David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 166 (1):51-67 (2013)
Moral particularism, on some interpretations, is committed to a shapeless thesis: the moral is shapeless with respect to the natural. (Call this version of moral particularism ‘shapeless moral particularism’). In more detail, the shapeless thesis is that the actions a moral concept or predicate can be correctly applied to have no natural commonality (or shape) amongst them. Jackson et al. (Ethical particularism and patterns, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000) argue, however, that the shapeless thesis violates the platitude ‘predication supervenes on nature’—predicates or concepts apply because of how things are, and therefore ought to be rejected. I defend shapeless moral particularism by arguing that Jackson et al’s contention is less compelling than it firstly appears. My defense is limited in the sense that it does not prove shapeless moral particularism to be right and it leaves open the possibility that shapeless moral particularism might attract criticisms different from the ones advanced by Jackson et al. But at the very least, I hope to say enough to undermine Jackson et al’s powerful attack against it. The plan of this paper is as follows. Section 1 glosses the view of moral particularism and why it is taken to be essentially committed to the shapeless thesis. Section 2 examines a Wittgensteinian argument for the shapeless thesis. I shall argue that the Canberrans’ counter-arguments against it on grounds of disjunctive commonality and conceptual competence do not succeed. Section 3 explicates Canberrans’ predication supervenience argument against the shapeless thesis. Section 4 offers my criticisms of the Canberrans’ predication supervenience argument. In view of the above discussions, in Sect. 5, I conclude that there is no compelling argument (from the Canberrans) to believe that the shapeless thesis fails (as I have argued in Sect. 4). In fact, there is some good reason for us to believe it (as I have argued in Sect. 2). If so, I contend that moral particularism, when construed as essentially committed to the shapeless thesis, still remains as a live option
|Keywords||Moral particularism Shapelessness Predication supervenience Jonathan Dancy Frank Jackson Michael Smith Philip Pettit|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Selim Berker (2007). Particular Reasons. Ethics 118 (1):109-139.
Roger Crisp (2000). Particularizing Particularism. In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral Particularism. Oxford University Press. 23--47.
Jonathan Dancy (1999). Can a Particularist Learn the Difference Between Right and Wrong? The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 1:59-72.
Jonathan Dancy (1983). Ethical Particularism and Morally Relevant Properties. Mind 92 (368):530-547.
Jonathan Dancy (2004). Ethics Without Principles. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Dan López de Sa (2008). 'Defending "Restricted Particularism" From Jackson, Pettit & Smith'. Theoria 62 (2):133–143.
Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu (2011). Defending Particularism From Supervenience/Resultance Attack. Acta Analytica 26 (4):387-402.
Manuel Hernández-Iglesias (2006). Generalism Without Foundations. Acta Analytica 21 (2):71-86.
Brad Hooker (2008). Moral Particularism and the Real World. In Mark Norris Lance, Matjaž Potrč & Vojko Strahovnik (eds.), Challenging Moral Particularism. Routledge. 12--30.
Philipp Schwind (2006). A Critical Discussion of Jonathan Dancy's Moral Particularism. Dissertation, St. Andrews
Edmund Wall (2012). The Real Direction of Dancy's Moral Particularism. Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (4):587-612.
Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu (2010). Can Morality Be Codified. Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics 11 (1&2):145-154.
David Bakhurst (2005). Particularism and Moral Education. Philosophical Explorations 8 (3):265 – 279.
Pekka Väyrynen (2011). Moral Particularism. In Christian B. Miller (ed.), Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum. 478-483.
Brendan Larvor (2008). Moral Particularism and Scientific Practice. Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5):492-507.
Vojko Strahovnik, Matjaz Potrc & Mark Norris Lance (eds.) (2008). Challenging Moral Particularism. Routledge.
Pekka Väyrynen (2006). Moral Generalism: Enjoy in Moderation. Ethics 116 (4):707-741.
Mary Tjiattas (2007). Against Moral Particularism. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:19-24.
Simon Kirchin (2007). Moral Particularism: An Introduction. Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):8-15.
Debbie Roberts (2011). Shapelessness and the Thick. Ethics 121 (3):489-520.
Added to index2012-12-04
Total downloads30 ( #55,807 of 1,096,707 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #14,829 of 1,096,707 )
How can I increase my downloads?