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Moral Generalities Revisited

In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral Particularism. Clarendon Press (2000)

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  1. 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 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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  • 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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  • Moral Particularism.Jonathan Dancy - 2009 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University.
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  • Atomism About Value.David Alm - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):312 – 331.
    Atomism is defined as the view that the moral value of any object is ultimately determined by simple features whose contribution to the value of an object is always the same, independently of context. A morally fundamental feature, in a given context, is defined as one whose contribution in that context is determined by no other value fact. Three theses are defended, which together entail atomism: (1) All objects have their moral value ultimately in virtue of morally fundamental features; (2) (...)
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  • Perfection and Fiction : A Study in Iris Murdoch's Moral Philosophy.Frits Gåvertsson - 2018 - Dissertation, Lund University
    This thesis comprises a study of the ethical thought of Iris Murdoch with special emphasis, as evidenced by the title, on how morality is intimately connected to self-improvement aiming at perfection and how the study of fiction has an important role to play in our strive towards bettering ourselves within the framework set by Murdoch’s moral philosophy.
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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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  • Moral Particularism.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2013 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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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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  • Argumentos de Superveniência Contra o Realismo Moral Robusto.Wilson Mendonça - 2019 - Filosofia Unisinos 20 (1).
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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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  • Normative Appeals to the Natural.Pekka Väyrynen - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):279 - 314.
    Surprisingly, many ethical realists and anti-realists, naturalists and not, all accept some version of the following normative appeal to the natural (NAN): evaluative and normative facts hold solely in virtue of natural facts, where their naturalness is part of what fits them for the job. This paper argues not that NAN is false but that NAN has no adequate non-parochial justification (a justification that relies only on premises which can be accepted by more or less everyone who accepts NAN) to (...)
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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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  • Shapelessness in Context.Pekka Väyrynen - 2014 - Noûs 48 (3):573-593.
    Many philosophers believe that the extensions of evaluative terms and concepts aren’t unified under non-evaluative similarity relations and that this “shapelessness thesis” (ST) has significant metaethical implications regarding non-cognitivism, ethical naturalism, moral particularism, thick concepts and more. ST is typically offered as an explanation of why evaluative classifications appear to “outrun” classifications specifiable in independently intelligible non-evaluative terms. This paper argues that both ST and the outrunning point used to motivate it can be explained on the basis of more general (...)
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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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  • Empirical Ethics and the Special Status of Practitioners' Judgements.Albert W. Musschenga - 2010 - Ethical Perspectives 17 (2):203-230.
    According to some proponents of an empirical medical ethics, medical ethics should take the experience, insights, and arguments of doctors and other medical practitioners as their point of departure. Medical practitioners are supposed to have ‘moral wisdom.’ In this view, the moral beliefs of medical practitioners have a special status. In sections I-IV, I discuss two possible defences of such a status. The first defence is based on the special status of the moral beliefs of the health professional as an (...)
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  • Grounding and Normative Explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):155-178.
    This paper concerns non-causal normative explanations such as ‘This act is wrong because/in virtue of__’. The familiar intuition that normative facts aren't brute or ungrounded but anchored in non- normative facts seems to be in tension with the equally familiar idea that no normative fact can be fully explained in purely non- normative terms. I ask whether the tension could be resolved by treating the explanatory relation in normative explanations as the sort of ‘grounding’ relation that receives extensive discussion in (...)
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  • Dewey and Dancy and the Moral Authority of Rules.Tom Spector - 2007 - Contemporary Pragmatism 4 (2):65-75.
    Dewey's pragmatist regard for the place of rules in moral deliberation occupies a middle ground between the rejection of rules found in Jonathan Dancy's moral particularism and full scale subsumptivism of actions to rules. Concerning the authority rules should play in one's moral thinking, however, Dewey is closely aligned with the particularists: he rejects their authority over individual cases. This essay takes Dewey's naturalistic approach to the derivation of rules to argue that in some cases it is ultimately beneficial to (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Practical Reasoning and Normative Relevance: A Reply to McKeever and Ridge.Alan Thomas - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):77-84.
    A putative problem for the moral particularist is that he or she fails to capture the normative relevance of certain considerations that they carry on their face, or the intuitive irrelevance of other considerations. It is argued in response that mastery of certain topic-specific truisms about a subject matter is what it is for a reasonable interlocutor to be engaged in a moral discussion, but the relevance of these truisms has nothing to do with the particularist/generalist dispute. Given that practical (...)
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  • Turning on Default Reasons.Sean McKeever & Michael Ridge - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):55-76.
    Particularism takes an extremely ecumenical view of what considerations might count as reasons and thereby threatens to ‘flatten the moral landscape’ by making it seem that there is no deep difference between, for example, pain, and shoelace color. After all, particularists have claimed, either could provide a reason provided a suitable moral context. To avoid this result, some particularists draw a distinction between default and non-default reasons. The present paper argues that all but the most deflationary ways of drawing this (...)
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  • Moral Holism, Moral Generalism, and Moral Dispositionalism.Luke Robinson - 2006 - Mind 115 (458):331-360.
    Moral principles play important roles in diverse areas of moral thought, practice, and theory. Many who think of themselves as ‘moral generalists’ believe that moral principles can play these roles—that they are capable of doing so. Moral generalism maintains that moral principles can and do play these roles because true moral principles are statements of general moral fact (i.e. statements of facts about the moral attributes of kinds of actions, kinds of states of affairs, etc.) and because general moral facts (...)
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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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  • Ethics and World Pictures in Kamm on Enhancement.Richard E. Ashcroft & Karen P. Gui - 2005 - American Journal of Bioethics 5 (3):19 – 20.
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  • Problems and Solutions for a Hybrid Approach to Grounding Practical Normativity.Jeff Behrends - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):159-178.
    Source Hybridism about practical reasons is the position that facts that constitute reasons sometimes derive their normative force from external metaphysical grounds, and sometimes from internal. Although historically less popular than either Source Internalism or Source Externalism, hybridism has lately begun to garner more attention. Here, I further the hybridist's cause by defending Source Hybridism from three objections. I argue that we are not warranted in rejecting hybridism for any of the following reasons: that hybridists cannot provide an account of (...)
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  • Ross and the Particularism/Generalism Divide.Kristian Olsen - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (1):56-75.
    W. D. Ross is commonly considered to be a generalist about prima facie duty but a particularist about absolute duty. That is, many philosophers hold that Ross accepts that there are true moral principles involving prima facie duty but denies that there are any true moral principles involving absolute duty. I agree with the former claim: Ross surely accepts prima facie moral principles. However, in this paper, I challenge the latter claim. Ross, I argue, is no more a particularist about (...)
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  • The Many Moral Particularisms.Sean McKeever & Michael Ridge - 2005 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (1):83-106.
    What place, if any, moral principles should or do have in moral life has been a longstanding question for moral philosophy. For some, the proposition that moral philosophy should strive to articulate moral principles has been an article of faith. At least since Aristotle, however, there has been a rich counter-tradition that questions the possibility or value of trying to capture morality in principled terms. In recent years, philosophers who question principled approaches to morality have argued under the banner of (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Reasons as Defaults.John Horty - 2007 - Philosophers' Imprint 7:1-28.
    The goal of this paper is to frame a theory of reasons--what they are, how they support actions or conclusions--using the tools of default logic. After sketching the basic account of reasons as provided by defaults, I show how it can be elaborated to deal with two more complicated issues: first, situations in which the priority relation among defaults, and so reasons as well, is itself established through default reasoning; second, the treatment of undercutting defeat and exclusionary reasons. Finally, and (...)
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  • Defeaters and Practical Knowledge.Carla Bagnoli - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2855-2875.
    This paper situates the problem of defeaters in a larger debate about the source of normative authority. It argues in favour of a constructivist account of defeasibility, which appeals to the justificatory role of normative principles. The argument builds upon the critique of two recent attempts to deal with defeasibility: first, a particularist account, which disposes of moral principles on the ground that reasons are holistic; and second, a proceduralist view, which addresses the problem of defeaters by distinguishing between provisional (...)
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  • A Priorism in Moral Epistemology.Amelia Hicks & Michael R. DePaul - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Evaluative terms and concepts are often divided into “thin” and “thick”. We don’t evaluate actions and persons merely as good or bad, or right or wrong, but also as kind, courageous, tactful, selfish, boorish, and cruel. The latter evaluative concepts are "descriptively thick": their application somehow involves both evaluation and a substantial amount of non-evaluative description. This article surveys various attempts to answer four fundamental questions about thick terms and concepts. (1) A “combination question”: how exactly do thick terms and (...)
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