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Moral Particularism

In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University (2009)

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  1. De-Idealizing Disagreement, Rethinking Relativism.Katherina Kinzel & Martin Kusch - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (1):40-71.
    Relativism is often motivated in terms of certain types of disagreement. In this paper, we survey the philosophical debates over two such types: faultless disagreement in the case of gustatory conflict, and fundamental disagreement in the case of epistemic conflict. Each of the two discussions makes use of a implicit conception of judgement: brute judgement in the case of faultless disagreement, and rule-governed judgement in the case of fundamental disagreement. We show that the prevalent accounts work with unreasonably high levels (...)
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  • 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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  • The Riddle of Aesthetic Principles.Vojko Strahovnik - 2004 - Acta Analytica 19 (33):189-208.
    The problem of aesthetic principles and that of the nature of aesthetic reasons get confronted. If aesthetic reasons play an important role in our aesthetic evaluations and judgments, then both some general aesthetic principles and rules could support them (aesthetic generalism) or again their nature may be particularistic (aesthetic particularism). A recent argument in support of aesthetic generalism as proposed by Oliver Conolly and Bashshar Haydar is presented and criticized for its misapprehension of particularism. Their position of irreversible aesthetic generalism (...)
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  • Moral Case Classification and the Nonlocality of Reasons.Marcello Guarini - 2013 - Topoi 32 (2):267-289.
    This paper presents the results of training an artificial neural network (ANN) to classify moral situations. The ANN produces a similarity space in the process of solving its classification problem. The state space is subjected to analysis that suggests that holistic approaches to interpreting its functioning are problematic. The idea of a contributory or pro tanto standard, as discussed in debates between moral particularists and generalists, is used to understand the structure of the similarity space generated by the ANN. A (...)
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  • 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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  • Wisdom as an Expert Skill.Jason D. Swartwood - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):511-528.
    Practical wisdom is the intellectual virtue that enables a person to make reliably good decisions about how, all-things-considered, to live. As such, it is a lofty and important ideal to strive for. It is precisely this loftiness and importance that gives rise to important questions about wisdom: Can real people develop it? If so, how? What is the nature of wisdom as it manifests itself in real people? I argue that we can make headway answering these questions by modeling wisdom (...)
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  • Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richard Bradley, Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):491-515.
    Decision-making typically requires judgments about causal relations: we need to know the causal effects of our actions and the causal relevance of various environmental factors. We investigate how several individuals' causal judgments can be aggregated into collective causal judgments. First, we consider the aggregation of causal judgments via the aggregation of probabilistic judgments, and identify the limitations of this approach. We then explore the possibility of aggregating causal judgments independently of probabilistic ones. Formally, we introduce the problem of causal-network aggregation. (...)
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  • Rules and Principles in Moral Decision Making: An Empirical Objection to Moral Particularism.Jennifer L. Zamzow - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):123-134.
    It is commonly thought that moral rules and principles, such as ‘Keep your promises,’ ‘Respect autonomy,’ and ‘Distribute goods according to need ,’ should play an essential role in our moral deliberation. Particularists have challenged this view by arguing that principled guidance leads us to engage in worse decision making because principled guidance is too rigid and it leads individuals to neglect or distort relevant details. However, when we examine empirical literature on the use of rules and principles in other (...)
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  • Objective Reasons.Michael Pendlebury - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):533-563.
    In order to establish that judgments about practical reasons can be objective, it is necessary to show that the applicable standards provide an adequate account of truth and error. This in turn requires that these standards yield an extensive set of substantive, publicly accessible judgments that are presumptively true. This output requirement is not satisfied by the standards of universalizability, consistency, coherence, and caution alone. But it is satisfied if we supplement them with the principle that desire is a source (...)
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  • What Matters and How It Matters: A Choice-Theoretic Representation of Moral Theories.Franz Dietrich & Christian List - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (4):421-479.
    We present a new “reason-based” approach to the formal representation of moral theories, drawing on recent decision-theoretic work. We show that any moral theory within a very large class can be represented in terms of two parameters: a specification of which properties of the objects of moral choice matter in any given context, and a specification of how these properties matter. Reason-based representations provide a very general taxonomy of moral theories, as differences among theories can be attributed to differences in (...)
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  • A Softwaremodule for an Ethical Elder Care Robot. Design and Implementation.Catrin Misselhorn - 2019 - Ethics in Progress 10 (2):68-81.
    The development of increasingly intelligent and autonomous technologies will eventually lead to these systems having to face morally problematic situations. This is particularly true of artificial systems that are used in geriatric care environments. The goal of this article is to describe how one can approach the design of an elder care robot which is capable of moral decision-making and moral learning. A conceptual design for the development of such a system is provided and the steps that are necessary to (...)
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  • Moral Particularism.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2013 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Rational Argument in Moral Philosophy: Some Implications of Gordon Baker's Therapeutic Conception of Philosophy.Christopher Lawton - unknown
    This work is an investigation into philosophical method and rational argument in moral philosophy. It makes an original contribution to human understanding, by taking some of the tools and techniques that Gordon Baker identifies in the later work of Wittgenstein, and using them as a way of fending for oneself in an area of philosophy that neither Baker, nor Wittgenstein, wrote on. More specifically, a discussion of some different aspects of the contemporary literature on Dancy’s moral particularism is used as (...)
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  • The Value of Methodological Deductivism in Argument Construction.Fábio Perin Shecaira - 2018 - Informal Logic 38 (4):471-501.
    “Deductivism” is a broad label for various theories that emphasize the importance of deductive argument in contexts of rational discussion. This paper makes a case for a very specific form of deductivism. The paper highlights the dialectical importance of advancing deductively valid arguments in natural-language reasoning. Sections 2 and 3 explain the various forms that deductivism has taken. Section 4 makes a case for a particular form of deductivism. Section 5 discusses the value of deductive argument in law. Section 6 (...)
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  • Recent Work: Moral Particularism.Jennifer Flynn - 2010 - Analysis 70 (1):140-148.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  • Neo-Kantian Constructivism and Metaethics.Kirk Surgener - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    Christine Korsgaard has attempted to defend a distinct approach to metaethics – Neo-Kantian Constructivism. Not only does she present a positive case for her own view, she also attacks existing metaethical positions and even the disctinctions that metaethics has traditionally relied on. This thesis is a sustained examination of this position. I consider whether Korsgaard can legitimately claim to be offering a metaethical position at all, providing her with some defence against the scepticism of some metaethicists. I also examine her (...)
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  • The Morals of Model-Making.S. G. Sterrett - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 46:31-45.
    I address questions about values in model-making in engineering, specifically: Might the role of values be attributable solely to interests involved in specifying and using the model? Selected examples illustrate the surprisingly wide variety of things one must take into account in the model-making itself. The notions of system, and physically similar systems are important and powerful in determining what is relevant to an engineering model. Another example illustrates how an idea to completely re-characterize, or reframe, an engineering problem arose (...)
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  • The Morals of Model-Making.Susan G. Sterrett - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 46:31-45.
    I address questions about values in model-making in engineering, specifically: Might the role of values be attributable solely to interests involved in specifying and using the model? Selected examples illustrate the surprisingly wide variety of things one must take into account in the model-making itself. The notions of system , and physically similar systems are important and powerful in determining what is relevant to an engineering model. Another example illustrates how an idea to completely re-characterize, or reframe, an engineering problem (...)
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  • 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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  • Cultivating Practical Wisdom.Jason Swartwood - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Minnesota
    Practical wisdom (hereafter simply “wisdom”) is the intellectual virtue that enables a person to make reliably good decisions about how, all-things-considered, to live and conduct herself. Because wisdom is such an important and high-level achievement, we should wonder: what is the nature of wisdom? What kinds of skills, habits and capacities does it involve? Can real people actually develop it? If so, how? I argue that we can answer these questions by modeling wisdom on expert decision-making skill in complex areas (...)
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  • Thick Concepts and Variability.Pekka Väyrynen - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11:1-17.
    Some philosophers hold that so-called "thick" terms and concepts in ethics (such as 'cruel,' 'selfish,' 'courageous,' and 'generous') are contextually variable with respect to the valence (positive or negative) of the evaluations that they may be used to convey. Some of these philosophers use this variability claim to argue that thick terms and concepts are not inherently evaluative in meaning; rather their use conveys evaluations as a broadly pragmatic matter. I argue that one sort of putative examples of contextual variability (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Moral Particularism and Moral Generalism.Michael Ridge & Sean McKeever - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Failings of Strong Moral Particularism.Timothy Grainger - unknown
    In this paper I will be investigating the possibilities involved with and the consequences of accepting a particularist approach to ethics. Such particularist approaches that reject the use of principles in moral decision making are becoming more popular in contemporary ethical debates underlining modern care ethics, feminist relational ethics, contextualism, and Maclntyre's virtue ethics among others. I will argue that extreme particularism that utterly rejects principles as defended by Jonathan Dancy is an untenable position that does not capture how humans (...)
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  • 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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  • Case Studies Methodology in Applied Ethics.Mohammad Taqi Eslami - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 20 (75):94-112.
    In Applied Ethics, methodology refers to the method of justification and solution of moral issues. There are three main methods in this area that have risen in contrast to one another: the first method is syllogism which emphasizes the importance of moral theories and their application in justifying moral issues and employs an ascending view; the second method is inductivism which has a particularistic and anti-theory approach and supports a descending view; the third method is principalism, which tries to strike (...)
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  • Forgiving as Emotional Distancing.Santiago Amaya - 2019 - Social Philosophy and Policy 36 (1):6-26.
    :In this essay, I present an account of forgiveness as a process of emotional distancing. The central claim is that, understood in these terms, forgiveness does not require a change in judgment. Rationally forgiving someone, in other words, does not require that one judges the significance of the wrongdoing differently or that one comes to the conclusion that the attitudes behind it have changed in a favorable way. The model shows in what sense forgiving is inherently social, shows why we (...)
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  • Ethics And.Sarah McGrath - unknown
    We pretend that philosophical problems divide into the various subfields of philosophy, but to take this pretense too seriously is a mistake. Philosophical problems often raise issues within more than one subfield, and require knowledge of and insights from several subfields. To pretend that ethical questions can be pursued in isolation from the rest of philosophy would be to miss out on a great deal. This course will highlight some recent, cutting—edge work on problems at the overlap of ethics and (...)
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  • Particularism, Perception and Judgement.Benedict Smith - 2006 - Acta Analytica 21 (2):12-29.
    According to the most detailed articulation and defence of moral particularism, it is a metaphysical doctrine about the nature of reasons. This paper addresses aspects of particularist epistemology. In rejecting the existence and efficacy of principles in moral thinking and reasoning particularists typically appeal to a theory of moral knowledge which operates with a ‘perceptual’ metaphor. This is problematic. Holism about valence can give rise to a moral epistemology that is a metaethical variety of atomistic empiricism. To avoid what could (...)
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  • Entiteettien kategorioiden onttisesta statuksesta.Markku Keinänen - 2012 - Maailma.
    This paper (in Finnish) concerns the ontological status of categories of entities. I argue that categories are not be considered as further entities. Rather, it is suffcient for entities belonging to the same category that they are in exactly the same formal ontological relations and have the same general category features.
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  • The Dark Side of Morality: Group Polarization and Moral Epistemology.Marcus Arvan - 2019 - Philosophical Forum 50 (1):87-115.
    This article argues that philosophers and laypeople commonly conceptualize moral truths or justified moral beliefs as discoverable through intuition, argument, or some other purely cognitive or affective process. It then contends that three empirically well-supported theories all predict that this ‘Discovery Model’ of morality plays a substantial role in causing social polarization. The same three theories are then used to argue that an alternative ‘Negotiation Model’ of morality—according to which moral truths are not discovered but instead created by actively negotiating (...)
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  • Interdisciplinary Workshop in the Philosophy of Medicine: Medical Knowledge, Medical Duties.Emma Bullock & Elselijn Kingma - 2014 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 20 (6):994-1001.
    On 27 September 2013, the Centre for the Humanities and Health (CHH) at King's College London hosted a 1-day workshop on ‘Medical knowledge, Medical Duties’. This workshop was the fifth in a series of five workshops whose aim is to provide a new model for high-quality, open interdisciplinary engagement between medical professionals and philosophers. This report identifies the key points of discussion raised throughout the day and the methodology employed.
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  • The War on Terror and the Ethics of Exceptionalism.Fritz Allhoff - 2009 - Journal of Military Ethics 8 (4):265-288.
    The war on terror is commonly characterized as a fundamentally different kind of war from more traditional armed conflict. Furthermore, it has been argued that, in this new kind of war, different rules, both moral and legal, must apply. In the first part of this paper, three practices endemic to the war on terror -- torture, assassination, and enemy combatancy status -- are identified as exceptions to traditional norms. The second part of the paper uses these examples to motivate a (...)
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  • 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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  • Holism, Weight, and Undercutting.Mark Schroeder - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):328 - 344.
    Particularists in ethics emphasize that the normative is holistic, and invite us to infer with them that it therefore defies generalization. This has been supposed to present an obstacle to traditional moral theorizing, to have striking implications for moral epistemology and moral deliberation, and to rule out reductive theories of the normative, making it a bold and important thesis across the areas of normative theory, moral epistemology, moral psychology, and normative metaphysics. Though particularists emphasize the importance of the holism of (...)
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  • Particularism and Default Valency.Simon Kirchin - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):16-32.
    In this paper, I concentrate on the notion of default valency, drawing on some of the distinctions made and thoughts given in my Introduction. I motivate why the notion is important for particularists to have up their sleeves by outlining a recent debate between particularists and generalists. I then move to the main aim of the piece which is to discuss how anyone, particularist and generalist alike, might seek to distinguish reason-generating features into different types. My main aim is not (...)
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  • Formation of R.G. Collingwood's Early Critique of 'Realism'.Junichi Kasuga - unknown
    In spite of the evident centrality of philosophical 'realism' in Collingwood's autobiographical account of his own intellectual development, his critique of 'realism' has hardly been investigated as a central theme in his philosophy. Collingwood's arguments against contemporary 'realism' and his stated move beyond 'idealism' have mostly been treated as a minor question subordinate to other questions. By contrast, I have tried in this thesis to reconstruct Collingwood's philosophy as a critical development of the realism/idealism dispute of his day, focusing on (...)
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  • Die Relevanz idealer Theorie bei der Beurteilung praktischer Probleme.Jürgen Sirsch - 2012 - Zeitschrift Für Politische Theorie 3 (1).
    The paper discusses the adequate role of ideal theory for the discussion of practical problems. Therefore, I will reconstruct the Rawlsian understanding of the ideal-theoretical method and confront it with the critiques of Raymond Geuss and Amartya Sen. While Geuss is sceptical, whether ideal theory provides an appropriately critical perspective, Sen doubts the practical usefulness of ideal-theoretical models. It will be shown, that Rawlsian ideal theory can deal with these criticisms and that it is a useful tool for solving practical (...)
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  • Reasons Have No Weight.Dalia Drai - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270):60-76.
    Practical reasoning is often described as weighing reasons. When one deliberates about what to do one puts all the reasons for the action on one side and all the reasons against the action on the other side. The balance between both sides determines the outcome of the deliberation. Assuming that this description is correct, the next question is how the different reasons for and against the action determine the outcome of the deliberation. This is the place where the notion of (...)
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  • Can the Canberrans’ Supervenience Argument Refute Shapeless Moral Particularism?Peter Tsu - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):545-560.
    Frank Jackson, Michael Smith, and Philip Pettit contend in their 2000 paper that an argument from supervenience deals a fatal blow to shapeless moral particularism, the view that the moral is shapeless with respect to the natural. A decade has passed since the Canberrans advanced their highly influential supervenience argument. Yet, there has not been any compelling counter-argument against it, as far as I can see. My aim in this paper is to fill in this void and defend SMP against (...)
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  • Applying Metaethical and Normative Claims of Moral Relativism to (Shareholder and Stakeholder) Models of Corporate Governance.Andrew West - 2016 - Journal of Business Ethics 135 (2):199-215.
    There has, in recent decades, been considerable scholarship regarding the moral aspects of corporate governance, and differences in corporate governance practices around the world have been widely documented and investigated. In such a context, the claims associated with moral relativism are relevant. The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed consideration of how the metaethical and normative claims of moral relativism in particular can be applied to corporate governance. This objective is achieved, firstly, by reviewing what is meant (...)
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  • 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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  • Universals Without Absolutes: A Theory of Media Ethics.Christopher Meyers - 2016 - Journal of Media Ethics 31 (4):198-214.
    The global turn in media ethics has presented a tough challenge for traditional models of moral theory: How do we assert common moral standards while also showing respect for the values of those from outside the Western tradition? The danger lies in advocating for either extreme: reason-dependent absolutism or cultural relativism. In this paper, I reject Cliff Christian’s attempts to solve the problem and propose instead a moral theory of universal standards that are discovered via a mix of rationally grounded (...)
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  • The Paradox of Bad Faith and Elite Competitive Sport.Leon Culbertson - 2005 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 32 (1):65-86.
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  • Thinking Without Global Generalisations: A Cognitive Defence of Moral Particularism.Nancy Salay - 2008 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):390 – 411.
    In their article entitled “Ethical Particularism and Patterns”, Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit, and Michael Smith (JPS henceforth) argue that moral particularism is a cognitively implausible theory since it appears to entail the view that one might have a skill that is not grounded in an ability to recognise and represent natural patterns in the world. This charge echoes the complaints of computational theorists of cognition against their embodied cognition counterparts, namely that, theories of cognition that eschew talk of mental representation (...)
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  • How Artefacts Influence Our Actions.Auke J. K. Pols - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):575-587.
    Artefacts can influence our actions in several ways. They can be instruments, enabling and facilitating actions, where their presence affects the number and quality of the options for action available to us. They can also influence our actions in a morally more salient way, where their presence changes the likelihood that we will actually perform certain actions. Both kinds of influences are closely related, yet accounts of how they work have been developed largely independently, within different conceptual frameworks and for (...)
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  • Theory and Bioethics.John Arras - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • What is a Chemical Property?Nalini Bhushan - 2007 - Synthese 155 (3):293 - 305.
    Despite the currently perceived urgent need among contemporary philosophers of chemistry for adjudicating between two rival metaphysical conceptual frameworks—is chemistry primarily a science of substances or processes?—this essay argues that neither provides us with what we need in our attempts to explain and comprehend chemical operations and phenomena. First, I show the concept of a chemical property can survive the abandoning of the metaphysical framework of substance. While this abandonment means that we will need to give up essential properties, contingent (...)
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  • Justification in Context.Matjaž Potrč & Vojko Strahovnik - 2005 - Acta Analytica 20 (9):91-104.
    The general drive in epistemology is to deliver necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge with the use of exceptionless general epistemic principles. There is another way, however, to approach the phenomenon of knowledge – by particularistic beautiful patterns. David Lewis in his paper „Elusive Knowledge” provides a nice contextual epistemology. We also think that contextualism is the right way to go and that the epistemic context plays an important role in our endeavors to gain knowledge. But, we disagree with Lewis (...)
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