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Summary

What role, if any, should principles play in our moral theorizing and in our moral practice? Generalists hold that moral principles are indispensable to morality. Particularists challenge this claim. As the leading particularist Jonathan Dancy describes it, particularism is the view that “moral thought and judgement in no way depends on a suitable provision of [moral principles].”  Dancy’s own work focused on developing a novel holistic theory of reasons according to which “what is a reason in one case may be no reason at all in another, or even a reason on the other side.” Dancy 2004 is a must read for anyone interested in this topic. Interest in particularism has grown over the past 20-30 years. There are now various formulations of the central particularist commitment and many interesting criticisms of the particularist research program (many of which are collected in this category). One of the central critical texts is McKeever & Ridge 2006. A very informative collection on the topic is Brad & Olivia 2000, and more recently Lance et al 2008.

Introductions Dancy 2009 Leibowitz 2008
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322 found
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  1. Moral Philosophy. Its General Principles.O. P. A. M. Crofts - 1960
  2. Principle-Based Moral Judgement.Maike Albertzart - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):339-354.
    It is widely acknowledged that moral principles are not sufficient to guide moral thought and action: they need to be supplemented by a capacity for judgement. However, why can we not rely on this capacity for moral judgement alone? Why do moral principles need to be supplemented, but are not supplanted, by judgement? So-called moral particularists argue that we can, and should, make moral decisions on a case-by-case basis without any principles. According to particularists, the person of moral judgement is (...)
  3. Missing the Target: Jonathan Dancy’s Conception of a Principled Ethics.Maike Albertzart - 2011 - Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (1):49-58.
  4. Atomism About Value.David Alm - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):312 – 331.
    Atomism is defined as the view that the moral value of any object is ultimately determined by simple features whose contribution to the value of an object is always the same, independently of context. A morally fundamental feature, in a given context, is defined as one whose contribution in that context is determined by no other value fact. Three theses are defended, which together entail atomism: (1) All objects have their moral value ultimately in virtue of morally fundamental features; (2) (...)
  5. Context: The Case for a Principled Epistemic Particularism.Daniel Andler - unknown
    The context-sensitivity of many cognitive processes is usually seen as an objective property which we should try to account for and to simulate in computational models. This rests on a mistaken view of inquiry as guided by principles alone. In ethics, exclusive reliance on principles is all but abandoned: the ability to deal with particular cases depends on something more. The same goes for the belief fixation processes involved in communication and other cognitive tasks. The paper defends a mixed model (...)
  6. Book Review: Ulrik Kihlbom, Ethical Particularism. An Essay on Moral Reasons. [REVIEW]Norbert P. Anwander - 2003 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (4):451-453.
  7. Moral Reasons By Jonathan Dancy. Oxford Blackwell 1993 274 Pp. With Index. £35.00, £14.95 Paper. [REVIEW]Robert L. Arrington - 1994 - Philosophy 69 (267):114-.
  8. DANCY, JOHNATHAN Moral Reasons. [REVIEW]Robert L. Arrington - 1994 - Philosophy 69:114.
  9. Jonathan Dancy, Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology. [REVIEW]Bruce Aune - 1986 - Philosophy in Review 6:371-373.
  10. Jonathan Dancy, Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology Reviewed By.Bruce Aune - 1986 - Philosophy in Review 6 (8):371-373.
  11. Defeaters and Practical Knowledge.Carla Bagnoli - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    This paper situates the problem of defeaters in a larger debate about the source of normative authority. It argues in favour of a constructivist account of defeasibility, which appeals to the justificatory role of normative principles. The argument builds upon the critique of two recent attempts to deal with defeasibility: first, a particularist account, which disposes of moral principles on the ground that reasons are holistic; and second, a proceduralist view, which addresses the problem of defeaters by distinguishing between provisional (...)
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  12. Response to Dancy.Annette C. Baier - 1995 - Philosophical Books 36 (4):243-245.
  13. Moral Particularism: Ethical Not Metaphysical?David Bakhurst - 2013 - In David Bakhurst, Margaret Olivia Little & Brad Hooker (eds.), Thinking About Reasons: Themes From the Philosophy of Jonathan Dancy. Oxford University Press. pp. 192.
  14. Pragmatism and Ethical Particularism.David Bakhurst - 2007 - In C. J. Misak (ed.), New Pragmatists. Oxford University Press. pp. 122.
  15. Particularism and Moral Education.David Bakhurst - 2005 - Philosophical Explorations 8 (3):265 – 279.
    Some opponents of ethical particularism complain that particularists cannot give a plausible account of moral education. After considering and rejecting a number of arguments to this conclusion, I focus on the following objection: Particularism, at least in Jonathan Dancy's version, has nothing to say about moral education because it lacks a substantial account of moral competence. By Dancy's own admission, particularists can tell us little more than that a competent agent 'gets things right case by case'. I respond by reflecting (...)
  16. Ethical Particularism in Context.David Bakhurst - 2000 - In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral Particularism. Oxford University Press. pp. 157--77.
  17. Thinking About Reasons: Themes From the Philosophy of Jonathan Dancy.David Bakhurst, Margaret Olivia Little & Brad Hooker (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Thinking about Reasons collects fourteen new essays on ethics and the philosophy of action, inspired by the work of Jonathan Dancy—one of his generation's most influential moral philosophers.
  18. General but Defeasible Reasons in Aesthetic Evaluation: The Particularist/Generalist Dispute.John W. Bender - 1995 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 53 (4):379-392.
  19. Why Sibley is Not a Generalist After All.Anna Bergqvist - 2010 - British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (1):1-14.
    In his influential paper, ‘General Criteria and Reasons in Aesthetics’, Frank Sibley outlines what is taken to be a generalist view (shared with Beardsley) such that there are general reasons for aesthetic judgement, and his account of the behaviour of such reasons, which differs from Beardsley's. In this paper my aim is to illuminate Sibley's position by employing a distinction that has arisen in meta-ethics in response to recent work by Jonathan Dancy in particular. Contemporary research involves two related yet (...)
  20. Semantic Particularism and Linguistic Competence.Anna Bergqvist - 2009 - Logique Et Analyse 52 (208):343-361.
    In this paper I examine a contemporary debate about the general notion of linguistic rules and the place of context in determining meaning, which has arisen in the wake of a challenge that the conceptual framework of moral particularism has brought to the table. My aim is to show that particularism in the theory of meaning yields an attractive model of linguistic competence that stands as a genuine alternative to other use-oriented but still generalist accounts that allow room for context-sensitivity (...)
  21. Particular Reasons.Selim Berker - 2007 - Ethics 118 (1):109-139.
    Moral particularists argue that because reasons for action are irreducibly context-dependent, the traditional quest in ethics for true and exceptionless moral principles is hopelessly misguided. In making this claim, particularists assume a general framework according to which reasons are the ground floor normative units undergirding all other normative properties and relations. They then argue that there is no cashing out in finite terms either (i) when a given non-normative feature gives rise to a reason for or against action, or (ii) (...)
  22. First Principles of Moral Science, Lectures.Thomas Rawson Birks - 1873
  23. Morality and Propinquity: A General Structure of Moral Particularism.Piotr Boltuc - 1998 - Dissertation, Bowling Green State University
    Special moral reasons, such as partiality toward one's family and friends, have inherent moral value. I accept this claim on the basis of an intuitionistic justification provided by Robert Pargetter. Since different agents may have a different balance of moral reasons, they may face inter-personal moral dilemmas---situations in which two different agents have incompatible moral reasons, all things considered. In extreme situations, solutions of inter-personal moral dilemmas may require resorting to non-moral competitive measures . ;My dissertation is about the structure (...)
  24. Rules and Exceptions.Johan Brännmark - 1999 - Theoria 65 (2-3):127-143.
    Over the last decades the traditional emphasis on moral rules, or principles, has been attacked by particularists like Jonathan Dancy. I argue that particularists are correct in rejecting traditional attempts at moral codification, but that it is still possible to have a rule-oriented approach to morality if we distinguish between different ways in which features can be morally relevant. I suggest that there are first a limited number of features that can serve as basic moral reasons for action, and then (...)
  25. Jonathan Dancy, Berkeley: An Introduction. [REVIEW]John Bricke - 1988 - Philosophy in Review 8 (3):89-92.
  26. Wide-Scope Requirements and the Ethics of Belief.Berit Brogaard - forthcoming - In Jonathan Matheson & Rico Vitz (eds.), The Ethics of Belief.
    William Kingdon Clifford proposed a vigorous ethics of belief, according to which you are morally prohibited from believing something on insufficient evidence. Though Clifford offers numerous considerations in favor of his ethical theory, the conclusion he wants to draw turns out not to follow from any reasonable assumptions. In fact, I will argue, regardless of how you propose to understand the notion of evidence, it is implausible that we could have a moral obligation to refrain from believing something whenever we (...)
  27. Two Kinds of Holism About Values.Campbell Brown - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):456–463.
    I compare two kinds of holism about values: G.E. Moore's 'organic unities', and Jonathan Dancy's 'value holism'. I propose a simple formal model for representing evaluations of parts and wholes. I then define two conditions, additivism and invariabilism, which together imply a third, atomism. Since atomism is absurd, we must reject one of the former two conditions. This is where Moore and Dancy part company: whereas Moore rejects additivism, Dancy rejects invariabilism. I argue that Moore's view is more plausible. Invariabilism (...)
  28. Moral Truths and Moral Principles.Curtis Brown - manuscript
    In recent years, a number of moral philosophers have held both that there are particular moral truths, and also that there are no general moral principles which explain these particular moral truths--either because there simply are no moral principles, or because moral principles are themselves explained by or derived from particular moral truths rather than vice versa. Often this combination of doctrines is held by philosophers interested in reviving an Aristotelean approach..
  29. Proximity and Particularism.Arnold Burms - 1996 - Ethical Perspectives 3 (3):157-160.
    Some moral philosophers view conventional morality as an instrument that has a certain function to fulfill, and that we can in principle correct or adjust on the basis of an understanding of that function. This instrumentalist approach to morality is an extension of a familiar pattern of thought constituted by the combination of two different elements. We tend, on the one hand, to believe that we have a clear understanding of what it is that we allow ourselves to be guided (...)
  30. Moral Principles and Agrement.Faviola Rivera Castro - 2000 - Critica 32 (94):43-88.
  31. True Exceptions : Defeasibility and Particularism.Bruno Celano - 2012 - In Jordi Ferrer Beltrán & Giovanni Battista Ratti (eds.), The Logic of Legal Requirements: Essays on Defeasibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 268--287.
  32. Computational Neural Modeling and the Philosophy of Ethics Reflections on the Particularism-Generalism Debate.Mar Cello Guarim - 2011 - In M. Anderson S. Anderson (ed.), Machine Ethics. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  33. Jonathan Dancy, Practical Reality.T. Chan - 2002 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 10 (1):106-109.
  34. Review of Jonathan Dancy, Ethics Without Principles[REVIEW]Timothy Chappell - 2005 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (7).
  35. A Note on Ethics and Solipsism.Michael Clark - 1964 - Mind 73 (289):127-128.
  36. Irreversible Generalism: A Reply to Dickie.Oliver Conolly & Bashshar Haydar - 2005 - British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (3):289-295.
    Irreversible generalism, the view that reasons given for the evaluation of art are general and do not admit of exceptions, is defended from the criticisms levelled against it by George Dickie in ‘Reading Sibley’. The authors' view that Frank Sibley adhered to a form of reversible generalism, the view that reasons given for the evaluation of art are general but can sometimes become reasons to disvalue artworks, according to which there a criterion for distinguishing valenced from neutral aesthetic properties, is (...)
  37. Aesthetic Principles.Oliver Conolly & Bashshar Haydar - 2003 - British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (2):114-125.
    We give reasons for our judgements of works of art. (2) Reasons are inherently general, and hence dependent on principles. (3) There are no principles of aesthetic evaluation. Each of these three propositions seems plausible, yet one of them must be false. Illusionism denies (1). Particularism denies (2). Generalism denies (3). We argue that illusionism depends on an unacceptable account of the use of critical language. Particularism cannot account for the connection between reasons and verdicts in criticism. Generalism comes in (...)
  38. Particularism and Antitheory.David Copp (ed.) - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
  39. Review of Moral Reasons. [REVIEW]David Copp - 1994 - Philosophical Books 35 (3):197-199.
  40. Ethics Without Reasons?Roger Crisp - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):40-49.
    This paper is a discussion of Jonathan Dancy's book Ethics Without Principles (2004). Holism about reasons is distinguished into a weak version, which allows for invariant reasons, and a strong, which doesn't. Four problems with Dancy's arguments for strong holism are identified. (1) A plausible particularism based on it will be close to generalism. (2) Dancy rests his case on common-sense morality, without justifying it. (3) His examples are of non-ultimate reasons. (4) There are certain universal principles it is hard (...)
  41. Particularizing Particularism.Roger Crisp - 2000 - In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral Particularism. Oxford University Press. pp. 23--47.
  42. Moral Philosophy its General Principles.A. M. Crofts - 1960 - Dominican Publications.
  43. Principles of Moral Philosophy.M. B. Crowe - 1961 - Philosophical Studies 11 (2):320-321.
  44. Particularism and Presumptive Reasons.G. Cullity - unknown
    Weak particularism about reasons is the view that the normative valency of some descriptive considerations varies, while others have an invariant normative valency. A defence of this view needs to respond to arguments that a consideration cannot count in favour of any action unless it counts in favour of every action. But it cannot resort to a global holism about reasons, if it claims that there are some examples of invariant valency. This paper argues for weak particularism, and presents a (...)
  45. I—Garrett Cullity: Particularism and Presumptive Reasons.Garrett Cullity - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):169-190.
  46. Particularism and Moral Theory: Particularism and Presumptive Reasons: Garrett Cullity.Garrett Cullity - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):169–190.
    Weak particularism about reasons is the view that the normative valency of some descriptive considerations varies, while others have an invariant normative valency. A defence of this view needs to respond to arguments that a consideration cannot count in favour of any action unless it counts in favour of every action. But it cannot resort to a global holism about reasons, if it claims that there are some examples of invariant valency. This paper argues for weak particularism, and presents a (...)
  47. Particularism and Moral Theory.Garrett Cullity & Richard Holton - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76:169-209.
    [Garrett Cullity] Weak particularism about reasons is the view that the normative valency of some descriptive considerations varies, while others have an invariant normative valency. A defence of this view needs to respond to arguments that a consideration cannot count in favour of any action unless it counts in favour of every action. But it cannot resort to a global holism about reasons, if it claims that there are some examples of invariant valency. This paper argues for weak particularism, and (...)
  48. Review: Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge, Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006. [REVIEW]Dancy Jonathan - unknown
  49. Review: Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge, Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006. [REVIEW]Dancy Jonathan - unknown
  50. II—Jonathan Dancy: Moral Perception.Jonathan Dancy - 2010 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 84 (1):99-117.
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