Reply to Professor Sharpe
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It gives me much satisfaction that Professor Sharpe on the whole accepts those features of my account of practical thinking which seem to me central to the understanding of its structure and function, even though he disagrees with me on some issues which seem to me less clear-cut than they seem to him. He agrees with what I have to say about some of the global aspects of practical thinking, in particular about the stratification of practical attitudes and about practical, as opposed to theoretical inconsistency; and he regards these notions as useful tools for the analysis of specific concepts. Yet when it comes to the use of these tools, he sometimes disagrees with my results, in particular my analysis of moral principles as supreme and my analysis of prudence as morally dominated. Part 1 of the following remarks deals with the problem of the supremacy of moral principles. Part 2 contains a defence of my conception of prudence, which is morally dominated, while admitting the non-emptiness of a different conception of prudence which is not. It also contains some comments on Sharpe’s analysis of akrasia.
KeywordsMoral Attitude Christian Morality Accepted Moral Principle Practical Attitude Practical Thinking
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- 1.See e.g. Metaphysics: Its Structure and Function (Cambridge University Press, 1984) Ch.3.Google Scholar
- 2.For details see Experience and Conduct (Cambridge University Press, 1976) Chs.9–11, henceforth referred to as E&C. Google Scholar
- 3.See E&C p.164, where I admit that ‘prudence’ may be a misnomer for the concept which I discuss under that name.Google Scholar
- 4.Nicomachean Ethics VI, X, 3.Google Scholar