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Natural MoralitiesA Defense of Pluralistic Relativism$
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David B. Wong

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305395

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195305396.001.0001

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 Pluralism and Ambivalence *

 Pluralism and Ambivalence *

(p.5) 1 Pluralism and Ambivalence*
Natural Moralities

David B. Wong (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The case for pluralistic relativism begins with discussing a discomforting kind of moral disagreement that gives rise to moral ambivalence: this is not simply disagreement in which both sides run out of reasons that are persuasive to the other, but is also a disagreement in which coming to understand the other side brings along an appreciation of its reasons. The root of moral ambivalence is the existence of plural and irreducible moral values (e.g., special duties to particular people and groups, rights, utility, perfectionist ends or values, commitment to one’s own projects and undertakings, and attunement to the world) and our coming to understand how others could have made choices different from the ones we make in the face of conflicts among these values. Moral ambivalence poses difficulties for universalism. A case in point is ambivalence in the face of conflict between personal values (special duties, commitment to one’s own projects) and impersonal values (rights possessed by everyone, utility).

Keywords:   attunement, disagreement, impersonal values, moral ambivalence, personal values, plural values, rights, special duties, universalism, utility

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