Chapter

 Pluralism and Ambivalence <sup>*</sup>

David B. Wong

in Natural Moralities

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305395
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786657 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195305396.003.0001
  Pluralism and Ambivalence  *

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The case for pluralistic relativism begins with discussing a discomforting kind of moral disagreement that gives rise to moral ambivalence: this is not simply disagreement in which both sides run out of reasons that are persuasive to the other, but is also a disagreement in which coming to understand the other side brings along an appreciation of its reasons. The root of moral ambivalence is the existence of plural and irreducible moral values (e.g., special duties to particular people and groups, rights, utility, perfectionist ends or values, commitment to one’s own projects and undertakings, and attunement to the world) and our coming to understand how others could have made choices different from the ones we make in the face of conflicts among these values. Moral ambivalence poses difficulties for universalism. A case in point is ambivalence in the face of conflict between personal values (special duties, commitment to one’s own projects) and impersonal values (rights possessed by everyone, utility).

Keywords: attunement; disagreement; impersonal values; moral ambivalence; personal values; plural values; rights; special duties; universalism; utility

Chapter.  12780 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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