Philippa Foot

Article in the NYT via David Livingstone Smith. Nice photo by Steve Pyke as one would expect.

Foot’s legacy: I think she did make a relevant claim, when it needed to be discussed (i.e. when Hare’s prescriptivism, for good or ill, seemed to impose no restriction of content on moral judgement), that morality is internally related to considerations of benefit and harm and that not just anything can count as such. Her weakness was, I think, that she delivered aperçus but didn’t elaborate them – we just got articles and (then only latterly) very slender books. The books were passés, really. Ethics had moved on from the debates of the 50s from which she never genuinely emerged.