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Turning on Default Reasons

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy
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  • 1 Dept of Philosophy, Davidson College, Davidson, NC, USA, Email: semckeever@davidson.edu
  • | 2 Dept of Philosophy, Edinburgh University Edinburgh, Scotland;, Email: mridge@staffmail.ed.ac.uk
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Abstract

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 distinction are either implausible or else insufficient to help the particularist avoid flattening the moral landscape. The difficulty can be avoided, however, if we reject particularism's extremely ecumenical view of reasons.

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