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Autumn Colloquium Series - Sharon Street
WhenFriday, Oct. 20, 2017, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Campus locationSavery Hall (SAV)
Campus roomSAV 264
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Philosophy
University of Washington

Location: Savery Hall 264

Meditation, Metaethics, and the View From Nowhere

Sharon Street
Professor and Associate Department Chair
Department of Philosophy
New York University

In The View From Nowhere, Thomas Nagel proposes an account of ethical objectivity that is both highly suggestive and notoriously obscure. In this talk, I review Nagel’s proposal, raise some criticisms of it, and then argue that an appeal to the form of attention cultivated in meditation practice might be able to shed light on what Nagel calls the “objective standpoint” relevant to ethics. I close with a sketch of a constructivist metaethical proposal that draws on these ideas, and which, if it could be made to work, would vindicate a strong form of ethical objectivity without metaphysical or epistemological mystery.

Sharon Street is Professor of Philosophy at New York University. She specializes in metaethics, and is the author of a series of articles on how to reconcile our understanding of normativity with a scientific conception of the world. Her work concerns the nature of both practical and epistemic reasons, and draws especially on an evolutionary biological perspective. In recent years, she has been exploring the possible relevance of meditation practice to questions in metaethics.…
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