Moral Vision

Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge

in Principled Ethics

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199290659
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603617 | DOI:
 Moral Vision

Show Summary Details


Particularism is commonly associated with a moral epistemology that takes perception as a model. This chapter argues that in so far as moral judgments are made by ‘just looking’, this does nothing to support particularism. A close examination of the role of rules and principles in chess helps make this point. Although metaphors of vision are commonplace in discussions of chess (the master ‘just sees’ that the position is weak), this rightly does nothing to undermine the confidence that rules and principles play an important role both in constituing the game of chess itself and in helping people find good moves. In the former case, there are rules which are constitutive of the game (bishops move diagonally). In the latter case, there are strategic maxims (a knight on the rim is dim). Here, the distinctions between different conceptions of principles drawn in Chapter 1 do some work. In particular, heavy use is made of the distinction between the theoretical and action-guiding roles of moral principles.

Keywords: moral vision; perception; David McNaughton; chess; discernment; Gilbert Harman

Chapter.  8536 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.