Moral particularism and the real world
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||The term ‘moral particularism’ has been used to refer to different doctrines. The main body of this paper begins by identifying the most important doctrines associated with the term, at least as the term is used by Jonathan Dancy, on whose work I will focus. I then discuss whether holism in the theory of reasons supports moral particularism, and I call into question the thesis that particular judgements have epistemological priority over general principles. Dancy’s recent book Ethics without Principles (Dancy 2004) makes much of a distinction between reasons, enablers, disablers, intensi- ﬁers, and attenuators. I will suggest that the distinction is unnecessary, and I will argue that, even if there is such a distinction, it does not entail moral particularism. In the ﬁnal two sections, I try to give improved versions of arguments against particularism that I put forward in my paper ‘Moral Particularism: Wrong and Bad’ (Hooker 2000b: 1–22, esp. pp. 7–11, 15–22).|
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