Originally published in 1984, deals with meta-ethics – that is the semantics and pragmatics of ethical language. This book eschews the notions of meaning and analyticity on which meta-ethics normally depends. It discusses questions of free will and responsibility and the relations between ethics on the one hand and science and metaphysics on the other. The author regards ethics as concerned with deciding what to do and with persuading others – not with exploring a supposed realm of ethical fact.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Interlude On the Naturalistic Fallacy 3. Why Moral Language? 4. Considerations About the Semantics of ‘Ought’ 5. Goodness 6. Ethics, Truth and Fact 7. ‘Ought’, ‘Can’, Free Will and Responsibility 8. Ethics, Science and Metaphysics
J. J. C. Smart was Professor of Philosophy at the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University