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Philosophical Thought

Moral duty: the problem of substantiation
Maximov Leonid Vladimirovich

Doctor of Philosophy

Leading Scientific Associate, Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences

109240, Russia, Moskovskaya oblast', g. Moscow, ul. Goncharnaya, 12 str. 1, of. 421
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In modern meta-ethical literature, the analysis of various approaches towards rational substantiation of morality is one of the leading research trends. If in ethical thought of the past, the object of substantiation was manly the “ethical law” as a peculiar (metaphysical) essence, in meta-ethics it usually means the substantiation of ethical paradigms of the actual subjects of morality, in other words, foregrounding the arguments that can convince a certain nominal skeptically inclined individual to accept and adhere to the norms of morality established by society. In particular, the author notes an inappropriate substitution of reasoning with explanation, moral duty – with other modalities that are formally signified by the same term. The article uses the methods of logical-linguistic analysis applicable to such ethical and meta-ethical discourses that represent the different versions of substantiation of moral duty. The work demonstrates that it is namely intention of the duty, rather than its specific subject vector is the determinant attribute of moral motivation (because the subject content of moral norms and motives can be the object of both, moral duty and immoral incitements). Therefore, the fundamental impossibility of rational substantiation of such intention should be considered the theoretical disputes that touch upon the general problems of substantiation of morality.  

Keywords: logic and causality, skepticism and nihilism, internalism and externalism, justification and explanation, imperative, intension, sense of duty, moral duty, description and prescription, moral law
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