Ethical Perspectives 17 (1):5-39 (2010)
An essential part of particularism as a systematic option in philosophical ethics is the structure of perception. In this paper, we defend perception as a central feature against the meta-ethical and meta-epistemological prejudices of rationalism.The insurmountable border between perception and justification, which is central to rationalist ethics, rests on three premises that are rejected by particularism: ethical knowledge is not exclusively inferential or discursive, ethical reflection is not solely deductive reasoning, and the bases of justified actions do not have to be universal laws.Against rationalist ethics, we defend perception as a central and primary source of ethical knowledge, as a way of non-discursive reflection and as a genuine form of ethical justification. Ethical experience is not only reason but the complex responsiveness of persons that develops biographically as a result of situations in social and culturally contingent contexts
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