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Value JudgementImproving Our Ethical Beliefs$
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James Griffin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198752318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198752318.001.0001

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Some Complex Moral Ideas

Some Complex Moral Ideas

(p.98) VII Some Complex Moral Ideas
Value Judgement

James Griffin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Turns to more complex moral norms than the ‘simple’ ones discussed in Ch. 5: e.g. the prohibition ‘Don’t deliberately kill the innocent’ and the injunction ‘save more people's lives rather than fewer’. Some morality consists ultimately of various independent moral norms; or is there some system behind this variety? The chapter expresses doubts about three major systematic traditions in ethics: utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics. It ends with the proposal of a less systematic alternative, one that takes seriously the limits of human motivation and knowledge, along with the demand that ethics be effective in society, and constrains the content of moral norms and the extent of the system.

Keywords:   deontology, moral norms, utilitarianism, virtue ethics

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