葛里芬教授生於 1933 年，早年於耶魯大學就讀，於 1955 年取得文學士學位，畢業後獲羅德學人獎學金前往牛津大學深造，於 1960 年取得博士學位。葛里芬教授先後任牛津大學基督學院講師 (1960-66) 、哲學講師 (1964-90) 、哲學教授 (1990-96) ，同時亦擔任基布爾學院院士及導師 (1966-96) 。葛里芬教授於 1996 年出任牛津大學韋氏道德哲學講座教授，至 2000 年退休。葛里芬教授現任美國羅格斯大學的傑出訪問哲學教授，及澳洲應用哲學及公共倫理學中心的兼任教授。
葛里芬教授是公認的頂尖道德哲學家，曾於不同大學擔任訪問教授，包括美國威斯康辛大學 (1970, 78) 、西班牙聖地牙哥大學 (1988, 95) 、墨西哥科技研究學院 (ITAM)(1994) 、墨西哥國立大學 (UNAM)(1994, 2003) 、蘇格蘭聖安祖大學 (2000) 及澳洲國立大學 (2001) 。葛里芬教授成就卓著，先後獲頒波蘭教育獎章 (1992) 、委內瑞拉洛薩達勳章 (1999) 及西班牙聖地牙哥大學頒發榮譽博士銜 (2003) 。
葛里芬教授著有四本專著，包括《維根斯坦的邏輯原子論》 (1964) 、《論福祉》 (1986) 、《論價值判斷》 (1996) 以及《論人權》 (2008) 。
I was born in the United States, was an undergraduate at Yale University, and then moved to Oxford for graduate work, where I have lived ever since. When my supervisor at Oxford, Gilbert Ryle, heard that I had been at Yale, he remarked, ‘Where they have the zoo theory of teaching philosophy: one of each species’. Ryle was right; at that time undergraduate education at Yale was a matter of looking into cages labelled ‘rationalist’, ‘empiricist’, ‘logical positivist’, etc. It is no way to learn philosophy.
As a graduate student at Oxford I became interested in Wittgenstein’s early book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus , which then I thought superior to his much more favoured late book, Philosophical Investigations . Out of this work came my first book Wittgenstein’s Logical Atomism and my abandoning of my preference for the Tractatus . But my interest in the Tractatus left me with an interest in Frank Ramsey, decision theory, the idea of ‘utility’, and ultimately moral philosophy. Up to that time I had succumbed to the prejudice, not uncommon among philosophers, that moral philosophy was not serious philosophy (serious philosophy being metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, etc.). Having come into moral philosophy by that route, it is not surprising that my next book was Well-Being: Its Meaning, Measurement, and Moral Importance . But I thought that most moral philosophers had a mistakenly ambitious conception of what the subject was. Most of them thought that moral philosophy was engaged in a grand Cartesian project: a moral philosopher should take to pieces the ethics produced by the local culture, keep what is sound, discard what is not, reassemble the pieces adding some high system. I argued against this wish for system in a book called Value Judgement: Improving Our Ethical Beliefs .
I then became interested in a project of a size within the capacities of moral philosophy: to make clearer what human rights are. I published the results recently (2008) in a book called On Human Rights .
I am now revisiting the question of what philosophy can contribute to normative ethics. I think that moral philosophy has to be much more modest in its aspirations than most of my colleagues think; the problem is to see how much more modest it must be. That will be the subject of my graduate seminar in Hong Kong.
從以上有關動機的考察，可以得出三種不同的結論： (1) 非「不能」、實「不願」， (2) 無論可以與否，皆不是「應為」， (3) 「難以為之」 ( 甚至到變成「不能為」 ) ，這方面實例不少。本文支持第三結論。
5 Mar 2010 (Fri)
12 Mar 2010 (Fri)
19 Mar 2010 (Fri)
Week 1: What Biology and Psychology Can Tell Us about Ethics
Week 2: Naturalizing Ethics
Week 3: Systematizing Ethics
Week 4: Bernard Williams’ Rejection of Morality