Particularism and Generalism Revisited: Towards a Principled Particularism of Contingency

Title: Particularism and Generalism Revisited: Towards a Principled Particularism of Contingency
Authors: Thériault, Georges
Date: 2020-09-16
Abstract: This thesis will revisit the debate between moral particularists and moral generalists in the field of meta-ethics. The general aim of this project will be to come to a better understanding of the status and role of moral principles in a reasons-holistic moral landscape. The specific aim will be to develop a viable position within the particularism-generalism debate that will combine elements from both theories. My central argument will be threefold: (a) I will argue that, in a reasons-holistic moral landscape, exceptionless moral principles are not sufficient to ground the possibility of moral thought and judgement; (b) that the possibility of moral thought and judgement depends in part on a determinate set of exceptionless moral principles and an indeterminate set of defeasible moral principles; and (c) that moral principles are insufficient to codify all or most moral truths in finite and manageable terms. My position therefore is a modified version of Principled Particularism. In this thesis, despite defending a version of particularism, I will not shy away from employing generalist terminology or from accepting certain generalist assumptions. Furthermore, unlike some particularists, I will stress the necessity and utility of moral principles. This thesis will also incorporate research about moral thought and judgement from the fields of moral psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -