The Real Direction of Dancy’s Moral Particularism

Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (4):587-612 (2011)
Abstract
Jonathan Dancy, who defends a version of moral particularism, is committed to the view that any feature or reason for action might, in logical terms, have a positive moral valence in one context, a negative moral valence in a different context, and no moral valence at all in yet another context. In my paper, I attempt to demonstrate that, despite the denial by Dancy that proposed grounding properties with invariant moral valences may play a foundational role in morality, his own approach toward moral reasoning unknowingly assumes such foundational grounding properties. I argue that Dancy's moral particularism is unknowingly directed toward moral absolutism, and, in making that argument, uncover reasons, admittedly inconclusive, to favor an absolutist ethic
Keywords moral particularism   fundamental and secondary practical principles   theories of prima facie duties   Dancy   moral absolutism   natural law ethics   competence with a concept
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DOI 10.1163/174552411X601076
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