"Moral Stability and Pragmatism"
It is a commonsense thought that the correct basic moral principles cannot change over time. If a principle like the Categorical Imperative is the uniquely correct basic moral principle today, it cannot be the case that the Principle of Utility is uniquely correct next week. Though popular, this commonsense thought, which I call the Moral Stability Thesis, has not often been explicitly stated, much less defended. Thisessay argues that the Moral Stability Thesis can be defended but not so easily and not without disappointing some philosophers. Defending it requires that we revise our thoughts about the proper manner by which we conduct moral inquiry. In particular, to defend the Moral Stability Thesis we must give up the notion that moral inquiry ideally proceeds as an attempt to describe moral properties or entities.
Raff Donelson is an Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University.