The Establishment of Ethical First Principles

Henry Sidgwick

in Essays on Ethics and Method

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250234
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598432 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 The Establishment of Ethical First Principles

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Sidgwick discusses the dilemma confronting the ethical theorist whose first principles, as first principles, do not require a proof, and yet are rarely accepted without a defence. The solution lies in Aristotle's distinction between logical (or natural) priority and priority in the mind of one person. While a proposition may be self‐evident, that is to say, cognizable without reference to other propositions, some rational process may be required to connect it to propositions already accepted in the mind of one individual.

Keywords: Aristotle; first principles; logical priority; mind; rational process; Sidgwick

Chapter.  3009 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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