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Creating Facts and Values

  • Ruth Anna Putnam (a1)
Abstract

Moral sceptics maintain that there are no objective moral values, or that there is no moral knowledge, or no moral facts, or that what looks like a statement which makes a moral judgment is not really a statement and does not have a truth-value. All of this is rather, unclear because all of it is negative. It will be necessary to remove some of this unclarity because my aim in this paper is to establish a proposition which may be summarized by saying: even if there are no objective moral values in one sense, there are objective moralvalues in another sense, and the latter values are good enough to do some of the jobs that objective values in the first sense would have done. A useful analogy might be that of a person who has lost her hand and has been given a prosthesis. In one sense the prosthesis is not as real (because man-made) as the hand, in another sense it is just as real (both are physical objects); most importantly, the person can do with the prosthesis enough of what she could do with the hand to make do.

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1 MacIntyre Alasdair, After Virtue (London: Duckworth, 1981), 38.

2 Jean-Paul Sartre, L'Existentialisme est un Humanisme. I quote from Bernard Frechtman's translation in Jean-Paul Sartre, Essays in Existentialism, Wade Baskin (ed.) (New York: The Citadel Press, 1965), 55.

3 Goodman Nelson, Ways of Worldmaking (hereafter WW) (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1978).

4 WW, 91.

5 Arieti Silvano, Creativity (New York: Basic Books, 1976), Ch. 11.

6 WW, 97.

7 WW, 102.

8 Harris Roy, ‘The Basis of Artistic Creation in Music’, in Maxwell Anderson et al., The Bases of Artistic Creation (hereafter BAC) (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1942), 27.

9 Rhys Carpenter, ‘The Basis of Artistic Creation in Painting’, in BAC, 58.

10 James William, Pragmatism and the Meaning of Truth (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1978), 98.

11 WW, 96, 97.

12 Erich Fromm, ‘The Creative Attitude’ in Creativity and its Cultivation Anderson Harold H. (ed.) (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959).

13 Fromm, 48.

14 Rorty Richard, Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), xiii.

15 This work was supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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