Principled ethics: generalism as a regulative ideal [Book Review]

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (21):512-518 (2007)
Abstract
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 approach to morality – the question whether universal, exceptionless moral principles govern morality. Recognizing the need for a systematic justification of true moral principles and their role in morality, McKeever and Ridge defend such a generalist approach to morality, without committing themselves to any special normative structure or to any specific principles. They offer an impressive and persuasive set of arguments for their position, based on the starting presupposition of moral knowledge in particular cases – this presupposition being the common ground in the debate between generalism and particularism. The book is a defense of generalism and moral principles in their various characteristics – form their functioning as moral standards to their role in guiding our decisions and behaviour, serving as a basis for moral progress, avoiding the danger of special pleading.
Keywords moral generalism  moral particularism  moral principles  moral knowledge
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