Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bogazici, Ayca Boylu (İzmir Kâtip Çelebi Üniversitesi), “Capturing Moral Behavior in Human Interactions”

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Bogazici University

Monday, May 18, 5pm

TB 130 (Anderson Hall)

Capturing Moral Behavior in Human Interactions


Iris Murdoch claims that “the center of ‘the moral’ ” is generally taken by moral philosophers to be “the situation of a man making a definite choice” and “the moral life of the individual is a series of overt choices which take place in a series of specifiable situations”. I call this prevailing view, “moral situationism”. It is one of the marks of moral situationism to treat actions and their circumstances as “given”. On this view, actions and their circumstances can be extracted from our lives and be described in purely non-moral terms. Therefore, describing human behavior is taken to be extraneous to moral philosophy. The task of moral philosophy begins after that, as it were, when it is time to morally evaluate human behavior. To put it differently, according to moral situationism, there are no moral descriptions in moral philosophy. In this paper, I argue that moral situationism falls short of capturing at least a good portion of human behavior so as to set the stage for moral evaluation. To be more specific, I argue that moral situationists can pick out neither the human behavior in human interactions nor the relevant circumstances in non-moral terms. Moral philosophy demands that we describe, at the very least, human behavior in human interactions, in moral terms. Thus, describing human behavior cannot be thought to be extraneous to moral philosophy.


Written by markedwardsteen

May 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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