Chapter

Constitutive Generalism

Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge

in Principled Ethics

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199290659
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603617 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199290652.003.0005
 Constitutive Generalism

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According to one dimension of the generalist tradition, moral principles are built into the very meaning of moral predicates. They are analytic truths, and thus anyone who is in fact competent with a given moral concept is (perhaps implicitly) committed to the associated principle that spells out the object to which the concept applies. On this view, certain moral principles are constitutive of moral thought and judgment; this view is called ‘constitutive generalism’. This chapter defends a form of generalism and it argues against constitutive generalism by deploying a version of G. E. Moore’s Open Question Argument.

Keywords: Open Question Argument; G.E. Moore; analytic principles; generalism; naturalism; non-naturalism; platitudes; moral functionalism

Chapter.  7285 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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