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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 1$
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Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693269

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693269.001.0001

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Two levels of moral thinking 1

Two levels of moral thinking 1

(p.75) 4 Two levels of moral thinking1
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 1

Daniel Star

Oxford University Press

This paper introduces a two level account of moral thinking that, unlike the alternatives, is able to do justice to three very plausible propositions that seem to form an inconsistent triad: (1) people can be morally virtuous without the aid of philosophy; (2) morally virtuous people non-accidentally act for good reasons, and work out what it is that they ought to do on the basis of considering such reasons; and (3) philosophers engaged in the project of normative ethics are not wasting their time when they search after highly general moral principles which could not be discovered through non-philosophical thinking, and which specify the good reasons that virtuous people act on, as well as provide a criterion or criteria for determining what it is that people ought to do. In order to reconcile all three of these claims it is arguably necessary to adopt a particular way of thinking about virtue, as well as a particular two-level account of reasons (reasons as evidence).

Keywords:   moral thinking, reasons, evidence, virtue, normative ethics

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