Moral Principles As Moral Dispositions

Philosophical Studies 156 (2):289-309 (2011)
Abstract
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 truths about what is morally permissible, impermissible, etc. Moreover, they can do other things that moral principles are supposed to do: explain the phenomena “falling within their scope,” support counterfactuals, and ground moral necessities, “necessary connections” between obligating reasons and obligations. And they are apt to be the truthmakers for moral laws, or “lawlike” moral generalizations.
Keywords Moral principles  Metaethics  Dispositions  Powers  Dispositionalism  Moral dispositionalism
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    Helen Beebee (2000). The Non-Governing Conception of Laws of Nature. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):571-594.

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