On the Truth of Moral Ideas

Thomas Mautner (Translator)

    Research output: Book/ReportTranslation


    On the Truth of Moral Ideas was the inaugural lecture delivered by Axel Hägerström on his accession to the Chair of Practical Philosophy at Uppsala University, 18 March 1911. A slightly expanded version was published in April the same year.1 The text is of great historical and philosophical interest, being the first statement of a non-cognitivist theory of ethics. In this translation, idea is used for the most part for föreställning (cf German Vorstellung). The word can denote beliefs, concepts, or other intellectual acts or contents. These are of course different notions, but the contexts where the word appears disambiguate sufficiently. Hägerströms draft for the lecture is preserved in the manuscript collection in Uppsala University Library (call-number Hägerström 11:2a). Certain deletions in the manuscript indicate parts omitted when the lecture was actually delivered. Some, but not all of these were included in the published version, and some additions were made. These variations are recorded in the annotations to the 1987 edition (1987MG). A small selection of these annotations are reproduced here in the notes to the text. Passages omitted when the lecture was delivered are indicated by one asterisk (*) at the beginning and two at the end. Passages added in the published version are indicated by one hash mark (#) at the beginning and two at the end. Paragraph numbers and subheadings have been supplied by the translator. The first version of this translation was made decades ago and was intended for limited circulation only. It has now been slightly revised. I remain greatly indebted to Mr. F. Langman and the late Mrs. D. Green, both formerly of the Department of English, Australian National University, and to Professor B. Almond, formerly of the Department of Philosophy, University of Hull, who all offered helpful advice on questions of language and style
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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