Modern Moral Philosophy Before and After Anscombe

Constantine Sandis

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This paper argues for the following three theses:
i) There was considerably more philosophy of action in moral theory before 1958 (when Anscombe complained of its lack under the banner 'philosophy of psychology') than there has been since. This is in part because
ii) Anscombe influenced the formation of ‘virtue theory’ as yet another position within normative ethics, and
iii) Anscombe’s work contributed to the fashioning of ‘moral psychology’as an altogether distinct (and now increasingly empirical) branch of moral philosophy.
None of (i-iii) were foreseen – let alone intended – by Anscombe, who would have been displeased by this state of affairs, already evident at the time of her death in early 2001. The tragic irony of ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’ (MMP), then, is that in many ways the past century of ethical theory make more sense read backwards. My somewhat programmatic investigation into this predicament begins somewhere in the middle, with MMP, then proceeds to present what happened before and after in its light.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1278
Pages (from-to)66-79
JournalEnrahonar: An International Journal of Theoretical and Practical Reason
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2020


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