Dear Prudence: The Nature and Normativity of Prudential Discourse

ISBN : 9780198858263

Guy Fletcher
224 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Apr 2021
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Philosophers have long theorized about what makes people's lives go well, and why, and the extent to which morality and self-interest can be reconciled. However, we have spent little time on meta-prudential questions, questions about prudential discourse-thought and talk about what is good and bad for us; what contributes to well-being; and what we have prudential reason, or prudentially ought, to do. This situation is surprising given that prudence is, prima facie, a normative form of discourse and cries out for further investigation of what it is like and whether it has problematic commitments. It also marks a stark contrast from moral discourse, about which there has been extensive theorizing, in meta-ethics. Dear Prudence: The Nature and Normativity of Prudential Discourse has three broad aims. Firstly, Guy Fletcher explores the nature of prudential discourse. Secondly, he argues that prudential discourse is normative and authoritative, like moral discourse. Thirdly, Fletcher aims to show that prudential discourse is worthy of further, explicit, attention both due to its intrinsic interest but also for the light it sheds on the meta-normative more broadly.


PART 1: Prudence, Prudential Discourse, and Normativity
1 Prudence as a System of Categorical Imperatives
2 Is Prudential Discourse Normative?
PART 2: The Nature of Prudential Discourse
3 Prudential Language and Context (I): Good for and Needs
4 Prudential Language and Context (II): Contextualism And Pluralism
5 Prudential Judgements and Motivation
PART 3: Prudential Discourse Is Normative: What Follows?
6 Prudential Normativity, Moral Skepticisms, and Metaethics
7 Prudential Normativity: Realism and Anti-Realism
Conclusion: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

About the author: 

Guy Fletcher is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests lie in well-being, metaethics, and their intersection, and practical philosophy more generally. His publications include The Philosophy of Well-Being: An Introduction (Routledge, 2016), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being (Routledge, 2016), and Having It Both Ways: Hybrid Theories and Modern Metaethics (Oxford University Press, 2015).

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