Metaphysics

Challenging Moral Particularism by Matjaz Potrc, Vojko Strahovnik, Mark Noriss Lance

By Matjaz Potrc, Vojko Strahovnik, Mark Noriss Lance

Particularism is a justly renowned ‘cutting-edge’ subject in modern ethics the world over. Many ethical philosophers don't, in reality, help particularism (instead protecting ''generalist'' theories that relaxation on specific summary ethical principles), yet approximately all may take it to be a place that maintains to supply severe classes and demanding situations that can't be properly neglected. Given the excessive ordinary of the contributions, and that this can be a topic the place full of life debate maintains to flourish, Challenging ethical Particularism turns into required interpreting for pros and complicated scholars operating within the area.

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Example text

The first point concerns the content of promises. It is essential to keep in mind that what we promise to do is what we specify in saying ‘I promise to . g. where we say ‘yes’ to ‘Do you promise to . ’). Most commonly this is an action, though we may only indicate a range of actions, as where we promise our support for a project. We do sometimes cite conditions that must obtain before the obligation ‘takes effect’, for instance in promising ‘to pay a bill if he doesn’t’. But here we make a conditional promise; this is not putting conditions on fulfilling a promise.

If I’m right, then moral practice needs principles in order to avoid these terrible consequences. Act-consequentialism is often accused of being a poor decision procedure because of lack of information about likely consequences, lack of time to gather the information, and people’s typical lack of impartiality such that they overestimate the expected benefits to themselves and underestimate the expected costs to others. But at least act-consequentialism as a decision procedure would tell people to try to be impartial as between their welfare and the welfare of others.

Now, how much would you be able to predict the particularists’ decisions? You know that they will do what they conclude morality requires. Do you know anything more about their decisions? Precious little! They don’t, for example, believe that there are general reasons of fidelity, reparation, gratitude, beneficence, non-maleficence, or even perhaps justice, even overridable ones. If literally all you know about someone’s morality is that she will do what she believes morality requires of her, how confident can you be about predicting what other properties her acts will have?

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