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The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory$
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David Copp

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147797

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195147790.001.0001

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Particularism and Antitheory

Particularism and Antitheory

The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Mark Lance (Contributor Webpage)

Margaret Little (Contributor Webpage)

, David Copp
Oxford University Press

This chapter sets out to distinguish the sorts of claims have been advanced under the rubric of “moral particularism,” and to sort through the insights and costs of each. In particular, it distinguishes those who are animated by suspicion of theory itself from those who aim to reconfigure — sometimes radically — the nature of theory. It defends as key the particularist insight that exceptions to substantive moral explanations are ubiquitous. It argues that the lesson of this insight is not to abandon moral generalizations, but to change the picture of what they must look like to do their work.

Keywords:   particularism, generalism, contextualism, moral theory, principlism, defeasibility

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