Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fat Oxen Principle

Courtesy of Cliche Guevara blog, here's some wisdom from Bernard Williams:

“But still, it will be said, subjectivism leaves everything where it was, so far as morality is concerned, though not perhaps so far as muddled feelings about morality are concerned. Even granted the contrast of solidity we cannot draw any practical conclusions. We cannot, in particular, conclude (as some today are obviously inclined to conclude) that since science is objective and morality is not, we are objectively justified in devoting ourselves to science, while only subjectively justified in protesting against injustice. For devoting oneself to science is as much a practical activity as any other, and there is no more reason why that one should be objectively justified rather than any other. Justifications for doing objective subjects are not objective justifications for doing those subjects, any more than the fact that there are deductive justifications of the theorems of Principia Mathematica means that there are deductive justifications of the projects of reading, rehearsing or discovering the theorems of Principia Mathematica. All these are instances of that strangely tempting fallacy, the ‘fat oxen’ principle; who drives fat oxen must himself be fat.” (Bernard Williams, Morality).


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