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Ethics and Political Philosophy Group Talk (Maria Alvarez, King’s College London)

Wednesday April 10, 2019, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The Ethics and Political Philosophy Research Interest Group welcomes Maria Alvarez, professor of philosophy at King’s College London. Professor Alvarez specializes in the philosophy of action, including the metaphysics and explanation of actions. She also teaches in the field of ethics and metaethics. Recent publications include the articles “False Beliefs and the Reasons We Don’t Have” (2018), “Are Character Traits Dispositions?” (2017), and, with Clayton Littlejohn, “When Ignorance Is No Excuse” (2017).

Talk Title

Moral Agency and the Importance of Descriptions

Talk Abstract

In this paper I examine G. E. M. Anscombe’s discussion of the legal maxim “Fraud vitiates consent,” and her claim that “we could enlarge the maxim, in moral philosophy, to ‘Error destroys action'” (Anscombe, “Two Kinds of Error in Action,” 1963: 394), linking it to her conception of practical knowledge. Toward the end of the paper, I explore whether the enlarged maxim can help us elucidate the question whether nonhuman animals are capable of moral agency — a question that some philosophers and ethologists have argued should be answered in the affirmative.

About the Ethics and Political Philosophy Group

The Ethics and Political Philosophy Group meets periodically throughout the year to discuss topics in value theory and related fields, including meta-ethics, normative ethics, applied ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy of law, moral psychology, practical reason, agency, and identity.



Wednesday April 10, 2019
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Ethics and Political Philosophy Research Interest Group 
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