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In Defense of Natural Law$
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Robert George

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198267713

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198267713.001.0001

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Does the ‘Incommensurability Thesis’ Imperil Common Sense Moral Judgments?

Does the ‘Incommensurability Thesis’ Imperil Common Sense Moral Judgments?

(p.92) 4 Does the ‘Incommensurability Thesis’ Imperil Common Sense Moral Judgments?
In Defense of Natural Law


Oxford University Press

This chapter tries to show that the ‘Incommensurability Thesis’does not imperil common sense moral judgments—such as that one ought, ordinarily, to interrupt recreational activities to save a drowning child. The integral directiveness of basic practical principles makes it possible for us to identify methodological principles of practical reasonableness (what Grisez calls ‘modes of responsibility’) whose concrete application often enables us to identify morally right and wrong answers even in circumstances requiring us to choose between or among rationally-grounded possibilities. The chapter then tries to show that application of the Golden Rule of fairness to a hypothetical case which Professor Wright proposes as a challenge enables us to see that the incommensurability thesis is fully compatible with what common sense tells us ought to be done.

Keywords:   incommensurability thesis, common sense, moral judgments, practical reasonableness, Wright

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