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  1. Michael Clark (1964). A Note on Ethics and Solipsism. Mind 73 (289):127-128.
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  2. Shlomo Cohen, Conversations on Ethics.
    In his book, Conversations on Ethics, Alex Voorhoeve interviews eleven prominent moral philosophers about central aspects of their views as well as about their intellectual development.1 In their order of appearance, these are: Frances Kamm, Peter Singer, Daniel Kahneman, Philippa Foot, Alasdair MacIntyre, Ken Binmore, Allan Gibbard, Thomas Scanlon, Bernard Williams, Harry Frankfurt, and David Velleman. The book is both richly instructive and delightful to read. Voorhoeve has a sophisticated command of his interlocutorsʼ philosophical views, and his questions often (...)
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  3. Susan Dwyer, How not to argue that morality isn't innate: Comments on Jesse Prinz's “is morality innate?”.
    We must admire the ambition of Prinz’s title question. But does he provide a convincing answer to it? Prinz’s own view of morality as “a byproduct – accidental or invented – of faculties that evolved for different purposes (1),” which appears to express a negative reply, does not receive much direct argument here. Rather, Prinz’s main aim is to try to show that the considerations he believes are typically presented by moral nativists are insufficient or inadequate to establish that morality (...)
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  4. Guy Kahane (2013). The Armchair and the Trolley: An Argument for Experimental Ethics. 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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  5. Mark Lance & Margaret Little (2007). Where the Laws Are. Oxford Studies in Metaethics 2:149-171.
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  6. B. Andrew Lustig (1993). Perseverations on a Critical Theme. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 18 (5):491-502.
    In response to my earlier critique of recent attempts to rebut principlism as an ethical approach, Green, Gert, and Clouser (GG&C) have in turn offered their own critique of my appraisal. This essay identifies eight major criticisms GG&C raise in their response and offers a rejoinder to each. Among them, three are especially important: (1) that the label of ‘deductivism’ fails to capture GG&C's ethical method and should be replaced by ‘descriptivism’; (2) that pluralistic accounts, including principlism, fail to offer (...)
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  7. Sarin Marchetti (2012). James, l'Etica E la Teoria Morale. In I. Pozzoni (ed.), Pragmata. Per una ricostruzione storiografica dei pragmatismi. IF Press, Roma.
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  8. Mike W. Martin (1981). Rights and the Meta-Ethics of Professional Morality. Ethics 91 (4):619-625.
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  9. David McNaughton (1988). Moral Vision: An Introduction to Ethics. B. Blackwell.
    This book introduces the reader to ethics by examining a current and important debate. During the last fifty years the orthodox position in ethics has been a broadly non-cognitivist one: since there are no moral facts, moral remarks are best understood, not as attempting to describe the world, but as having some other function - such as expressing the attitudes or preferences of the speaker. In recent years this position has been increasingly challenged by moral realists who maintain that there (...)
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  10. Thaddeus Metz (2014). Just the Beginning for Ubuntu: Reply to Matolino and Kwindingwi. South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (1):65-72.
    In an article titled ‘The end of ubuntu’ recently published in this journal, Bernard Matolino and Wenceslaus Kwindingwi argue that contemporary conditions in (South) Africa are such that there is no justification for appealing to an ethic associated with talk of ‘ubuntu’. They argue that political elites who invoke ubuntu do so in ways that serve nefarious functions, such as unreasonably narrowing discourse about how best to live, while the moral ideals of ubuntu are appropriate only for a bygone, pre-modern (...)
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  11. Richard W. Miller (1992). Moral Differences: Truth, Justice, and Conscience in a World of Conflict. Princeton University Press.
    In a wide-ranging inquiry Richard W. Miller provides new resources for coping with the most troubling types of moral conflict: disagreements in moral conviction, conflicting interests, and the tension between conscience and desires. Drawing on most fields in philosophy and the social sciences, including his previous work in the philosophy of science, he presents an account of our access to moral truth, and, within this framework, develops a theory of justice and an assessment of the role of morality in rational (...)
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  12. Ornaith O'Dowd (2011). Care and Abstract Principles. Hypatia 27 (2):407-422.
    Since Carol Gilligan's analysis of the “Heinz dilemma,” many philosophers working on care have articulated critiques of abstraction and principles in ethics. Their objections to abstraction and principles have not always been systematically set out. In this paper, I try to clarify the debate. I begin by distinguishing several aspects of the care critique. I then consider the strengths of each from a Kantian perspective. I conclude that, although some of these objections point out potential misuses of abstraction and principle, (...)
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  13. Robert Pippin (2007). Can There Be 'Unprincipled Virtue'? Comments on Nomy Arpaly. Philosophical Explorations 10 (3):291 – 301.
    In her book, Unprincipled Virtue, Nomy Arpaly is suspicious of reflective endorsement or deliberative rationality views of agency, those which tie the possibility of responsibility and moral blame to the conscious exercise of deliberation and reflection, and which require as a condition of blame- or praise- worthiness an agent's explicit commitment to ethical principles. I am in sympathy with her attack on standard autonomy theories, but argue that she confuses the phenomenon of unknowing and unreflective responsiveness to the right-making features (...)
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  14. Luke Robinson (2014). Obligating Reasons, Moral Laws, and Moral Dispositions. Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (1):1-34.
  15. Luke Robinson (2011). Moral Principles As Moral Dispositions. Philosophical Studies 156 (2):289-309.
    What are moral principles? In particular, what are moral principles of the sort that (if they exist) ground moral obligations or—at the very least—particular moral truths? I argue that we can fruitfully conceive of such principles as real, irreducibly dispositional properties of individual persons (agents and patients) that are responsible for and thereby explain the moral properties of (e.g.) agents and actions. Such moral dispositions (or moral powers) are apt to be the metaphysical grounds of moral obligations and of particular (...)
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  16. Miriam Ronzoni & Laura Valentini (2008). On the Meta-Ethical Status of Constructivism: Reflections on G.A. Cohen's `Facts and Principles'. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (4):403-422.
    The Queen's College, Oxford, UK In his article `Facts and Principles', G.A. Cohen attempts to refute constructivist approaches to justification by showing that, contrary to what their proponents claim, fundamental normative principles are fact- in sensitive. We argue that Cohen's `fact-insensitivity thesis' does not provide a successful refutation of constructivism because it pertains to an area of meta-ethics which differs from the one tackled by constructivists. While Cohen's thesis concerns the logical structure of normative principles, constructivists ask how normative principles (...)
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  17. Andrew Sneddon (2012). Recipes for Moral Paradox. American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1):43-54.
    Saul Smilansky notes that, despite the famous role of paradoxes in philosophy, very few moral paradoxes have been developed and assessed. The present paper offers recipes for generating moral paradoxes as a tool to aid in filling this gap. The concluding section presents reflections on how to assess the depth of the paradoxes generated with these recipes. Special attention is paid to links between putative moral paradoxes and debate about ethical particularism and generalism.
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  18. Nicholas L. Sturgeon (1999). Book Review. The Moral Problem. Michael Smith. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 108 (1):94-97.
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  19. George W. Watson, Joseph Michlitsch & Thomas Douglas (2007). Patterned Moral Behavior. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 18:87-92.
    We posit that the weight a person assigns a moral principle is not stable between ideal, or un-contextual assessments and the weight the same moral principle is allocated when applied in a contextual dilemma. Second, we postulate that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior or judgment. Results indicate that the importance of moral principles is dynamic and that patterned moral behavior is a significant predictor of moral judgments.
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Moral Generalism
  1. Maike Albertzart (2011). Missing the Target: Jonathan Dancy’s Conception of a Principled Ethics. Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (1):49-58.
  2. Roger Crisp (2007). Ethics Without Reasons? Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):40-49.
    This paper is a discussion of Jonathan Dancy's book Ethics Without Principles (2004). Holism about reasons is distinguished into a weak version, which allows for invariant reasons, and a strong, which doesn't. Four problems with Dancy's arguments for strong holism are identified. (1) A plausible particularism based on it will be close to generalism. (2) Dancy rests his case on common-sense morality, without justifying it. (3) His examples are of non-ultimate reasons. (4) There are certain universal principles it is hard (...)
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  3. J. Dancy (2007). Review: Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. [REVIEW] Mind 116 (462):462-467.
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  4. John K. Davis (2012). Applying Principles to Cases and the Problem of Judgment. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (4):563 - 577.
    We sometimes decide what to do by applying moral principles to cases, but this is harder than it looks. Principles are more general than cases, and sometimes it is hard to tell whether and how a principle applies to a given case. Sometimes two conflicting principles seem to apply to the same case. To handle these problems, we use a kind of judgment to ascertain whether and how a principle applies to a given case, or which principle to follow when (...)
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  5. Aaron Elliott (2014). Can Moral Principles Explain Supervenience? Res Philosophica 91 (4):629-659.
    The distribution of moral properties supervenes on the distribution of natural properties, and this provides a puzzle for non-naturalism: what could explain supervenience if moral properties are not natural properties? Enoch claims moral principles explain supervenience. But this solution is incomplete without an account of what moral principles and properties are, and what relation holds between them. This paper begins to develop such an account by exploring analogous issues for Realism about Laws of nature in philosophy of science. Appealing to (...)
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  6. Danny Frederick (forthcoming). Pro-Tanto Obligations and Ceteris-Paribus Rules. Journal of Moral Philosophy.
    I summarise a conception of morality as containing a set of rules which hold ceteris paribus and which impose pro-tanto obligations. I explain two ways in which moral rules are ceteris-paribus, according to whether an exception is duty-voiding or duty-overriding. I defend the claim that moral rules are ceteris-paribus against two qualms suggested by Luke Robinson’s discussion of moral rules and against the worry that such rules are uninformative. I show that Robinson’s argument that moral rules cannot ground pro-tanto obligations (...)
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  7. Alan Gewirth (1988). Ethical Universalism and Particularism. Journal of Philosophy 85 (6):283-302.
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  8. Manuel Hernández-Iglesias (2006). Generalism Without Foundations. Acta Analytica 21 (2):71-86.
    This paper is a defence of a holistic version of the generalist view of moral reasoning based on prima facie principles. In Section 1 I summarise Dancy’s arguments for particularism. Then I argue that particularism goes against strong intuitions regarding reasoning in general (Section 2), fails to account for the asymmetry of reasons (Section 3) and to make sense of compunction and moral imbecility (Section 4). I conclude (Section 5) that a holistic generalism is the right view of moral reasoning. (...)
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  9. Brad Hooker (2012). Theory Vs Anti-Theory. In Ulrika Heuer Gerald Lang (ed.), Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes from the Moral Philosophy of Bernard Williams. Oxford University Press.
    Bernard Williams influentially attacked ethical theory. This paper assesses arguments for the ‘anti-theory’ position in ethics, including mainly arguments put forward by Williams but also arguments put forward by others. The paper begins by discussing what is supposed to be theory in ethics and what ethical intuitions are taken to be by those involved in the theory versus anti-theory debate. Then the paper responds to the objections that ethical theory is mistaken to prize principles, mistaken to prize rationalism, mistaken to (...)
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  10. Matthias Kiesselbach (2010). Zwischen Partikularismus Und Generalismus: Ethische Probleme Als Grammatische Spannungen. 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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  11. Simon Kirchin (2007). Particularism and Default Valency. Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):16-32.
    In this paper, I concentrate on the notion of default valency, drawing on some of the distinctions made and thoughts given in my Introduction. I motivate why the notion is important for particularists to have up their sleeves by outlining a recent debate between particularists and generalists. I then move to the main aim of the piece which is to discuss how anyone, particularist and generalist alike, might seek to distinguish reason-generating features into different types. My main aim is not (...)
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  12. Uri D. Leibowitz (2013). Particularism in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. 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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  13. Uri D. Leibowitz (2011). Scientific Explanation and Moral Explanation. Noûs 45 (3):472-503.
    Moral philosophers are, among other things, in the business of constructing moral theories. And moral theories are, among other things, supposed to explain moral phenomena. Consequently, one’s views about the nature of moral explanation will influence the kinds of moral theories one is willing to countenance. Many moral philosophers are (explicitly or implicitly) committed to a deductive model of explanation. As I see it, this commitment lies at the heart of the current debate between moral particularists and moral generalists. In (...)
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  14. Uri D. Leibowitz (2009). A Defense of a Particularist Research Program. 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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  15. Uri D. Leibowitz (2009). Moral Advice and Moral Theory. Philosophical Studies 146 (3):349 - 359.
    Monists, pluralists, and particularists disagree about the structure of the best explanation of the rightness (wrongness) of actions. In this paper I argue that the availability of good moral advice gives us reason to prefer particularist theories and pluralist theories to monist theories. First, I identify two distinct roles of moral theorizing—explaining the rightness (wrongness) of actions, and providing moral advice—and I explain how these two roles are related. Next, I explain what monists, pluralists, and particularists disagree about. Finally, I (...)
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  16. Sean D. McKeever (2006). Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. Oxford University Press.
    Moral philosophy has long been dominated by the aim of understanding morality and the virtues in terms of principles. However, the underlying assumption that this is the best approach has received almost no defence, and has been attacked by particularists, who argue that the traditional link between morality and principles is little more than an unwarranted prejudice. In Principled Ethics, Michael Ridge and Sean McKeever meet the particularist challenge head-on, and defend a distinctive view they call "generalism as a regulative (...)
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  17. Luke Robinson (2012). Exploring Alternatives to the Simple Model: Is There an Atomistic Option? In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Vol. 2. Oxford University Press.
    The simple model maintains that morally relevant factors combine in a simple, additive way, like weights on a scale. Although intuitive and familiar, this model entails that certain plausible views about particular cases and how morally relevant factors combine and interact therein are false. Shelly Kagan suggests that we could accommodate the relevant views and interactions by rejecting either of two assumptions the simple model makes: that the moral status of an act is determined by the sum of the contributions (...)
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  18. Luke Robinson (2008). Moral Principles Are Not Moral Laws. 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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  19. Luke Robinson (2006). Moral Holism, Moral Generalism, and Moral Dispositionalism. 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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  20. Nancy E. Schauber (2008). Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal - by Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge. Philosophical Books 49 (2):181-182.
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  21. Mark Schroeder (2009). A Matter of Principle. [REVIEW] 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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  22. Mark Schroeder (2009). Jonathan Dancy. Ethics Without Principles (Oxford University Press, 2004)Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge. Principled Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2006). [REVIEW] Noûs 43 (3):568-580.
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  23. Ira Singer (2011). Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. By Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge. Metaphilosophy 42 (1-2):170-177.
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  24. Jane Singleton (2004). Neither Generalism nor Particularism: Ethical Correctness is Located in General Ethical Theories. Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2):155-175.
    In this article I shall be supporting two main claims. The first is that the essence of the difference between particularism and generalism lies in where they locate ethical correctness. The second is that generalism, although to be preferred to particularism, is not the final resting place for ethical correctness. Ultimately, ethical correctness resides in ethical theories that provide the rationale for generalism. Particularism is presented as a theory that allows attention to be paid to specific cases and shows a (...)
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  25. Daniel Star (2007). Review of Sean McKeever, Michael Ridge, Principled Ethics: Generalism As a Regulative Ideal. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  26. Herman E. Stark (2004). Reasons Without Principles. Inquiry 47 (2):143 – 167.
    What is required for one thing to be a reason for another? Must the reason, more precisely, be or involve a principle? In this essay I target the idea that justification via reasons of one's beliefs (e.g., epistemic or moral) requires that the 'justifying reasons' be or involve (substantive and significant) principles. I identify and explore some potential sources of a principles requirement, and conclude that none of them (i.e., the normative function of reasons, the abstract structure of reasons, the (...)
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  27. Vojko Strahovnik (2007). Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. [REVIEW] Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (21):512-518.
    In their book Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal McKeever and Ridge address arguments in the debate between moral particularism and moral generalism. The first part of the book presents a systematic discussion of moral particularism, especially a critical evaluation of arguments in its favour. In the second part authors defend a version of generalism which they label generalism as a regulative ideal. The heart of the debate between particularism and generalism is the question of acceptability of a principled (...)
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  28. Vojko Strahovnik, Matjaz Potrc & Mark Norris Lance (eds.) (2008). Challenging Moral Particularism. Routledge.
    Particularism is a justly popular ‘cutting-edge’ topic in contemporary ethics across the world. Many moral philosophers do not, in fact, support particularism (instead defending "generalist" theories that rest on particular abstract moral principles), but nearly all would take it to be a position that continues to offer serious lessons and challenges that cannot be safely ignored. Given the high standard of the contributions, and that this is a subject where lively debate continues to flourish, Challenging Moral Particularism will become required (...)
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  29. Philip Stratton-Lake (2000). Kant, Duty, and Moral Worth. Routledge.
    Kant, Duty and Moral Worth tackles the debate over whether or not Kant said moral actions have worth only if they are carried out from duty or whether actions carried out from mixed motives can be good. Stratton-Lake offers a unique account of acting from duty which utilizes the distinction between primary and secondary motives. He maintains that moral law should not be understood as normative moral reason but as playing a transcendental role. Thus, a Kantian account of moral worth (...)
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  30. Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu (2009). How the Ceteris Paribus Principles of Morality Lie. Public Reason 2 (1):89-94.
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  31. Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu (2008). Book Note on Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):521-524.
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