Philosophical Advice

David Archard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Philosophers who publish articles that make practical ethical recommendations are thereby offering advice. I consider what obligations they incur in advising. I analyse the giving of advice as a communicative act whose defining and characteristic aim is to secure acceptance of what is advised. Such advice need not be solicited or taken up. I distinguish advice from incitement and threats and specify the scope of the adviser's responsibility for others acting upon the advice. I explore how advice can be bad in how it is given and what is given. I consider, and criticise, various pleas for exemption from the responsibilities of philosophical advising: that advice was not meant; that it wouldn't make any difference anyway; and that the writing was not for those who might act on it. I examine the offering of philosophical advice to policy makers, comparing the views on this of Mary Warnock and Dan Brock. I conclude by asking practical normative philosophers to consider what they should do inasmuch as they are advising.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-623
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Early online date23 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Philosophical Advice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this