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By R. M. Hare (auth.)

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Example text

And I easily convinced by Swiss friend that he was no exception. So then, the first thing I want to say in this talk is that you cannot annihilate values - not values as a whole. As a matter of empirical fact, a man is a valuing creature, and is likely to remain so. What may happen is that one set of values may get discarded and another set substituted; for indeed our scales of values are always changing, sometimes gradually, sometimes catastrophically. The suggestion that nothing matters naturally arises at times of perplexity like the present, when the claims upon our concern are so many and conflicting that we might indeed wish to be delivered from all of them at once.

It is very important to distinguish these views (see my article 'Ethics', in Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy, ed. Urmson, reprinted in my Essays on the Moral Concepts). 41 'NOTHING MATTERS' act was wrong. This is, as it were, the fixed point in the discussion - the one thing that is clear. We all know how to recognise the activity which I have called 'saying, thinking it to be so, that some act is wrong'. And i~ is obvious that it is to this activity that the subjectivist and the objectivist are both alluding.

And I easily convinced by Swiss friend that he was no exception. So then, the first thing I want to say in this talk is that you cannot annihilate values - not values as a whole. As a matter of empirical fact, a man is a valuing creature, and is likely to remain so. What may happen is that one set of values may get discarded and another set substituted; for indeed our scales of values are always changing, sometimes gradually, sometimes catastrophically. The suggestion that nothing matters naturally arises at times of perplexity like the present, when the claims upon our concern are so many and conflicting that we might indeed wish to be delivered from all of them at once.

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