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Ethical particularism and patterns

In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral particularism. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 79--99 (2000)

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  1. Moral Generalism and Moral Particularism (2nd edition).Pekka Väyrynen - 2023 - In Christian B. Miller (ed.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Ethics. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 381-396.
    This paper is a survey of the generalism-particularism debate in ethics. It's an updated version of "Moral Particularism", in Christian B. Miller (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Ethics (Continuum, 2011), pp. 247-260.
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  • Moral Knowledge By Deduction.Declan Smithies - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (3):537-563.
    How is moral knowledge possible? This paper defends the anti-Humean thesis that we can acquire moral knowledge by deduction from wholly non-moral premises. According to Hume’s Law, as it has become known, we cannot deduce an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’, since it is “altogether inconceivable how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it” (Hume, 1739, 3.1.1). This paper explores the prospects for a deductive theory of moral knowledge that rejects Hume’s Law.
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  • On What (In General) Grounds What.Kevin Richardson - 2020 - Metaphysics 2 (1):73–87.
    A generic grounding claim is a grounding claim that isn’t about any particular entity or fact. For example, consider the claim: an act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness. One natural idea is that generic grounding claims state mere regularities of ground. So if an act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness, then every possible right act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness. The generic claim generalizes over particular grounding relations. In this essay, I argue that this (...)
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  • Reasons and Moral Principles.Pekka Väyrynen - 2006 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press. 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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  • Supervenience, Repeatability, & Expressivism.Emad H. Atiq - 2019 - Noûs 54 (3):578-599.
    Expressivists traditionally explain normative supervenience by saying it is a conceptual truth. I argue against this tradition in two steps. First, I show the modal claim that stands in need of explanation has been stated imprecisely. Classic arguments in metaethics for normative supervenience and those that rely on it as a premise presuppose a constraint on the supervenience base that is rarely (if ever) made explicit: the repeatability of the non-normative properties on which the normative supervenes. Non-normative properties are repeatable (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Ethical Reductionism.Neil Sinhababu - 2018 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1):32-52.
    Ethical reductionism is the best version of naturalistic moral realism. Reductionists regard moral properties as identical to properties appearing in successful scientific theories. Nonreductionists, including many of the Cornell Realists, argue that moral properties instead supervene on scientific properties without identity. I respond to two arguments for nonreductionism. First, nonreductionists argue that the multiple realizability of moral properties defeats reductionism. Multiple realizability can be addressed in ethics by identifying moral properties uniquely or disjunctively with properties of the special sciences. Second, (...)
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  • Three Mistakes about Doing Good (And Bad).Philip Pettit - 2018 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (1):1-25.
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  • Non-Naturalism and Reference.Jussi Suikkanen - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 11 (2):1-24.
    Metaethical realists disagree about the nature of normative properties. Naturalists think that they are ordinary natural properties: causally efficacious, a posteriori knowable, and usable in the best explanations of natural and social sciences. Non-naturalist realists, in contrast, argue that they are sui generis: causally inert, a priori knowable and not a part of the subject matter of sciences. It has been assumed so far that naturalists can explain causally how the normative predicates manage to refer to normative properties, whereas non-naturalists (...)
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  • Explaining Practical Normativity.Tristram McPherson - 2016 - Topoi:1-10.
    Ethical non-naturalists often charge that their naturalist competitors cannot adequately explain the distinctive normativity of moral or more broadly practical concepts. I argue that the force of the charge is mitigated, because non-naturalism is ultimately committed to a kind of mysterianism about the metaphysics of practical norms that possesses limited explanatory power. I then show that focusing on comparative judgments about the explanatory power of various metaethical theories raises additional problems for the non-naturalist, and suggest grounds for optimism that a (...)
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  • The Aesthetic Relevance of Empirical Findings.Fabian Dorsch - 2011 - Kongress-Akten der Deutschen Gesellschaft Für Ästhetik 2:1-21.
    Empirical findings may be relevant for aesthetic evaluation in at least two ways. First — within criticism — they may help us to identify the aesthetic value of objects. Second— whithin philosophy — they may help us to decide which theory of aesthetic value and evaluation to prefer. In this paper, I address both kinds of relevance. My focus is thereby on empirical evidence gathered, not by means of first-personal experiences, but by means of third-personal scientific investigations of individual artworks (...)
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  • The Limits of Aesthetic Empiricism.Fabian Dorsch - 2014 - In Greg Currie, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin & Jon Robson (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 75-100.
    In this chapter, I argue against empiricist positions which claim that empirical evidence can be sufficient to defeasibly justify aesthetic judgements, or judgements about the adequacy of aesthetic judgements, or sceptical judgements about someone's capacity to form adequate aesthetic judgements. First, empirical evidence provides neither inferential, nor non-inferential justification for aesthetic opinions. Second, while empirical evidence may tell us how we do respond aesthetically to artworks, it cannot tell us how we should respond to them. And, third, empirical insights into (...)
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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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  • Sentimentalism (International Encyclopedia of Ethics).Antti Kauppinen - 2021 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
    Sentimentalism comes in many varieties: explanatory sentimentalism, judgment sentimentalism, metaphysical sentimentalism, and epistemic sentimentalism. This encyclopedia entry gives an overview of the positions and main arguments pro and con.
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  • Moral Particularism.Jonathan Dancy - 2012 - In Ed Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • 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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  • Zwischen Partikularismus und Generalismus: Ethische Probleme als Grammatische Spannungen.Matthtas 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 conflict come out as moments in the evolution of language. (...)
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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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  • Jonathan Dancy. Ethics Without Principles (Oxford University Press, 2004) Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge. Principled Ethics. [REVIEW]Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Noûs 43 (3):568-580.
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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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  • Substantive moral theory.Philip Pettit - 2008 - Social Philosophy and Policy 25 (1):1-27.
    Philosophy can serve two roles in relation to moral thinking: first, to provide a meta-ethical commentary on the nature of moral thought, as the methodology or the philosophy of science provides a commentary on the nature of scientific thought; and second, to build on the common presumptions deployed in people's moral thinking about moral issues, looking for a substantive moral theory that they might support. The present essay addresses the nature of this second role; illustrates it with substantive theories that (...)
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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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  • Defending semantic generalism.Daniel Whiting - 2007 - Analysis 67 (4):303–311.
    ‘Particularism’ is a meta-ethical theory resulting from a holistic doctrine in the theory of reasons. According to Jonathan Dancy, the foremost contemporary proponent of particularism, ‘a feature that is a reason in favour of an action in one case may be no reason at all in another, or even a reason against’ (2004: 190). From this, Dancy claims, it follows that the ‘possibility of moral thought and judgement does not depend on the provision of a suitable supply of moral principles’ (...)
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  • Holism, Weight, and Undercutting.Mark Schroeder - 2010 - 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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  • Ethics in the face of uncertainty: Judgement not rules.Michael Luntley - 2003 - Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 12 (4):325–333.
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  • A Matter of Principle. [REVIEW]Mark Schroeder - 2009 - Noûs 43 (3):568 - 580.
    This is an early draft of a joint critical notice I am writing of Jonathan Dancy’s Ethics Without Principles and Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge’s Principled Ethics, for Noûs.
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  • Conceptual analysis and reductive explanation.David J. Chalmers & Frank Jackson - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (3):315-61.
    Is conceptual analysis required for reductive explanation? If there is no a priori entailment from microphysical truths to phenomenal truths, does reductive explanation of the phenomenal fail? We say yes . Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker say no.
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  • By Which We May Be Judged: Moral Epistemology, Mind-Independent Truth Conditions And Sources Of Normativity.Maarten Van Doorn - 2022 - Dissertation, Central European University
    Many hope that our values, purged of messy human contingency, could aspire to correspond with mind-independent, rationally obligatory, and eternal ethical facts. But if the arguments of this thesis are on the right track, we should reject the search for non-natural and mind-independent moral truths.
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  • Is Moral Perception Essentially Rule-Governed? A Critical Assessment of Generalism and a Limited Defense of Particularism.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2021 - Critica 52 (156).
    Moral perception, for the purposes of this article, is taken to be the perception of moral properties, unless contexts dictate otherwise. While both particularists and generalists agree that we can perceive the moral properties of an action or a feature, they disagree, however, over whether rules play any essential role in moral perception. The particularists argue for a ‘no’ answer, whereas the generalists say ‘yes’. In this paper, I provide a limited defense of particularism by rebutting several powerful generalist arguments. (...)
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  • Reasons and Normativity.Jakob Green Werkmäster - 2019 - Dissertation, Lund University
    Normative reasons are of constant importance to us as agents trying to navigate through life. For this reason it is natural and vital to ask philosophical questions about reasons and the normative realm. This thesis explores various issues concerning reasons and normativity. The thesis consists of five free-standingpapers and an extended introduction. The aim of the extended introduction is not merely to situate the papers within a wider philosophical context but also to provide an overview of some of the central (...)
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  • Explaining Practical Normativity.Tristram McPherson - 2018 - Topoi 37 (4):621-630.
    Ethical non-naturalists often charge that their naturalist competitors cannot adequately explain the distinctive normativity of moral or more broadly practical concepts. I argue that the force of the charge is mitigated, because non-naturalism is ultimately committed to a kind of mysterianism about the metaphysics of practical norms that possesses limited explanatory power. I then show that focusing on comparative judgments about the explanatory power of various metaethical theories raises additional problems for the non-naturalist, and suggest grounds for optimism that a (...)
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  • Moral Particularism and Moral Generalism.Michael Ridge & Sean McKeever - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Explanatory Indispensability Arguments in Metaethics and Philosophy of Mathematics.Debbie Roberts - 2016 - In Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press UK.
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  • Depending on the Thick.Debbie Roberts - 2017 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 (1):197-220.
    The claim that the normative depends on the non-normative is just as entrenched in metanormative theory as the claim that the normative supervenes on the non-normative. It is widely held to be a genuine truism, a conceptual truth that operates as a constraint on competence with normative concepts. Call it the dependence constraint. I argue that this status is unwarranted. While it is true that the normative is dependent, it is not a genuine truism, or a conceptual truth, that it (...)
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  • Can the Canberrans’ Supervenience Argument Refute Shapeless Moral Particularism?Peter Shiu-Hwa 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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  • The case against evaluative realism.Dan López de Sa - 2006 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 21 (3):277-294.
    In this paper I offer a characterization of evaluative realism, present the intuitive case against it, and offer two considerations to support it further: one concerning the internalist connection between values and motivation, and the other concerning the intuitibve causal inefficacy of evaluative properties. The considerations ultimately rely on the former intuitions themselves, but are not devoid of interest, as they might make one revise what one took to be his own realistic supporting intuitions, if such one had.
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  • Moral Particularism.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2013 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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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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  • Particularism in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):121-147.
    In this essay I offer a new particularist reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. I argue that the interpretation I present not only helps us to resolve some puzzles about Aristotle’s goals and methods, but it also gives rise to a novel account of morality—an account that is both interesting and plausible in its own right. The goal of this paper is, in part, exegetical—that is, to figure out how to best understand the text of the Nicomachean Ethics. But this paper (...)
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  • Rationalism and the Content of Intuitive Judgements.Anna-Sara Malmgren - 2011 - Mind 120 (478):263-327.
    It is commonly held that our intuitive judgements about imaginary problem cases are justified a priori, if and when they are justified at all. In this paper I defend this view — ‘rationalism’ — against a recent objection by Timothy Williamson. I argue that his objection fails on multiple grounds, but the reasons why it fails are instructive. Williamson argues from a claim about the semantics of intuitive judgements, to a claim about their psychological underpinnings, to the denial of rationalism. (...)
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  • Moral Principles Are Not Moral Laws.Luke Robinson - 2007 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2 (3):1-22.
    What are moral principles? The assumption underlying much of the generalism–particularism debate in ethics is that they are (or would be) moral laws: generalizations or some special class thereof, such as explanatory or counterfactual-supporting generalizations. I argue that this law conception of moral principles is mistaken. For moral principles do at least three things that moral laws cannot do, at least not in their own right: explain certain phenomena, provide particular kinds of support for counterfactuals, and ground moral necessities, “necessary (...)
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  • Preempting principles: Recent debates in moral particularism.Sean McKeever & Michael Ridge - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1177-1192.
    Moral particularism, as recently defended, charges that traditional moral theorizing unduly privileges moral principles. Moral generalism defends a prominent place for moral principles. Because moral principles are often asked to play multiple roles, moral particularism aims at multiple targets. We distinguish two leading roles for moral principles, the role of standard and the role of guide. We critically survey some of the leading arguments both for and against principles so conceived.
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  • THE SNAKE AND THE ROUNDABOUT: ETHICAL PARTICULARISM AND THE PATTERNS OF NORMATIVE INDUCTION.R. Kellogg Frederic - 2016 - DUC IN ALTUM CADERNOS DE DIREITO 8 (16).
    Using two examples of ethical choice, Philippa Foot’s snake and the traffic roundabout, this paper offers an account of normative induction that characterizes particularism and generalism as stages of normative inquiry, rather than rival accounts of moral knowledge and motivation. Ethical particularism holds that the evaluative cannot be “cashed out” in propositional form, and that it is descriptively “shapeless.” Drawing on examples from law, this paper claims that, while individual normative inquiry may be viewed as encountering a shapeless particularist context (...)
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  • Experience and Reason.Fabian Dorsch - 2011 - Rero Doc.
    This collection brings together a selection of my recently published or forthcoming articles. What unites them is their common concern with one of the central ambitions of philosophy, namely to get clearer about our first-personal perspective onto the world and our minds. Three aspects of that perspective are of particular importance: consciousness, intentionality, and rationality. The collected essays address metaphysical and epistemological questions both concerning the nature of each of these aspects and concerning the various connections among them. More generally, (...)
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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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  • Understanding Particularism.Karsten Klint Jensen & Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen - 2005 - Theoria 71 (2):118-137.
    Adherents of particularism draw rather strong implications of this view. However, particularism has never been stated in a canonical way. We locate the core of particularism as a claim about how different reasons combine to generate the Tightness or wrongness of an action. Using the notion of an ordering of alternatives containing separable factors, we show that particularism can be stated more generally as the denial that there exist separable factors.With this definition in place, we show that, once subjected to (...)
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  • Particularism, Analogy, and Moral Cognition.Marcello Guarini - 2010 - Minds and Machines 20 (3):385-422.
    ‘Particularism’ and ‘generalism’ refer to families of positions in the philosophy of moral reasoning, with the former playing down the importance of principles, rules or standards, and the latter stressing their importance. Part of the debate has taken an empirical turn, and this turn has implications for AI research and the philosophy of cognitive modeling. In this paper, Jonathan Dancy’s approach to particularism (arguably one of the best known and most radical approaches) is questioned both on logical and empirical grounds. (...)
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  • Why Moral Principles?Joe Mintoff - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1133-1159.
    Jonathan Dancy challenges moral generalists to come up with a picture of moral thought and judgment which requires a provision of principles that cover the ground. The aim of this paper is to provide a response to Dancy's challenge. I argue that reasonable moral thought requires us to explain ourselves when we have reason to doubt our moral judgment about some particular case, that any such explanation commits us to a general moral principle over some domain of discussion and that (...)
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  • The armchair and the trolley: an argument for experimental ethics.Guy Kahane - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):421-445.
    Ethical theory often starts with our intuitions about particular cases and tries to uncover the principles that are implicit in them; work on the ‘trolley problem’ is a paradigmatic example of this approach. But ethicists are no longer the only ones chasing trolleys. In recent years, psychologists and neuroscientists have also turned to study our moral intuitions and what underlies them. The relation between these two inquiries, which investigate similar examples and intuitions, and sometimes produce parallel results, is puzzling. Does (...)
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