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04/01/2020

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Roger Crisp

Thanks for this very interesting post, Eric. I'm sorry you found my footnote dismissive! It was meant to signal friendly disagreement (and as a Pyrrhonist I suspend judgement on which of us has the more plausible view!). I agree that emphasis on choice and responsibility is more recent than an ethics of pollution, and in that sense modern. But I don't think 'the many' today are confident in their modernity. Our morality retains large elements of its primitive past, which is what leads to agent-regret, moral luck, and so on. Nor do I think there's much of a case for trying to modernize morality in this sense. Even if we could make it work, the problem of moral luck would remain, given the emphasis we place on fairness. That's why at the end of my paper I suggested moving beyond morality entirely, as Williams suggests, though certainly not in the direction he recommends (viz. a return to the pre-modern Greeks). A broadly impersonal, consequentialist ethics, which ignores intuitions based on pollution as much as those involving personal responsibility, avoids the problems of both. And it must have a place within 'modernity' construed more broadly -- the view didn't really start to emerge until the C17.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.

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