Particularism and default reasons

This paper addresses a recent suggestion that moral particularists can extend their view to countenance default reasons (at a first stab, reasons that are pro tanto unless undermined) by relying on certain background expectations of normality. I first argue that normality must be understood non-extensionally. Thus if default reasons rest on normality claims, those claims won't bestow upon default reasons any definite degree of extensional generality. Their generality depends rather on the contingent distributional aspects of the world, which no theory of reasons should purport to settle. Appeals to default reasons cannot therefore uniquely support particularism. But this argument also implies that if moral generalism entailed that moral reasons by necessity have invariant valence (in the natural extensional sense), it would be a non-starter. Since generalism is not a non-starter, my argument forces us to rethink the parameters of the generalism-particularism debate. Here I propose to clarify the debate by focusing on its modal rather than extensional aspects. In closing, I outline the sort of generalism that I think is motivated by my discussion, and then articulate some worries this view raises about the theoretical usefulness of the label ‘default reason’.
Keywords default reasons  generics  moral generalism  moral particularism  moral principles  normality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/B:ETTA.0000019980.79568.2f
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,651
External links
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Maike Albertzart (2013). Principle-Based Moral Judgement. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):339-354.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

72 ( #66,711 of 1,902,709 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #110,919 of 1,902,709 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.