Chapter

Beyond Default Principles: Trimming the Hedges

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/10.1093/0199290652.003.0007
 Beyond Default Principles: Trimming the Hedges

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This chapter argues against the hedged principles laid out in Chapter 6. It contends that the best explanation of the possibility of practical wisdom entails that morality can be codified. It gives three main arguments. The first argument contends that generalism as a regulative ideal better preserves a broad scope for practical wisdom than its particularist rivals. In pressing this argument, it is shown how generalism is better situated to accommodate an important role for certain kinds of fiction and narrative in moral thinking. The second argument contends that generalism as a regulative ideal is better situated to distinguish the a priori from the a posteriori elements of moral knowledge than its particularist rivals. The third argument simply appeals to pre-theoretical intuitions about the codifiability of morality.

Keywords: practical wisdom; practical reason; fiction; narrative; knowledge; a priori; a posteriori; intuitive; intuition; hedged principle

Chapter.  19158 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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