.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: 2009 The Author
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies > Philosophy
Item ID: 62088
Depositing User: ORO Import
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 08:09
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2019 17:56
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/62088
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU