Moral Pluralism - Page 1 of 5 Ch. 8: Moral Pluralism...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Page 1 of 5 Ch. 8: Moral Pluralism Consider the case of the man who has to choose between staying with his lonely mother and joining WWII. o This is a conflict of duty situation. o Suppose that there is no single moral principle expressing some one general feature upon which the deontic status of all actions depends. This is what the 20 th century French existentialist philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, thought. o He was skeptical of there being any such principle that one could apply to this case of the man that would determine the morally right course of action. Nor did he think that there was some other method by which the man’s dilemma could be solved. What then for moral theory? o One reaction is to give up on certain pretensions of moral theory and embrace some form of moral pluralism. 1. Moral Pluralism Moral monism – the view that there is a single basic feature of actions that determines their deontic status. o Ex. Hedonistic utilitarianism – an action is morally right if it increases pleasure and reduces pain. o Criticisms: hedonistic utilitarianism and other forms of moral monism are overly reductive; they try to boil all morally relevant considerations to a single, fundamental feature possessed of moral relevance. Instead, one might hold that there is a plurality of equally basic morally relevant features and this a plurality of moral principles or rules. Therefore, each rule bears on the overall deontic status of something. Basic moral rule – it cannot be derived from a more basic moral principle. One can be a pluralist about the nature of right action, about the nature of intrinsic value, or about both. If we focus on the nature of right action, moral pluralism involves two main claims: o 1. There is a plurality of basic moral rules. o 2. There is no underlying moral principle that serves to justify these moral rules. 2. Moral Pluralism and Conflict of Duty Situations Recognizing a plurality of basic moral rules, moral pluralism must come to grips with conflict of duty situations. Suppose the list of basic moral rules includes: o P1: You ought to keep your promises. o P2: You ought to render aid to those in need. o Let’s say you see someone in a wreck while driving to meet your friend you promised to meet. Well you can’t fulfill both obligations. How do you handle this? One way to handle the situation is to create a strict lexical ranking of the rules according to their relative importance – lexical moral pluralism . Problem: with this strategy it does not seem possible to rank order the moral rules featured in the pluralist’s theory. Since it is relative, in different situations you have different obligation rankings. o
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 05/03/2008 for the course PHIL 107 taught by Professor Kaplan during the Spring '07 term at University of California, Berkeley.

Page1 / 5

Moral Pluralism - Page 1 of 5 Ch. 8: Moral Pluralism...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online