David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy in the Contemporary World 8 (1):53-58 (2001)
In this paper I examine the particularist attack on deductive uses of moral principles, reviewing the critiques of the uniformity of moral reasons and impartiality in ethics, looking principally at arguments from Larry Blum, Jonathan Dancy, and Margaret Walker. I defend the action-guiding-ness of moral principles themselves, but consider various ways to accommodate the objections coming fromparticularism. I conclude that one objection to the impartialist theory of value must be conceded without qualification: generalism is unable to account for the unique and irreplaceable value of individual persons. I present an example which supports my view andshows that, in the context of lived experience, replaceability is contradicted. Indeed there may be few constants of value in the narrative of one’s life, as experiences overlay supposed constants with continual new shading, and create even deeper sorts of transformation in valuing. In the end, both particularized moral judgment and the articulation of fact with principle contribute to moral discernment
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