Two levels of moral thinking<sup>1</sup>

Daniel Star

in Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 1

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693269
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732058 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies In Normative Ethics

Two levels of moral thinking1

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This paper introduces a two level account of moral thinking that, unlike the alternatives, is able to do justice to three very plausible propositions that seem to form an inconsistent triad: (1) people can be morally virtuous without the aid of philosophy; (2) morally virtuous people non-accidentally act for good reasons, and work out what it is that they ought to do on the basis of considering such reasons; and (3) philosophers engaged in the project of normative ethics are not wasting their time when they search after highly general moral principles which could not be discovered through non-philosophical thinking, and which specify the good reasons that virtuous people act on, as well as provide a criterion or criteria for determining what it is that people ought to do. In order to reconcile all three of these claims it is arguably necessary to adopt a particular way of thinking about virtue, as well as a particular two-level account of reasons (reasons as evidence).

Keywords: moral thinking; reasons; evidence; virtue; normative ethics

Chapter.  9981 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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