Monday, July 19, 2010

"Modern Moral Philosophy" by G. E. M. Anscombe

Published in the journal Philosophy in 1958, "Modern Moral Philosophy" was authored by Oxford philosopher, and devout Catholic, Elizabeth Anscombe (1919-2001). This is a tough read for non-philosophers, but it is worth mastering. For this essay correctly diagnoses so many of the problems that arise in discussions over a variety of moral questions. Read the whole thing here.

1 comment:

Leroy Lamar III said...

Anscombe's piece has had an enormous influence on me and I've been trying to figure it out. She seems to be saying that the notion of obligation prevalent in modern moral philosophy is a distinctly Christian notion and is vastly different from the ancient notion defended by Aristotle. The Christian "ought," according to Anscombe, requires a divine law-giver and it carries the idea of sin or guilt. Aristotle's "ought" requires no such law-giver nor does it carry the idea of guilt. This possess a potential problem for those who are more Aristotelian in their ethics as well those who defend the moral law argument for God's existence. If Anscombe is right, then one can have some version of a moral law without needing a divine law-giver.