Gage Martinez

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Normative ethics can be described as the investigation into how one ought to act, morally speaking. The state of contemporary normative ethics is, essentially, a split between consequentialist (the idea that things are morally right or wrong based on their consequence) and non-consequentialist thought. Yet in practice, no one seems to be able to live by these moral theories, and I argue that it would be bizarre to do so as well. I examine reasons to believe that neither theory provides a complete account of real moral life, and how they fail at being prescriptive in practice. I provide a naturalistic account for the place consequentialist and non-consequentialist reasoning has in moral life, and analyze the differing meta-ethical groundings for them. This leads to insights about the exact nature of decision making, and ultimately having to deciding what role normative ethics plays in life.

Publication Date






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