Abstraction and Justification in Moral Theory

Hypatia 25 (4):825-833 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Ethicists of care have objected to traditional moral philosophy's reliance upon abstract universal principles. They claim that the use of abstraction renders traditional theories incapable of capturing morally relevant, particular features of situations. I argue that this objection sometimes conflates two different levels of moral thinking: the level of justification and the level of deliberation. Specifically, I claim that abstraction or attention to context at the level of justification does not entail, as some critics seem to think, a commitment to abstraction or attention to context at the level of deliberation. It follows that critics who reject a theory's use of abstraction at the level of justification have not shown that the theory recommends abstraction at the level of deliberation and that it, therefore, compels the deliberating agent to overlook morally salient details

Similar books and articles

The method of levels of abstraction.Luciano Floridi - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (3):303–329.
A general theory of abstraction operators.Neil Tennant - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (214):105-133.
The limits of abstraction.Kit Fine - 2002 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Matthias Schirn.
Care and Abstract Principles.Ornaith O'Dowd - 2012 - Hypatia 27 (2):407-422.
Un-making artificial moral agents.Deborah G. Johnson & Keith W. Miller - 2008 - Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):123-133.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-24

Downloads
444 (#40,737)

6 months
112 (#29,321)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Cynthia A. Stark
University of Utah

Citations of this work

Bioethics Education and Nonideal Theory.Nabina Liebow & Kelso Cratsley - 2021 - In Elizabeth Victor & Laura K. Guidry-Grimes (eds.), Applying Nonideal Theory to Bioethics: Living and Dying in a Nonideal World. New York: Springer. pp. 119-142.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Moral thinking: its levels, method, and point.R. M. Hare (ed.) - 1981 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.

View all 42 references / Add more references