Let Parfit's mountain be a moral theory based on combining previous moral theories in a certain way. (Readers of the book referenced will be familiar with the form of this way. I read part of it, years ago, so I'll just use my "example" as an intuitive application of the 🗻.)

Is Moorean intuitionism (and the like) a rational enough theory to form a slope on the mountain? Suppose that we assert each slope's normative use to be a duty/right/good/virtue/value/w/e grounded in the very form of the theory of each slope. Then the Moorean interlude would be (if this is possible or sensible) something like a responsibility to develop ethical intuition---prior, then, to most or even all other applied intuitions?

This might seem a random, unmotivated image but consider that it is effectively equivalent to abstraction over the theological metaethics of the beatific vision. You can see this in Aquinas, but better in Dante, I think. From a moral point of view, one might say that C. S. Lewis's take on the Divine Commedy as science fiction in its own time is reflected in the theme in many sci-fi epics of cosmological knowledge gained in the endgame.

Is the question of deontic intuition fundamental, at least as a sort of responsibility unto itself, or even as the only innate "teleology" of ethical concepts?

  • I am not sure how the question of whether ethical intuition approach is "rational enough" to climb Parfit's utilitarian mountain, or "fundamental", let alone "the only innate "teleology" of ethical concepts", can be answered other than based on subjective values and opinions. Religious authors you mention would likely be with Scruton in that Parfit's mountain is not even worth climbing because non-utilitarian concerns "that really matter to human beings" are "swept into a corner by the great broom of utilitarian reasoning".
    – Conifold
    Aug 16, 2020 at 0:45
  • I guess my interpretation of the mountain is as "metaphysical eclecticism," where the theory asserts that due to the nature of moral concepts, an eclectic system as the best system is to be expected. Think of it as additive instead of (more Rawlsian, perhaps) eliminative reflective equilibrium. There is a deep assumption of optimism here Aug 16, 2020 at 20:38
  • Again, I do not see how to respond other than subjectively. Eclecticism always seemed like a cheap copout to me, the reticence to make choices, take inevitable tradeoffs and face the consequences. To each their own held all the way may well be better than half-hearted "it's all good in the end" soup of fake reconciliation.
    – Conifold
    Aug 17, 2020 at 4:13


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