Colloquium Series: Nomy Arpaly


Location: 136 DeBartolo Hall

Nomy Arpaly

Collqiua Speaker professor Nomy Arpaly from Brown University will be here on Friday, February 16, 2024 to give her talk at 3:00pm in DeBartolo Hall, room 136.

Talk Title: Moral Worth: You Can't Have It Both Ways
Abstract: When is a person worthy of esteem for having done the right thing? One common philosopher's answer is: when the person acted out of concern for morality de dicto (basically, acted in order to do what is right). This theory, however, runs into trouble because of things like Huck Finn doing right while thinking he is doing wrong and Nazis doing wrong while thinking they are doing right. Hence the competing theory: moral worth comes with concern for morality de re - doing the action because of the things that make it right, like the fact that it helps people. But do we really want to say there's no value in wanting to do what is right? Accordingly, it has been suggested by various authors that both concern for morality de dicto and concern for morality de re grant moral worth. This talk is mainly an argument against this harmless-sounding view. I argue that if either of these motivations grants moral worth, the other doesn't. The subject of blame becomes relevant as well.