The Identification of Ethical Principles

Journal of Religious Ethics 5 (1):39 - 66 (1977)
This paper analyzes some issues that emerge in attempts to distinguish and relate "moral" and "nonmora1' action-guides. It examines one material criterion (otherregardingness) and three formal criteria (universalizability, prescriptivity, and overridingness) and considers whether they constitute necessary and/or sufficient conditions of "morality." It treats these criteria in relation to ideals and prudential, political, and religious considerations. Furthermore, it contends that the classification of action-guides as moral or nonmoral should not prejudge their respective weights or replace substantive moral debate. The formal and material criteria may determine what counts as morality, not how much morality counts.
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