Moral Particularism

Edited by Uri D. Leibowitz (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
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  1. added 2020-05-22
    A Theory of Hedged Moral Principles.Pekka Väyrynen - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:91-132.
    This paper offers a general model of substantive moral principles as a kind of hedged moral principles that can (but don't have to) tolerate exceptions. I argue that the kind of principles I defend provide an account of what would make an exception to them permissible. I also argue that these principles are nonetheless robustly explanatory with respect to a variety of moral facts; that they make sense of error, uncertainty, and disagreement concerning moral principles and their implications; and that (...)
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  2. added 2019-06-06
    Reflections on Moral Disagreement, Relativism, and Skepticism About Rules.Denis Robinson - 2010 - Philosophical Topics 38 (2):131-156.
    Part 1 of this paper discusses some uses of arguments from radical moral disagreement—in particular, as directed against absolutist cognitivism—and surveys some semantic issues thus made salient. It may be argued that parties to such a disagreement cannot be using the relevant moral claims with exactly the same absolutist cognitive content. That challenges the absolutist element of absolutist cognitivism, which, combined with the intractable nature of radical moral disagreement, in turn challenges the viability of a purely cognitivist account of moral (...)
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  3. added 2018-10-31
    Are There Indefeasible Epistemic Rules?Darren Bradley - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    What if your peers tell you that you should disregard your perceptions? Worse, what if your peers tell you to disregard the testimony of your peers? How should we respond if we get evidence that seems to undermine our epistemic rules? Several philosophers have argued that some epistemic rules are indefeasible. I will argue that all epistemic rules are defeasible. The result is a kind of epistemic particularism, according to which there are no simple rules connecting descriptive and normative facts. (...)
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  4. added 2017-08-10
    How Insensitive: Principles, Facts and Normative Grounds in Cohen’s Critique of Rawls.Daniel Kofman - 2012 - Socialist Studies 8 (1):246-268.
    Cohen’s hostility to Rawls’ justification of the Difference Principle by social facts spawned Cohen’s general thesis that ultimate principles of justice and morality are fact-insensitive, but explain how any fact-sensitive principle is grounded in facts. The problem with this thesis, however, is that when facts F ground principle P, reformulating this relation as the "fact-insensitive" conditional “If F, then P” is trivial and thus explanatorily impotent. Explanatory, hence justificatory, force derives either from subsumption under more general principles, or precisely exhibiting (...)
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  5. added 2016-12-08
    A Defense of a Particularist Research Program.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2009 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (2):181-199.
    What makes some acts morally right and others morally wrong? Traditionally, philosophers have thought that in order to answer this question we must find and formulate exceptionless moral principles—principles that capture all and only morally right actions. Utilitarianism and Kantianism are paradigmatic examples of such attempts. In recent years, however, there has been a growing interest in a novel approach—Particularism—although its precise content is still a matter of controversy. In this paper I develop and motivate a new formulation of particularism (...)
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  6. added 2016-10-26
    Particularism Doesn’T Flatten.Amelia Hicks - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (3):339-362.
    Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge object that moral particularism ‘flattens the moral landscape’, that is, that particularism treats reasons of different kinds as if they were reasons of the same kind. This objection is misguided in two respects. First, particularists need not say that every feature can be a moral reason. Second, even if particularists were committed to saying that every feature can be a moral reason, they would still not be committed to the view that every feature can have (...)
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  7. added 2016-07-20
    Moral Particularism and the Role of Imaginary Cases: A Pragmatist Approach.Nate Jackson - 2016 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 8 (1):237-259.
    I argue that John Dewey’s analysis of imagination enables an account of learning from imaginary cases consistent with Jonathan Dancy’s moral particularism. Moreover, this account provides a more robust account of learning from cases than Dancy’s own. Particularism is the position that there are no, or at most few, true moral principles, and that competent reasoning and judgment do not require them. On a particularist framework, one cannot infer from an imaginary case that because a feature has a particular moral (...)
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  8. added 2016-07-14
    John Dewey and the Possibility of Particularist Moral Education.Nate Jackson - 2016 - Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1):215-224.
    John Dewey’s analyses of habit and tradition enable contemporary moral particularists to make sense of the possibility of moral education. Particularists deny that rules determine an act’s moral worth. Using Jonathan Dancy’s recent work, I present a particularist account of moral competence and call attention to a lacuna in particularism: an account of education. For Dancy, reasoning requires attunement to a situation’s salient features. Dewey’s account of habit explains how features can exhibit salience without appeal to rules, and I look (...)
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  9. added 2015-08-09
    Mackie’s Error Theory: A Wittgensteinian Critique.Robert Vinten - 2015 - Revista Kínesis 7 (13):30-47.
    I start by arguing that Mackie’s claim that there are no objective values is a nonsensical one. I do this by ‘assembling reminders’ of the correct use of the term ‘values’ and by examining the grammar of moral propositions à la Wittgenstein. I also examine Hare’s thought experiment which is used to demonstrate “that no real issue can be built around the objectivity or otherwise of moral values” before briefly looking at Mackie’s ‘argument from queerness’. In the final section I (...)
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  10. added 2015-07-27
    Do Particularists Have a Coherent Notion of a Reason for Action?Andrea Lechler - 2012 - Ethics 122 (4):763-772.
    Selim Berker argues that particularists do not have a coherent notion of reasons for action because they cannot show that contributory reasons always contribute to overall reason or moral judgments in accordance with their valence. I argue that Berker fails to demonstrate that particularists cannot show this to be the case. He also wrongly assumes that they need to know this to be the case to legitimately speak of reasons for action. Furthermore, Jonathan Dancy’s account of practical reasoning explains how (...)
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  11. added 2015-04-10
    Directly Plausible Principles.Howard Nye - 2015 - In Christopher Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Palgrave MacMillan. pp. 610-636.
    In this chapter I defend a methodological view about how we should conduct substantive ethical inquiries in the fields of normative and practical ethics. I maintain that the direct plausibility and implausibility of general ethical principles – once fully clarified and understood – should be foundational in our substantive ethical reasoning. I argue that, in order to expose our ethical intuitions about particular cases to maximal critical scrutiny, we must determine whether they can be justified by directly plausible principles. To (...)
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  12. added 2014-10-17
    Narrative and Justification in Moral Particularism.Daniel Nica - 2013 - Romanian Journal of Analytic Philosophy (2):22-32.
    In this paper I will discuss the problem of justification in moral particularism. The first part is concerned with Jonathan Dancy’s account of justification, which is a narrative one. To justify one’s choice is to present a persuasive description of the context in a narrative fashion, not to subordinate singular cases to universal rules. Since it dismisses arguments and employs persuasiveness, this view seems irrational, so the second part of my paper will consist of a personal reconstruction and reformulation of (...)
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  13. added 2014-10-17
    Ethical Particularism and Patterns.Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 2000 - In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral Particularism. Oxford University Press. pp. 79--99.
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  14. added 2014-03-24
    Moral Particularism.Pekka Väyrynen - 2011 - In Christian B. Miller (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum. pp. 247-260.
    This paper is a survey of the generalism-particularism debate in ethics.
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  15. added 2014-03-23
    Malicious Pleasure Evaluated: Is Pleasure an Unconditional Good?Irwin Goldstein - 2003 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (1):24–31.
    Pleasure is one of the strongest candidates for an occurrence that might be good, in some respect, unconditionally. Malicious pleasure is one of the most often cited alleged counter-examples to pleasure’s being an unconditional good. Correctly evaluating malicious pleasure is more complex than people realize. I defend pleasure’s unconditionally good status from critics of malicious pleasure.
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  16. added 2014-03-21
    Particularism and Default Reasons.Pekka Väyrynen - 2004 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (1):53-79.
    This paper addresses a recent suggestion that moral particularists can extend their view to countenance default reasons (at a first stab, reasons that are pro tanto unless undermined) by relying on certain background expectations of normality. I first argue that normality must be understood non-extensionally. Thus if default reasons rest on normality claims, those claims won't bestow upon default reasons any definite degree of extensional generality. Their generality depends rather on the contingent distributional aspects of the world, which no theory (...)
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  17. added 2014-03-19
    Moral Generalism: Enjoy in Moderation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2006 - Ethics 116 (4):707-741.
    I defend moral generalism against particularism. Particularism, as I understand it, is the negation of the generalist view that particular moral facts depend on the existence of a comprehensive set of true moral principles. Particularists typically present "the holism of reasons" as powerful support for their view. While many generalists accept that holism supports particularism but dispute holism, I argue that generalism accommodates holism. The centerpiece of my strategy is a novel model of moral principles as a kind of "hedged" (...)
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  18. added 2014-03-15
    Zwischen Partikularismus und Generalismus: Ethische Probleme als Grammatische Spannungen.Matthias Kiesselbach - 2010 - Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 35 (1):2010.
    This essay argues that there is room for a third position between moral particularism and moral generalism in their orthodox forms. The view proposed in this essay is inspired by the later Wittgenstein's conception of grammar and holds that formulations of ethical principles can be interpreted as grammatical statements, while ethical problems can be interpreted as instances of grammatical tension. On this reading, situations in which ethical principles turn out to conict come out as moments in the evolution of language. (...)
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  19. added 2014-03-15
    Particular Reasons.Selim Berker - 2007 - Ethics 118 (1):109-139.
    Moral particularists argue that because reasons for action are irreducibly context-dependent, the traditional quest in ethics for true and exceptionless moral principles is hopelessly misguided. In making this claim, particularists assume a general framework according to which reasons are the ground floor normative units undergirding all other normative properties and relations. They then argue that there is no cashing out in finite terms either (i) when a given non-normative feature gives rise to a reason for or against action, or (ii) (...)
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  20. added 2014-03-14
    Warring Tautologies: Moral Dissent From a Cognitivist Perspective.Matthias Kiesselbach - 2009 - Ethic@ - An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 8 (1):125-145.
    It is commonly thought that the prevalence of moral dissent poses a problem for the moral cognitivist, forcing her to diagnose either a lot of misunderstanding, or a lot of unexplained observational error. Since mere misunderstanding can be ruled out in most cases of moral dissent, and since the diagnosis of widespread unexplained error is interpretively unstable, prevalent dissent has pushed many philosophers towards non-cognitivism. In this essay, I argue that once a diachronic, pragmatist theory of language along the lines (...)
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  21. added 2014-03-09
    How the Ceteris Paribus Principles of Morality Lie.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2010 - Public Reason 2 (1):89-94.
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  22. added 2014-03-06
    Particularism and Supervenience.Caj Strandberg - 2008 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
    One of our most fundamental notions of morality is that in so far as objects have moral properties, they have non-moral properties that make them have moral properties. Similarly, objects have moral properties in virtue of or because of having non-moral properties, and moral properties depend on non-moral properties. In ethics it has generally been assumed that this relation can be accounted for by the supervenience of moral properties on non-moral properties. However, this assumption is put into doubt by an (...)
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  23. added 2014-03-04
    Defending Particularism From Supervenience/Resultance Attack.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (4):387-402.
    I take the debate between the particularists and the principlists to be centered on the issue of whether there are true moral principles. One argument the principlists often appeal to in support of their claim that there are true moral principles is the argument from supervenience. Roughly, the argument is made up of the following three statements: (P1) If the thesis of moral supervenience holds, then there are true moral principles. (P2) The thesis of moral supervenience holds. (C) There are (...)
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  24. added 2014-02-13
    Shapelessness and Predication Supervenience: A Limited Defense of Shapeless Moral Particularism.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (S1):51-67.
    Moral particularism, on some interpretations, is committed to a shapeless thesis: the moral is shapeless with respect to the natural. (Call this version of moral particularism ‘shapeless moral particularism’). In more detail, the shapeless thesis is that the actions a moral concept or predicate can be correctly applied to have no natural commonality (or shape) amongst them. Jackson et al. (Ethical particularism and patterns, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000) argue, however, that the shapeless thesis violates the platitude ‘predication supervenes on (...)
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  25. added 2014-02-10
    Pleasure and Pain: Unconditional Intrinsic Values.Irwin Goldstein - 1989 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (December):255-276.
    That all pleasure is good and all pain bad in itself is an eternally true ethical principle. The common claim that some pleasure is not good, or some pain not bad, is mistaken. Strict particularism (ethical decisions must be made case by case; there are no sound universal normative principles) and relativism (all good and bad are relative to society) are among the ethical theories we may refute through an appeal to pleasure and pain. Daniel Dennett, Philippa Foot, R M (...)
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  26. added 2014-01-29
    Moral Particularism.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2013 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  27. added 2013-07-22
    Reasons and Moral Principles.Pekka Väyrynen - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. pp. 839-61.
    This paper is a survey of the generalism-particularism debate and related issues concerning the relationship between normative reasons and moral principles.
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  28. added 2013-01-20
    Review: A Matter of Principle. [REVIEW]Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Noûs 43 (3):568 - 580.
    This article is a joint critical notice of Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge's book Principled Ethics and Jonathan Dancy's book Ethics Without Principles.
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  29. added 2011-06-10
    Moral Truths and Moral Principles.Curtis Brown - manuscript
    In recent years, a number of moral philosophers have held both that there are particular moral truths, and also that there are no general moral principles which explain these particular moral truths--either because there simply are no moral principles, or because moral principles are themselves explained by or derived from particular moral truths rather than vice versa. Often this combination of doctrines is held by philosophers interested in reviving an Aristotelean approach..
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  30. added 2011-01-26
    Book Review of Dancy, J., "Ethics Without Principles". [REVIEW]Michael Lacewing - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221).
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  31. added 2010-09-13
    Particularism and Presumptive Reasons.Garrett Cullity - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes( 76:169-90.
    The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com.
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  32. added 2010-08-09
    Scientific Explanation and Moral Explanation.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2011 - Noûs 45 (3):472-503.
    Moral philosophers are, among other things, in the business of constructing moral theories. And moral theories are, among other things, supposed to explain moral phenomena. Consequently, one’s views about the nature of moral explanation will influence the kinds of moral theories one is willing to countenance. Many moral philosophers are (explicitly or implicitly) committed to a deductive model of explanation. As I see it, this commitment lies at the heart of the current debate between moral particularists and moral generalists. In (...)
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  33. added 2010-08-09
    Moral Advice and Moral Theory.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (3):349 - 359.
    Monists, pluralists, and particularists disagree about the structure of the best explanation of the rightness (wrongness) of actions. In this paper I argue that the availability of good moral advice gives us reason to prefer particularist theories and pluralist theories to monist theories. First, I identify two distinct roles of moral theorizing—explaining the rightness (wrongness) of actions, and providing moral advice—and I explain how these two roles are related. Next, I explain what monists, pluralists, and particularists disagree about. Finally, I (...)
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  34. added 2010-07-23
    Brown and Moore's Value Invariabilism Vs Dancy's Variabilism.Guy Fletcher - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):162-168.
    Campbell Brown has recently argued that G.E. Moore's intrinsic value holism is superior to Jonathan Dancy's. I show that the advantage which Brown claims for Moore's view over Dancy's is illusory, and that Dancy's view may be superior.
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  35. added 2010-03-04
    Book Note on Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. [REVIEW]Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):521-524.
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  36. added 2009-05-20
    Usable Moral Principles.Pekka Väyrynen - 2008 - In Vojko Strahovnik, Matjaz Potrc & Mark Norris Lance (eds.), Challenging Moral Particularism. Routledge. pp. 75-106.
    One prominent strand in contemporary moral particularism concerns the claim of "principle abstinence" that we ought not to rely on moral principles in moral judgment because they fail to provide adequate moral guidance. I argue that moral generalists can vindicate this traditional and important action-guiding role for moral principles. My strategy is to argue, first, that, for any conscientious and morally committed agent, the agent's acceptance of (true) moral principles shapes their responsiveness to (right) moral reasons and, second, that if (...)
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