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Title: Condemnation without morals
Authors: Spicer, Eryn Chenwei
Keywords: Humanities::Philosophy
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Spicer, E. C. (2023). Condemnation without morals. Final Year Project (FYP), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: In this paper, I assume the error theory about morality is correct, and examine if this undermines the notion of blameworthiness. I spend the first half of the paper laying out the conceptual foundation my inquiry bases itself upon. In the second half, I explore the possibility of finding a suitable replacement for the notion of blameworthiness that retains most of what is important about our blame-concepts, while also accommodating the error theorist’s commitments. I broadly take on a substitutionist’s approach to the problem, though I briefly examine the fictionalist’s approach as well. Overall, I argue that we can find a suitable replacement. This amounts to substituting moral norms with non-moral ones that allow for the formulation of an adapted account of blameworthiness. What’s distinctive about my approach is that it relies heavily on evolutionary concepts, in part using them to motivate our inescapable commitments towards group preservation. Further, I utilise the notion of natural selection between cultural phenotypes, both within and between human groups, to explain the persistence of norms regarding social cooperation, and show how we might use these norms as a replacement for moral norms in blame-assessment. What we’re left with at the end of this paper is a series of options the error theorist may take on to reap the practical benefits of retaining some conception of blameworthiness. Generating options for the error theorist is the main target of this paper, and I leave open which of these options is best.
Schools: School of Humanities 
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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