Philosophy Seminar: Jessica Isserow (Leeds)

Title: Pluralism about moral worth

Abstract: People can act rightly without being praiseworthy for doing so. A person who is kind to others only insofar as this increases her social capital, for instance, does not strike us as an especially suitable candidate for moral praise. Insofar as her actions issue from ulterior motives, they seem to lack moral worth. There is disagreement as to which motives do confer moral worth on our actions. Some argue that an agent must be motivated by the consideration that her action is morally right if it is to have moral worth. Others require that she be motivated by the sorts of considerations that explain why her action is right. In this paper, I develop a pluralist approach that acknowledges both sorts of motives as appropriate foundations for moral praise.