The embedded self : an investigation into moral thinking and thinkers
The aim of this thesis is to investigate the nature of moral thinking and thus to arrive at some conclusions as to the nature of moral thinkers. My starting point is that investigation of the ways we think in moral terms, particularly with respect to the way that the truth of thoughts constrains the claims we can make in moral discourse. That is, I want to start with the ways of thinking and the sorts of claims we make in moral terms, and see what those ways of thinking and claims tell us about the sorts of people we are and the environment we find ourselves in. This approach depends on a picture of our interaction and connection with our environment in conceptual terms that allows us to investigate one part of this interaction, our language and thought, and use it to give us information about the other parts of the interaction, the thinkers and what is thought about. The important element of this interaction is that it is an interaction responsive to the truth of the beliefs we hold and the claims we make. This requires me to defend the thesis that moral language and thought can be candidates for truth, and that the truth they respond to is not some particular truth relative to moral discourse, but truth tout court, as it applies to all discourses. Using the distinction I claim is made in moral language and thought between moral judgments and their truth I show that we need to be able to recognise moral agents as engaged or embedded in a network of personal relationships that are made up of commitments, responsibilities and expectations. It is these personal relationships that provide both justification and motivation for moral action and this is sufficient for morality.