Chapter

Limitations on Theory II: Immanent Standpoints

Catherine Wilson

in Moral Animals

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780199267675
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601859 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199267677.003.0004
Limitations on Theory II: Immanent Standpoints

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Discusses the sense in which morality is pre‐theoretically immanent in every culture's institutions and practices, as virtue‐theorists like Hume maintain, and distinguishes between benign and pernicious forms of relativism. Discussing ideas advanced by Michael Walzer, the chapter aims to discriminate between community practices that we have no right to judge or cannot judge and practices that can be judged affronts to morality or else permissible variants of preferred institutions and practices. It is argued that relations of social dominance and privilege pervade many aspects of human culture and that they are often obscured by unreasonable respect for the values of stability and continuity, aesthetic interest, or deference to otherness.

Keywords: community; Hume; immanence; privilege; relativism; virtue; Walzer

Chapter.  11949 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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