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What follows is the original text of the paper that I presented in response to Christopher Grau and Robert Pippin at an “Author Meets Critics” session on my book Beyond Moral Judgment (Harvard, 2007) at the Eastern Division Meeting of the APA in December 2008. Both Grau and Pippin had copies of my text, which contains a point-by-point response to their main observations, before our shared APA session. Grau subsequently revised his remarks, in significant part in response to the exchange at the session, and published them in 2009 as “On Alice Crary’s Beyond Moral Judgment” in Philo, vol. 12. no. 1, pp. 88104. In contrast, Pippin has now – in 2011, over two years after its presentation – chosen to publish his original piece in essentially unrevised form, eliminating only the introductory paragraph used at the APA and adding only minor stylistic edits. (Pippin’s piece appears as a “Critical Notice” in Analytic Philosophy, vol.52, no.1, pp.49-60. There is a link to it here on the “OLP & Literary Studies Online” blog.) I had never planned to make my APA response to Pippin and Grau publicly available. But given that Pippin has now published his piece from our session quite unaltered, it strikes me as reasonable to post my response to it. With the posting of my response – and allowing for changes that Grau made to his piece pre-publication – anyone interested can now access the complete text of the 2008 APA session on Beyond Moral Judgment.
________________________________________________________________________ Alice Crary, “Response to Grau and Pippin”
Presented at an “Author Meets Critics” session on Beyond Moral Judgment at the Eastern Division Meeting of the APA at the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia, PA, December 29, 2008.

I want to start by expressing sincere thanks to the different people who made this session happen – to Iakovas Vasilieu, who I believe was instrumental in organizing it, to the session’s chair Duncan Richter, and, above all, to its critics Chris Grau and Robert Pippin. I am grateful to all of them for their time and attention. To be sure, attention does sometimes come in different forms. Given the striking divergences in tone and substance between Grau’s and Pippin’s remarks, those of you who have been in the room thus far might be forgiven for thinking that you were hearing about two quite different books. Thus, for instance, whereas Grau is talking about a book that presents a distinctive view of moral thought recognizable as an at least plausible variant of positions associated with, among others, Cora Diamond and Iris Murdoch, Pippin is concerned with a book whose author is

2 at risk of committing herself to the bizarre idea of “a ‘form of thought’ which does not involve the application of concepts” (Pippin, p.4) and of denying the banal observation that people “can share the same language without sharing much of anything else” (ibid., p.11). Or, again, whereas Grau is talking about a book that showcases examples of feminist thought in what is, as it turns out, a chapter-long discussion (Grau, p.3), Pippin is concerned with a book whose author actually has yet to be struck by the interest of questions about how to critically evaluate historical changes in assumptions about the moral relevance of gender to social organization (Pippin, p.12). Alas, joking aside, it is clear that Grau and Pippin are talking about one book – it is the only book – of which I am the author. Grau limits himself to considering three general topics that he thinks invite further reflection, and, although Pippin talks about a great deal more, he concurs in expressing interest in the first two topics on Grau’s list. Since there can be no question of addressing every point these critics make in the time that I can here appropriately take, and since I believe that the first two points Grau makes are indeed fundamental (and hence that there is a good chance they will shed light elsewhere), I focus my attention here. Before starting, let me add one prefatory comment, taking my cue from something Richter, our chair, has written about Beyond Moral Judgment. In a brief review,1 Richter describes the book as “ambitious,” suggesting that it leaves room at many points for critical questions and further reflections. I agree with Richter’s suggestion and also believe that, here as elsewhere, criticism can have more or less foundation in the texts that it targets. This brings me to a number of Pippin’s criticisms, including the three I referred to in passing a

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See http://metapsychology.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=book&id=3645.

3 moment ago,2 that I take to have, to put it mildly, rather less than more foundation in my book. Foremost among these criticisms is one I have not yet mentioned. It has to do with my treatment of literary texts, and Pippin devotes almost a third of his time to developing it. The criticism is multi-faceted, but at its heart is the charge, hinted at early in Pippin’s remarks and emphasized with real force later on, that I impose on the texts I read an “artificial separation between emotional engagement…and some form of reflective, more general, active interrogation and assessment” (Pippin, p.18). I was surprised, and not just a little, to read this. My main critical target in the book as a whole is a set of philosophical assumptions that make this kind of reason-emotion dualism difficult to escape even for, among others, literary critics and theorists who find it unattractive. I have no explanation of why Pippin reads me as operating openly with the very assumptions I am throughout concerned to attack, and he himself offers no explanation, relying on a somewhat scattered set of citations and nowhere acknowledging that the central argument of my book speaks against the literary methods he represents me as contentedly employing.3 In this connection, let me

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I return in different parts of the text that follows to all three of these criticisms.

3 Although in passages like the one cited several sentences back Pippin reads me as working with the very kind of reason-emotion dualism I attack, in other passages he rightly represents me, in a manner that opposes this initial interpretative strategy, as having an interest in the kinds of emotional engagement some works of literature invite that is simultaneously an interest in modes of reflection the works elicit. Indeed, at times Pippin portrays me as believing that all works of literature are such that they thus invite mode of reflection in virtue of strategies for eliciting certain reactions. This is a misrepresentation – I am in fact exclusively concerned with certain quite distinctive works that resemble each other in, in different ways, placing importance on a vigorous activity of moral imagination – and, in consequence of the misrepresentation, some of Pippin’s apparently most cutting rebukes to my literary practice turn out to be jabs at a non-existent opponent. For instance, at one point, after mentioning elements of works of Flaubert, Proust, Kafka and others, Pippin criticizes me for being unable to accommodate the fact that, in his words, “the most powerful ‘emotional’ reaction we have from great works is a kind of challenge that leaves us unsettled; even a kind of confusion, a disorientation that can be both disheartening and inspiring” (Pippin, pp.17-18). One of Pippin’s goals in this passage seems to be to draw attention to works, quite different from those I discuss, that are not rightly described as designed to elicit reflection by engaging us in various ways. At the same time, given Pippin’s abhorrence of the kind of reasonemotion dualism he claims to find in my writing, and given his expressed interest in isolating marks of those works of literature that engage us without manipulating (pp.13-14), it seems unobjectionable to interpret him as leaving open the possibility that the power of the reactions that some great literary works – say, works by George Eliot, E.M. Forster, Jane Austen and Henry James – produce is rightly understood as a function of ways in which those reactions directly contributing to modes of reflection that the works elicit. This point is

4 add that, although I will be happy to discuss relevant portions of Pippin’s remarks later – with an eye to setting the record straight – I don’t take them up in the text I am about to read.4 The literary sections of my book follow up directly on its central argument, and, insofar as the things I am going to say have to do with key parts of this argument, they will help me to account for my sense that something has gone badly wrong with Pippin’s commentary.
significant because one of the main emphases of my discussions of literature is bringing out how specific works by Austen, Forster and others realize this possibility. When I turn to the particular works I consider, I describe them as presenting readers with “forms of moral instruction” or “moral lessons,” and Pippin says he is horrified by the use of these terms. (See, e.g., p.13 for his comment about “the ominous presence of that most unfortunate phrase in philosophical treatments of literature, ‘moral lesson’.”) For this reason I want to stress that, as I just suggested, the claims about particular works of literature that I am advancing when I use these expressions have a close analogue in one significant strand of thought in Pippin’s remarks. The only fundamental difference between my posture and Pippin’s, with regard to the particular strand of his thought in question, is terminological. I am willing to speak of “lessons” in cases in which he is not. So let me close by saying that it’s not clear to me that any feature of the meaning of the word “lesson” speaks against talk of lessons in connection with the kinds of complex and simultaneously emotionally rich and critically reflective modes of thought that, judging by his remarks here, Pippin and I agree in thinking some works of literature elicit from readers.
4 Another feature of Pippin’s discussion of my treatment of different literary works strikes me as worth noting here in the text. Pippin repeatedly if also briefly criticizes my handling of the work of various philosophers with whom I disagree, and on a number of occasions his criticisms simply miss their targets. Consider the following two examples. On p.14, in a passage in which he is discussing how the responses that individual literary works elicit from us may be enormously complex and how in our efforts to assess what we inherit from particular works we may accordingly be obliged to rely on different methods of critical reflection, Pippin says that he “would not be so quick to dismiss so categorically, as Crary does, Onora O’Neill’s plea for the role of principles in a fuller view of our deliberation and assessment.” Pippin’s reference here to my treatment of O’Neill is, despite any appearance to the contrary, irrelevant to the point he is making. When I discuss O’Neill’s work in the passage Pippin has in mind, I am raising a question about her tendency both to separate the growth of responsiveness from exercises of reason integral to the formulation of principles and to appeal to the idea of such a separation in concluding that, insofar as works of literature elicit different responses, we need to submit our literary adventures to the scrutiny of principles arrived at independently of those adventures. This point is not in tension with Pippin’s observation that the responsible assessment of literary works may require principled critical reflection. My point is simply that, in contrast to what O’Neill would have us think, it is wrong to insist that when we are assessing literary works in a responsible manner, we need to submit anything the works suggest to us in virtue of their literary strategies to the authority of prior principles. Moreover, in light of Pippin’s own assaults on the idea of a dualism of reason and emotion, it seems reasonable to think that he himself sympathizes with this point. Let me turn to a second case in which Pippin’s criticism of my handling of the work of a philosopher with whom I disagree misfires. When he is discussing my reading of Fontane’s Effi Briest, Pippin alleges that I have no interest in Marcia Baron’s claim that it is not “fair to treat [the character] Innstetten as a Kantian” and then adds, as though denying something I have asserted, that he thinks “Baron is right about this” (p.19). In fact, when I discuss Baron’s work, I make just the point that Pippin here makes as if in disagreement with me. I observe that Baron is right to challenge representations of Innstetten as a Kantian (see Beyond Moral Judgment, p.218). My object in discussing Baron’s reading of Effi Briest is to point out that she imposes on the novel an opposition between reason and feeling that is foreign to it, and, although Pippin has objections to my reading of Effi Briest (to which I don’t have the space to respond here), it seems clear that he is not recommending that we approach the text equipped with such an opposition.

5 The two topics of Grau’s I am going to discuss – which are also picked up in different ways by Pippin – have to do with my understanding of “the moral” and with the conception of objectivity that I refer to as the “wider conception.” In what follows, I take these topics in reverse order, addressing to the best of my ability the main questions Grau and Pippin raise in connection with each. (1) Objectivity. The difference between what I call the “narrower” and “wider” conceptions of objectivity can be captured very roughly as follows.5 On the one hand, the narrower conception places the following antecedent constraint on objective qualities: it tells us if a quality is such that it is impossible to arrive at an adequate account of it apart from reference to subjective responses that an object that possesses it elicits, the quality does not count as objective. On the other hand, the wider conception of objectivity places no such antecedent constraint on which qualities are rightly regarded as objective. This way of describing the contrast between the two conceptions of objectivity that interest me underlines the fact that the transition from the narrower conception of objectivity to its wider counterpart is essentially a matter of the lifting of a metaphysical restriction on what objective features of the world are like. Now it should be clear that, if a thinker says that she advocates the wider conception, she hasn’t thereby committed herself to regarding any particular qualities as objective. All that she has committed herself to is refusing to take a

This would be the right moment at which to answer Grau’s question about the sense in which ‘the wider question of objectivity is objective’ (Grau, p.15). Philosophers talk about the concept of objectivity in different ways, and I talk about it specifically in reference to our “concept of a feature of the world that is such that anyone who fails to recognize it is missing something” (Beyond Moral Judgment, p.15). My point here is not that there is anything novel about this choice of terminology. In choosing it, I am inheriting the concerns of a number of philosophers who contribute to ongoing debates about ethics and objectivity. My point is simply that the two different conceptions of objectivity that I discuss – the “narrower” and “wider” conceptions – are different specifications of what falls under this concept and, further, that it is insofar as the wider conception is thus a specification of a familiar concept of objectivity that it qualifies as objective. Let me add that, although I don’t in these remarks discuss the things I say in my book about the wider conception of rationality, it would be possible to offer a parallel answer to Grau’s question about the sense in which ‘the wider conception of rationality is rational’.
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6 quality’s essential reference to subjectivity as antecedently preventing it from having objective status. Both Grau and Pippin are at certain junctures concerned with the observation, which I just made – and which I also make in the book (see, e.g., Beyond Moral Judgment, pp.28-35) – that in championing the wider conception of objectivity we aren’t yet saying anything substantive about what things count as objective. This observation is what underlies Grau’s question about whether a “fuller picture” of this conception is in the offing (Grau, p.16), and Pippin is making the same observation when he asserts that the wider conception doesn’t give us “the gold standard of objectivity…for free” (Pippin, p.9) – though, unlike Grau, Pippin seems to think that the observation is lost on me. Let me return for a moment to the passage from his remarks in which Grau raises his question about the prospects for a fuller picture of objectivity on the wider conception’s terms. Here Grau notes both that I oppose efforts to replace the narrower conception of objectivity with an alternative metaphysical account of objectivity and that I believe that the task of bringing the world into focus “devolve[s] upon our ordinary, non-metaphysical ways of finding out how things are” (Beyond Moral Judgment, p.84, cited in Grau, p.16). The claims of mine that Grau is concerned with are conclusions I draw from the argument I develop against the narrower conception of objectivity. I take it to follow from this argument that there is no such thing as a foothold for thought apart from subjectivity and hence no such thing as a standpoint independent of our subjective endowments from which to antecendently survey the world and discover what contribution if any subjective endowments make to our grasp of the objective world. While it is not a consequence of this line of reasoning that nothing useful can be said in philosophy about what getting our minds around the objective world is like, it is a consequence that any useful philosophical

7 reflections on such matters will have to reflect a study of how we bring the world into focus in particular cases. Or, as we might also put it, it is a consequence of the line of reasoning that, if, having embraced the wider conception, we wish for a Grau-style “fuller picture” of objectivity, we will be obliged to proceed at least initially in piecemeal fashion, examining different ways in which we get our minds around how things are. I am inclined to think that a version of the type of account of moral thought presented in my book is among the things that should be included in this fuller picture of objectivity. But if Grau wants an additional suggestion about what should be included, it seems to me that he could, for instance, turn to Michael Thompson’s contributions to philosophical conversations about how to understand attributions to living organisms of qualities and operations that they have as living beings. In pertinent portions of his work,6 Thompson brings out with great force that doing justice to the “vital features and operations” of a living organism requires a reference to something beyond the physical presentation of the creature in a given case. Thompson shows both that the required external reference is to the natural history of the species to which the individual organism belongs and that our accounts of the natural histories of species are composed of judgments – “natural-historical judgments”– that possess a kind of non-Fregean, teleological generality in virtue of which they are irreducible to other more familiar logical forms. The point I want to make here is that, if we accept Thompson’s (epistemically anti-reductionist) story about the representation of life, then (assuming that there is no question of combining the story with a form of ontological reductionism) we can credit Thompson with teaching us that in order to arrive at accurate descriptions of individual organisms we need to have an at least

6 See esp. Michael Thompson, Life and Action: Elementary Structures of Practice and Practical Thought, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2008, Part I.

8 unreflective appreciation of the significance of our knowledge of the pertinent species of organism to what is before us. This is the kind of account of what getting our minds around the world amounts to that I take to be a candidate for inclusion in the sort of fuller picture of – wider – objectivity that Grau is seeking. Now I want to move on to some of Pippin’s questions about things I say about the wider conception of objectivity in reference to moral concepts. One of my goals in discussing these issues in the book is showing that the transition from the narrower to the wider conception of objectivity equips us to answer certain familiar philosophical objections to representing moral concepts as modes of objective concern. In this connection, I start from an observation about moral concepts that to a large extent accounts for the fact that many philosophers regard these concepts as especially resistant to objective interpretation. At issue is an observation about how moral concepts are such that recognizing that they apply in particular situations is a matter of seeing that features of the situations merit certain responses. In the book, I gloss this observation by describing our practices with moral concepts as in an important sense circular. The basic idea is that, because the question of whether something merits attitudes internal to a given moral concept is itself a moral question, the observation is rightly taken to speak for an understanding of moral concept-use as circular in the sense of being governed by standards that are themselves informed by our moral beliefs. Whereas moral philosophers often take the presence of this kind of circularity to speak decisively against representing moral concepts as essentially concerned with the world, I aim to show that this metaphysical case against the objective claims of moral concepts depends for its apparent force on questionable assumptions internal to the narrower conception of objectivity. This point is hardly uncontroversial, but, if I understand him correctly, Pippin agrees with me in making it. Pippin’s rather different point is that we

9 don’t need metaphysical considerations to motivate skepticism and that, for instance, much more mundane historical and anthropological considerations will suffice. The idea is that once we recognize how people’s firm moral convictions have varied with the attitudes inculcated in them in particular social and institutional settings, we will despair at the prospect of arriving at moral beliefs with authority that is more than merely parochial (Pippin, pp.9 and 12). Because the form of skepticism that Pippin is contemplating here is historically rather than metaphysically grounded, an adequate response needs to turn, in one way or another, on consideration of actual, historical cases. In the portions of my book in which I address relevant issues, I present and defend applications of moral concepts in two different kinds of cases – cases involving what contemporary feminist thinkers have taught us to call sexual harassment and domestic violence.7 (Let me again observe, as I did at the beginning of these remarks, that Pippin never mentions the chapter of my book in which I discuss these examples.) The processes of reflection I describe in favor of speaking of sexual harassment and domestic violence take seriously the fact that the moral conclusions they seem to support depend for their soundness on attitudes not universally shared. Now, let us suppose that, having undertaken reflections along the lines I describe – reflections that involve exploring real or imagined challenges from people differently placed – a reader makes claims about sexual harassment and domestic violence in some specific cases. That the reader arrives at her moral beliefs in this critically reflective manner is certainly no metaphysical guarantee of their correctness (whatever that would be). But, insofar as our topic is a kind of skepticism premised not on a craving for such a guarantee but rather on the conviction that it is invariably possible to unsettle moral beliefs – and this is Pippin’s topic – it is legitimate
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Beyond Moral Judgment, Chapter 5.

10 to allow the strength (or challenge-resistance) of our case for particular moral conclusions to be the measure of the success of our anti-skeptical rejoinder. (2) The “moral.” Having now discussed some of Grau’s and Pippin’s main questions about what I call the wider conception of objectivity, I turn to the some of their questions about my understanding of “the moral.” The most straightforward question, which both commentators raise (but with distinct preoccupations), is about how I use the word “moral.” Pippin’s main concern in raising this question is to determine how my way of speaking differs from that of philosophers like Bernard Williams or Hegel or Nietzsche who distinguish the ethical and the moral (Pippin, pp.5-6), and this is a good place to start. While each of the members of the slate of philosophers Pippin has in mind represents the moral as some particular development of the ethical, I use the term “moral” interchangeably with the term “ethical” to pick out what for these philosophers counts as the more general notion of the ethical. (For the introduction of this terminology, see the first note on the first page of my book, i.e., n.1, p.9.) I thus treat the notion of the moral as a vague but by no means therefore useless or flawed one. I understand moral considerations so that they may include, among other things, considerations about obligation, and about virtues and vices, and I suggest that a helpful way to approach the idea of a person’s moral outlook is by talking about her view of “how best to live” or, alternately, of “what matters most in life.” Grau is, I believe, specifically concerned with my willingness to use formulations of the latter sort – and even to gloss the idea of a person’s moral outlook by speaking of her view of “what is most important in life” – when he asks whether my use of “moral” differs from the way other philosophers talk about meaningfulness (Grau, p.10). Although, as far as I can tell, there is no clear consensus among participants in the philosophical debates that interest Grau

11 about what meaningfulness is,8 there is a consensus that it is possible to isolate some concept of meaningfulness that is distinct from the concept of the moral. So, in response to Grau, let me say that it is clearly possible to identify a notion of meaningfulness such that a person could be guided by moral reflection in my sense and yet lack meaningful pursuits in life or have meaningful pursuits yet not be guided by moral reflection. These questions about how I use the word “moral” lead naturally to questions, of a sort that Pippin raises insistently and repeatedly (Pippin, pp.4 and 10-11), about my strategy for distinguishing between moral and non-moral thought. It is not hyperbole to say that these further questions bring us to the heart of the matter. One of the guiding themes of my book is that we need to reconceive the ways in which, in philosophy, we tend to classify bits of thought as moral. In developing this theme, I call for dispensing with views on which moral thought is monopolized by moral judgments, where moral judgments are understood as judgments that apply moral concepts. My suggestion is that moral thought should be understood as including more than moral concept-use, and, if I am to clarify this suggestion in a way that equips me to respond to Pippin’s questions, I need to add to things I have already said about my treatment of moral concepts. A “moral concept,” in my parlance, is a concept that is as such in the business of expressing or articulating a moral outlook. In the book, I mention both what get called thin moral concepts (e.g., “right” and “bad”) and what get called thick ones (e.g., “patronizing” and “gracious”), and, although I don’t attempt to formulate and defend a fixed list of moral concepts,9 I am at various points preoccupied with certain characteristic features of these

8 See, e.g., the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy review article by Thaddeus Metz that Grau cites on p.12 (http:www.seop.leeds.ac.uk/archives/sum2007/entries/life-meaning/).

I don’t attempt to formulate a fixed list of moral concepts because I am defending approach in ethics on which disputes about whether particular moral concepts are legitimate are internal to legitimate moral
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12 concepts. Above all, I take an interest in the observation, which I have already mentioned, that our use of moral concepts is circular in that it is guided by standards that in turn reflect our moral beliefs. One of my local projects in the book is, as I have discussed, challenging the widespread assumption that this observation speaks decisively against an objective interpretation of moral concepts. Having already outlined my strategy for this project, I want to add that in undertaking it I incur an obligation to account for the source of the moral beliefs that I believe invariably inform the standards governing moral concept-use – and to do so, moreover, in a manner consistent with the objective interpretation of moral concepts that I favor. Here it will be helpful to briefly survey some major elements of the book that I have not yet touched on and that Grau and Pippin refer to only in passing. Central to the book’s main argument is a defense of a view of language, associated with Wittgenstein and Austin, on which certain sensitivities or modes of appreciation are internal to all linguistic capacities, and on which possession of a natural language is inseparable from the possession of a complex individual sensibility. (Since, as I noted at the beginning of these remarks, Pippin worries that I am making the bizarre suggestion that, for instance, all speakers of a language, say, English, have the same sensibility (Pippin, p.11), I want to emphasize here – as I in fact emphasize in the text (see especially pp.41-43) – that there is a fundamental sense in which, on the view of language I favor, the sensibility internal to speakers’ linguistic capacities is an individual affair.) Having presented a view of language on which the possession of a natural language is inseparable from possession of a complex individual sensibility, I argue that this

conversation (think, e.g., of nineteenth century feminists’ discussions about whether or not “chastity” picks out a genuine virtue and qualifies as a moral concept) and on which antecedent insistence on a fixed set of such concepts would be a sign of a questionable effort to limit possibilities for such conversation ahead of time. To say this is not, however, to deny that my argument has bearing on discussions about which moral concepts we ought to accept and use.

13 sensibility at the same time qualifies as a moral stance. One of my goals in thus defending the thought that we invariably occupy a moral stance as natural language-users is to suggest that we need not be puzzled about the source or claim to cognitive authority of the moral standards on which we invariably rely in employing moral concepts. A second, broader goal is to suggest that we need to expand our conception of moral thought so that it reaches beyond the use of such concepts. The line of reasoning that I take to justify this expansion can be sketched roughly as follows. It starts from the thought, internal to the view of language I defend, that, when we are thinking or talking, we are, without regard to the kinds of concepts we are employing, drawing on certain responses and that there is thus no reflective standpoint independent of our responses from which to determine ahead of time how efforts to project our concepts will call on us to further develop responsively. This line of reasoning also takes for granted the thought – which, as I just noted, I defend in reference to my preferred view of language – that the modes of responsiveness or sensitivities inseparable from individuals’ linguistic capacities qualify as a moral orientation. The line of reasoning in question moves from these two thoughts to the conclusion that, even when we are not using moral concepts, it is always in principle possible – without regard to the kinds of concepts we are using or the subject matter that preoccupies us – for our discursive moves to involve the expression or development of responses that are fundamental for our moral outlook, responses that bear directly on ways in which it is articulated in our lives. These are, in brief, the considerations that lead me not only to call for an inventory of kinds of moral thought that includes more than moral judgments but, in addition, to describe moral thinking – in a turn of phrase that Pippin says he finds plainly objectionable (Pippin, pp.10-11) – as “subject matter indifferent.” I hope my remarks have clarified what I take to speak for using these terms. I

14 hope they also make it clear that – and here I address a comment of Pippin’s I cited early on – that, in talking about moral thinking apart from moral judgment-making, I am not talking about any strange ‘forms of thought’ that do not involve the application of concepts. And, finally, I hope my remarks make it clear that – and here yet again I am responding to Pippin – what interests me is a reconception and not a denial of the distinction between moral and non-moral thinking. There is, according to the argument I just sketched, no suggestion that every stretch of thought deserves classification as moral but only the suggestion that the absence of moral concepts does not by itself demonstrate that a given stretch of thought fails to deserve such classification. My idea is that we are right to describe a bit of a person’s thought as moral when, without regard to whether that bit of thought involves the use of moral concepts, we see that it is integral to the expression or development of her moral outlook. [This does place me at odds with Kant. Pippin’s reflections about how for Kant moral judgment isn’t at the center of the moral life aren’t to the point.] There is a sense in which some of the terminology I use in the book may seem to obscure the points I have just been discussing. In a number of passages of my book, passages discussed by Grau at some length (Grau, pp.10-12), I characterize the view of language I favor as one that allows us to speak of a moral dimension of all of language. So let me stress that, in using this characterization, I am not somehow suggesting that all language is somehow moral. I am making the same point that I also make by talking about the subject matter indifference of moral thought. The idea is that any bit of thought, without regard to the kinds of concepts it employs or the subject matter it addresses, may in principle qualify as moral and that what decides its standing is whether it directly contributes to the development or expression of a moral outlook.

15 Let me wrap up. Out of respect for time, I have left out some of Grau’s suggestive questions about rationality and moral disagreement, and I have also left out Pippin’s extended discussion about my treatments of different works of literature, which, as I mentioned at the outset, I find to be strikingly at odds with what I wrote. I am happy to discuss these matters, too, and I again want to thank the session’s different participants for their time.

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