Moral Principles Are Not Moral Laws

Authors
Luke Robinson
Southern Methodist University
Abstract
What are moral principles? The assumption underlying much of the generalism–particularism debate in ethics is that they are (or would be) moral laws: generalizations or some special class thereof, such as explanatory or counterfactual-supporting generalizations. I argue that this law conception of moral principles is mistaken. For moral principles do at least three things that moral laws cannot do, at least not in their own right: explain certain phenomena, provide particular kinds of support for counterfactuals, and ground moral necessities, “necessary connections” between obligating reasons and obligations. Moreover, neither a best-systems theory of moral principles nor any of the competing theories of moral principles proposed by Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge, Pekka Väyrynen, and Mark Lance and Margaret Little could vindicate the law conception of moral principles. I conclude with some brief remarks about what moral principles might be if they are not moral laws.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 33,167
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

Moral Principles As Moral Dispositions.Luke Robinson - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):289-309.
Another Particularism: Reasons, Status and Defaults. [REVIEW]Alan Thomas - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (2):151-167.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Principles As Moral Dispositions.Luke Robinson - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):289-309.
Usable Moral Principles.Pekka Väyrynen - 2008 - In Vojko Strahovnik, Matjaz Potrc & Mark Norris Lance (eds.), Challenging Moral Particularism. Routledge.
A Theory of Hedged Moral Principles.Pekka Väyrynen - 2009 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 4. Oxford University Press. pp. 91-132.
Moral Particularism.Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.) - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Moral Particularism.Pekka Väyrynen - 2011 - In Christian B. Miller (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum. pp. 478-483.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-07-02

Total downloads
395 ( #8,446 of 2,242,251 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #57,141 of 2,242,251 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature