ABSTRACT

In the overall structure of The View from Nowhere, Nagel’s continued discussion of how the demands of objectivity apply to practice extends from his consideration of the problem of free will into moral philosophy. The concept of autonomy forms a natural bridge between these two sets of problems. Moral philosophy is conventionally divided into “meta-ethics” and “normative ethics”, and Nagel’s presentation broadly follows this division. However, in the absence of any clear way of demarcating first-order from second-order questions in ethics, now that the subject is not taken to be restricted to conceptual analysis, this distinction has become largely a matter of customary usage. Nagel’s discussion moves freely between meta-ethical and normative issues. My primary focus in this chapter will be on the transformation in Nagel’s Sidgwickian ideal of objectivity in practice, discussed in the previous two chapters, when it is placed in the new framework of The View from Nowhere.