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By R. M. Hare (auth.)

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Sample text

And of course it was not true. He was not in the position of the prisoner but in the position of most of us; he was concerned not about nothing, but about many things. His problem was not to find something to be concerned about - something that mattered - but to reduce to some sort of order those things that were matters of concern to him; to decide which mattered most; which he thought worth pursuing even at the expense of some of the others - in short, to decide what he really wanted. III The values of most of us come from two main sources; our own wants and our imitation of other people.

It may be said, All you have done is to show that people are in fact concerned about things. But this established only the existence of values in a subjective sense. Now, it APPLICATIONS OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY may be said, when people talk about the overthrow of values, they do not mean anything so far-fetched as that people should stop being concerned about things, some about one thing, some about another. But values are overthrown if it is shown, or even if most people think, that these subjective feelings of people are all that there is; that values are not (as I have heard it put) 'built into the fabric of the world'.

You can always tell a moral view from an ethical view, provided that both are carefully expressed, by the following test. , will always occur in quotation marks. In a moral statement they will occur without quotation marks. Thus the sentence 'It is always right to do what would produce the greatest happiness' expresses a moral view; but the sentence 'The word "right" means "productive of the greatest happiness"' expresses an ethical view. The failure to distinguish between these two sorts of view can lead to the greatest confusions- for example, that of thinking that Moore's refutation of naturalism, which could only refute ethical theories, disposes of the moral views of Bentham and Mill.

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