Allegiance and Change in Morality: A Study in Contrasts: D. Z. Phillips

It has been said that the tendency to make use of examples drawn from literature in discussing problems in moral philosophy is not only dangerous, but needless. Dangers there certainly are, but these have little to do with the reasons offered for the needlessness of such examples. Examples drawn from literature, it is said, introduce an unnecessary complexity into one's philosophising. Indeed, as Peter Winch has pointed out, according to ‘a fairly well-established … tradition in recent Anglo-Saxon moral philosophy … it is not merely permissible, but desirable, to take trivial examples. The rationale of this view is that such examples do not generate the emotion which is liable to surround more serious cases and thus enable us to look more coolly at the logical issues involved’, and it carries the implication that ‘moral concerns can be examined quite apart from any consideration of what it is about these concerns which makes them important to us’
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DOI 10.1017/S1358246100000801
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