What is the right way of asking questions in Ethics?

After taking an in depth survey of 20th century practical and political philosophy, one methodological aspect stands out: the purpose of moral theory is to rationalize the field of ethics in such a way as it preserves its normative force. This seems like a mistake, and a de facto conservative and reactionary way of doing ethics. It seems to me that if the task set is to find out what morality is, then a possibility that must be taken seriously is that morality isn’t, and also that morality may be, but may have wildly different forms and implications that we now consider plausible. In other words, we can’t merely look at the existing options, “consequentialism vs. non-consequentialism”, “cosmopolitanism vs. real politik”, etc… It has to be a real possibility that any of these debates could be wildly misleading and both sides false.

I think this is a serious question, what do the readers think? Is the study of ethics meant to give a rational ground to what we already believe? (thus calcifying it into the bedrock of truth) Or, is it meant to ask if morality as we currently conceive of it is true, and if its untrue, how, and what might be what is really “right” in action?


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