Applications of Moral Philosophy by R. M. Hare (auth.)

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By R. M. Hare (auth.)

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Now why do I say that it is unwise of moral philosophers to accept this challenge? Because, in the first place, it is always unwise to accept a challenge whose terms you do not understand. And there is one thing that I can say without any hesitation at all - that I do not understand what is meant by 'the objectivity of values', and have not met anybody who does. I really think the terms 'objective' and 'subjective' have introduced nothing but confusion into moral philosophy; that they have never been given a clear meaning, and have frustrated all serious discussion of the subject.

FUNCTION AND TRADITION IN ARCHITECTURE 25 what Mr Richards calls 'The Functional Tradition', which goes back through the buildings pictured in this book to medieval castles and beyond. So let present-day functionalists realise that they are not revolutionaries, but respectable members of the establishment. Let them settle down. 'After the revolution', he says, 'comes consolidation, depending on the creation of a vernacular language.... ' There is much truth in all this; but in order to discover what truth, it is necessary to examine more closely what Mr Richards means.

It is very seldom even expedient to ignore these principles. I have no time to say any more about the first of the suggested remedies for the complexity of political choices. I now turn to the second, which seems its exact opposite. The second remedy might be described, in a familiar phrase, as that of'judging each situation on its merits'. Now of course this phrase, as it is commonly used, draws attention to an important fact about moral decisions, especially in politics - indeed to the very fact about them on which I have been dwelling so long, namely that, since they are complicated, you cannot make them without reflection on the peculiarities of the particular case.

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