Date of this Version



Jan Willem Lindemans

Second Advisor

Sumantra Sen


This thesis considers the problem of how people should deal with moral change. I examine various conceptions of morality and induce the essence of morality, or the set of formal features that is fundamental to all moralities. In particular, I claim that the essence of morality consists of four features: (1) it performs some function (namely, solving the problem of cooperation); (2) it is prescriptive; (3) it is regarded as universalized; and (4) it is regarded as possessing overriding authority over other normative systems. From this, I derive a metamorality or standard of moral progress with which to evaluate moral change, namely the teleologicalf-ormalist conception of morality, which holds that morality progresses if and only if it increasingly exhibits its formal features. This is important because it allows philosophers and policymakers more generally to evaluate moral change and steer moral progress.



Date Posted: 13 April 2016


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