The Procedure of Morality

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 27 (1) (2024)
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Does morality have a procedure? Unlike law, morality is arguably neither posited nor institutional. Thus, while morality undeniably prescribes various procedures, that morality itself has a procedure is less obvious. Indeed, the coexistence of procedural moral norms alongside substantive moral norms might seem paradoxical, given that they often yield contradictory prescriptions. After all, one may wonder, is morality not substantive all the way down? Nevertheless, the paper argues that morality has a “procedural branch” containing numerous norms that are themselves procedural. These norms comprise what we hold are the three hallmarks of a procedural norm: second-orderness, providing reasons on how to engage with other norms, and outcome-neutrality. In this respect, morality is more like law than what one might have expected.

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Ori Herstein
King's College London


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