Particularism Doesn’t Flatten

in Journal of Moral Philosophy
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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 direct moral relevance. The failure of this objection shows that the objection exploits side-constraints that need not be placed on moral particularism.

Particularism Doesn’t Flatten

in Journal of Moral Philosophy

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References

CrispRogerEthics Without Reasons?’ Journal of Moral Philosophy4.1 (2007) pp. 4049.

DancyJonathanDefending the RightJournal of Moral Philosophy4.1 (2007) pp. 8598.

——Ethics Without Principles (Oxford: Oxford University Press2005).

——Moral ParticularismStanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition) Edward N. Zalta (ed.) <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/moral-particularism/>.

——Moral Reasons (Oxford: Blackwell1993).

LanceMark and LittleMargaretDefeasibility and the Normative Grasp of ContextErkenntnis 61 (2004) pp. 43555.

LittleMargaretMoral Generalities Revisited’ in HookerB. and LittleM. (eds.) Moral Particularism (Oxford: Oxford University Press2000) pp. 276304.

McKeeverSean and RidgeMichaelPrincipled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal (New York: Oxford Univ. Press2006).

——Turning on Default ReasonsJournal of Moral Philosophy4.1 (2007) pp. 5576.

ThomasAlanPractical Reasoning and Normative Relevance: A Reply to McKeever and RidgeJournal of Moral Philosophy4.1 (2007) pp. 7784.

1

Sean McKeever and Michael RidgePrincipled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal (New York: Oxford Univ. Press2006) p. 47.

3

Jonathan DancyEthics Without Principles (Oxford: Oxford University Press2005).

6

Mark Lance and Margaret Little‘Defeasibility and the Normative Grasp of Context’Erkenntnis 61 (2004) pp. 435–55.

7

Alan Thomas‘Practical Reasoning and Normative Relevance: A Reply to McKeever and Ridge’Journal of Moral Philosophy4.1 (2007) p. 77 and p. 84 respectively.

11

 See DancyEthics Without Principles p. 76 for a description of what I’ve called a contributory moral principle.

13

 See DancyEthics Without Principles p. 73 for his version of the holism thesis.

15

Little‘Moral Generalities Revisited’ p. 278.

16

Little‘Moral Generalities Revisited’ p. 279.

17

Jonathan Dancy‘Moral Particularism’Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition) Edward N. Zalta (ed.) <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/moral-particularism/>. Dancy’s ‘overall’ principles are the same as my ‘general’ principles.

18

DancyEthics Without Principles p. 80.

19

McKeever and RidgePrincipled Ethics p. 46.

21

Little‘Moral Generalities Revisited’ p. 291; quoted in McKeever and Ridge Principled Ethics p. 46.

22

Jonathan DancyMoral Reasons (Oxford: Blackwell1993) p. 67; quoted in McKeever and Ridge Principled Ethics pp. 46–7.

23

McKeever and RidgePrincipled Ethics p. 46.

24

McKeever and RidgePrincipled Ethics p. 46.

25

McKeever and RidgePrincipled Ethics p. 46.

26

McKeever and RidgePrincipled Ethics p. 47.

29

 See McKeever and RidgePrincipled Ethics pp. 41–43 for their discussion of the role that ‘uncodifiability’ plays in particularist views. I disagree with their assessment since I think it can be shown that arguments from ‘radical holism’ are not in fact question-begging.

33

Little‘Moral Generalities Revisited’ p. 295.

34

 See for instance DancyEthics Without Principles pp. 8–9 80. Note that Dancy doesn’t think that the fact that good moral reasoning is non-monotonic entails particularism. This is because non-monotonicity is compatible with atomism about moral valences.

35

DancyEthics Without Principles8.

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