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Moral Thinking – Its Levels, Method, and Point - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method, and Point

R. M. Hare


By distinguishing between two different levels of moral thinking, we see how utilitarian reasoning at the critical level—enlisting the impartial sympathy for others’ predicaments, which we must have if we fully understand them and universalize our preferences as morality requires—generates moral principles for use at the intuitive level, which square with common intuitions, e.g. about justice and rights. The reasoning itself depends on the logic of concepts, which all who ask moral questions are already using.

Keywords: ethics, Richard Hare, metaethics, moral judgement, moral philosophy, moral reasoning, morality, prescriptivism, universalizability, utilitarianism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1981 Print ISBN-13: 9780198246602
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/0198246609.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

R. M. Hare, author
University of Oxford