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Descriptive Ethics and the Philosopher

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Abstract

Hämäläinen discusses the philosopher’s distinctive role in the furtherance of a descriptive ethics. Drawing on Max Weber she argues that the current academic specialization and compartmentalization is a natural consequence of a certain idea of expertise and scientific work. But the kind of specialization that may well be in place in the sciences is ill suited to philosophy, because it severs the philosophical work from the real-life intelligence and concerns of the philosopher. In contrast to this, the descriptive moral philosopher must often relinquish the benefits of scholarly and technical expertise, and be a dilettante and an intellectual.

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