Thu Feb 14, 2019
Howison Library, 4–6 PM
Philip Kitcher (Columbia University)
What exactly are the conditions under which individuals and societies make moral progress? I shall attempt to address this question by elaborating a framework I’ve presented in previous discussions of the concept of progress. An important feature of that approach is the denial of any commitment to teleology. Pragmatic progress consists in overcoming the problems and limitations of the prior state. In the moral domain, these problems are frequently hard to identify. After they have been overcome, it is sobering to reflect both on the contingency of the processes through which change occurred and on the earlier failure to recognize the problem. The main work of the lecture will be to outline a method for moral inquiry, so as to make moral progress, both for individuals and for societies, more systematic and sure-footed.