An Overview of R. M. Hare’s Moral Philosophy
5. The Universal Prescriptivist kind of Utilitarianism: the formalistic stage of moral argument 139
5. The Universal Prescriptivist kind of Utilitarianism: the formalistic stage of moral argument 5.1 Introduction In the previous chapter we presented the Phrastics - Neustics theory which Hare puts forward in order to substantiate his claim that despite their grammatical dif- ferences, there are logical similarities between the imperatives and indicatives, which allow us to argue that as logical relations can hold among indicatives, they can also hold among imperatives and also among the premises of an argu- ment, some of which are in indicative and some in imperative form. We also pointed out that underlying the practical or mixed syllogism, of which Hare's moral theory at least in its first stage makes use, are the logical rules of deduc- tive reasoning. And we further argued that the way moral argument proceeds in his first book, in LM, is by virtue of deductive reasoning and ultimate decisions of principle or ways of life. This picture of moral reasoning, however attractive in its ways, was not destined to last long. In his second book, FR, Hare will come to modify the account he has offered so far in important respects. If the notion of deductive reasoning is substantially transformed, the idea of a decision of principle or a way of life which is ultimately grounded in the freedom we have to choose anything we like is entirely given up. Hare now suggests a dif- ferent kind of method which enables us to hold our moral judgements only ten- tatively, and to...
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