Philosophy Colloquium
Benjamin Sachs
St. Andrews
Political Morality as Role Morality

In my talk I begin by introducing the commonsense idea that there appears to be a legitimate question, “What is the state obligated to its people to do?”, that should constitute the focal point of a philosophical sub-discipline, which I call ‘political morality’. I then point out that there appears to be no such philosophical sub-discipline. I argue that we political philosophers should accept these two appearances as veridical and admit that we’ve been dropping the ball; i.e. we’ve been failing to inquire into something that demands our attention. I also begin the task of giving it the attention it deserves. I argue that political morality, given its apparent contours, would have to be entirely artificial. From that conclusion I infer the further conclusion that political morality would have to apply to artificial agency; that is, it would be the morality that applies to certain individuals only insofar as they exercise artificial agency. And from thatconclusion I infer, finally, that political morality must be role morality, since inhabiting a role is the only way of exercising artificial agency.

Friday, February 22, 2019