Principles and Hypernorms

Journal of Business Ethics 88 (4):707 - 716 (2009)
We typically test norms with reference to their usefulness in dealing with social problems and issues, though sometimes we use hypernorms to evaluate them. The hypernorms that we find most acceptable do not guide action in the way local norms do. They do, however, raise challenging questions that we should ask in evaluating any practice and its associated norms. In this respect, they differ from the principles associated with traditional, as opposed to modern, morality. As societies become more alike, in part as a result of globalization, they will face increasingly similar problems. Then their local norms will be more similar, and they will be more likely to share hypernorms. Insofar as we can agree to try to justify our hypernorms, we are likely to converge on the hypernorms characteristic of modern rather than traditional morality. But people are often attached to their old norms and so are not very good at seeing how hypernorms raise questions that challenge the old norms. Here moral imagination should aid in the adjustment process. A system of democratic capitalism is hospitable to a good kind of moral convergence
Keywords principles  norms  hypernorms  moral progress  moral imagination
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References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (1993). Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.
Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
J. Rawls (1995). Political Liberalism. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

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