Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Semester Ended

My first semester is over.

It did not go as I had wanted - particularly in terms of writing. I got bogged down in homework and, as the semester progressed, had less and less time available to write.

So . . . we try again . . . with a slightly different structure.

I need to start work on my master's thesis. I produced a paper on Sidgwick, Right Action, and Good Motives in the semester that can serve as the start of such a thesis. Next semester, I will be taking a course in the Philosophy of Law. I think I will be able to work on a paper I had already written respecting David Boonin's book on punishment. I should be able to combine the two into a larger work.

In the case of my paper on Sidgwick, I wrote from the point of view of motive utilitarianism. I argued that Sidgwick's own claims supported motive utilitarianism because statements of right and wrong are statements of praise and condemnation, and statements of praise and condemnation are used to promote good motives. Sidgwick himself argued that praise and condemnation are to be evaluated according to their usefulness, and that their usefulness is in promoting good motives. I simply added the premise that statements of right and wrong action are statements of praise and condemnation.

For the Philosophy of Law course, my paper on Boonin's book concerns a motive-utilitarian theory of punishment. This ties in quite closely to a motive-utilitarian theory of praise and condemnation - particularly given Boonin's own claim that condemnation is a necessary part of punishment. An act of punishment is an act of condemnation.

The semester is over. I have 4 weeks until the new semester begins. I will try something new.

During the break, I am going to be looking at Rosalind Hursthouse's thesis, "An act is right if and only if it is the act that a virtuous person would characteristically do in the circumstances." It is a proposition very much like the one I defend. My objective is to see if any of the objections to her version applies to my version.

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