Edited by Francesco Orsi (University of Tartu)
|Summary||In ethics, a pluralist view is one that assumes that more than one principle or value provides the foundation for a certain ethical domain: in morality; in value theory (including but not restricted to moral theory); in politics; in aesthetics, and so on. Pluralism as such contrasts with monism, the view that there is only one basic principle or value in such domains. Monist views in moral theory include utilitarianism, divine command theory, and Kant's moral theory at least on some readings. Hedonism is a monist view in value theory: only pleasure is valuable for its own sake. Pluralist views include, for example, Ross's deontology and 18th c. ethical rationalism (Clarke, Price) whereby there are several basic, irreducible, duties; so-called 'ideal utilitarianism', whereby there are many goods besides pleasure that require to be promoted; so-called 'objective list' theories of well-being, whereby different elements (pleasure, knowledge, achievement, personal relationships etc.) compose a person's well-being; and some versions of virtue ethics - on which there is no single master virtue but different and possibly diverging ones (say, benevolence and justice). In the political area, Rawls's two principles of justice provide another example of pluralism, in this minimal sense outlined. Key questions under consideration include the arguments for and against pluralism (within one or more of these areas), how a pluralist view ought to deal with conflicts between heterogeneous principles or values, and whether some sort of unification of different values can be achieved without slipping into monism.|
|Key works||Ross 1930 is a milestone for the elaboration of pluralist views both in morality and value theory. Bernard Williams provides arguments against monism based on the notion of rational regret, in his 'Ethical Consistency' (in Williams 1973). An important book-length defense of pluralism and its practical viability is Stocker 1989. Another defense is given by Nagel in 'The Fragmentation of Value' (in Nagel 1979). Hurka 1996 replies to some of the arguments for pluralism. Swanton 2003 provides a model for a pluralist virtue ethics based on the idea of different appropriate responses to value irreducible to one single kind of attitude. Similar points are raised, mainly against monism of a consequentialist sort, in Anderson 1993. In the political area, but still relevant to the overall debate on ethical pluralism, the classic is Berlin 2002. Hurka 2010 is an accessible statement of a working value theory that is at least pluralistic in spirit.|
|Introductions||Mason 2008, Heathwood 2015, Schroeder 2008,|
Using PhilPapers from home?
Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.
Monitor this page
Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Choose how you want to monitor it:
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Darrell P. Rowbottom
Learn more about PhilPapers