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Principled EthicsGeneralism as a Regulative Ideal$
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Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199290659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199290652.001.0001

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Constitutive Generalism

Constitutive Generalism

(p.94) 5 Constitutive Generalism
Principled Ethics

Sean McKeever (Contributor Webpage)

Michael Ridge (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

According to one dimension of the generalist tradition, moral principles are built into the very meaning of moral predicates. They are analytic truths, and thus anyone who is in fact competent with a given moral concept is (perhaps implicitly) committed to the associated principle that spells out the object to which the concept applies. On this view, certain moral principles are constitutive of moral thought and judgment; this view is called ‘constitutive generalism’. This chapter defends a form of generalism and it argues against constitutive generalism by deploying a version of G. E. Moore’s Open Question Argument.

Keywords:   Open Question Argument, G.E. Moore, analytic principles, generalism, naturalism, non-naturalism, platitudes, moral functionalism

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