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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Normative ethical theory underwent a period of refinement in some areas and proliferation in others during the twentieth century. Theorists in the early part of the century were optimistic about the prospects of systematizing normative ethics in a way that would be faithful to our common-sense normative judgements. This began, largely, with a critical look at Utilitarianism. G. E. Moore’s attack on hedonism set the stage for a surge of interest in the issue of intrinsic value, and his discussion of intrinsic value influenced later work in value theory. Moore also discussed the work of Immanuel Kant, arguing against the latter’s view of biblical love, for example, as being solely motivated by duty. This chapter looks at normative ethical theory in the twentieth century, along with Utilitarianism and virtues, Elizabeth Anscombe’s views about virtue ethics, and John McDowell’s identification of virtue with perceptual knowledge. It also discusses emotion and impartiality, consequentialism and intuitionism, and how normative ethics was influenced by empirical moral psychology.

Keywords: normative ethics, Utilitarianism, G. E. Moore, virtues, Elizabeth Anscombe, emotion, impartiality, consequentialism, intuitionism, empirical moral psychology

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