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Articulating the Moral CommunityToward a Constructive Ethical Pragmatism$
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Henry Richardson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190247744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190247744.001.0001

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The Unity of the Moral Community

The Unity of the Moral Community

(p.118) 4 The Unity of the Moral Community
Articulating the Moral Community

Henry Richardson

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses Thompson’s challenge as to what could unite all persons into one moral community, as described in chapter 2, on the basis of the Specificatory Theory of dyadic rights and duties defended in chapter 3. It first treats the possibility of the mutual isolation of two communities of intelligent beings. Setting out an extended example of this type shows how the Specificatory Theory allows individuals morally to knit their different social communities together from the bottom up in a socially contingent way, thus avoiding being limited by conventional provenance or foundationalist assumptions. The second branch of the argument treats the possibility of extending the moral community to include members that are not intelligent beings. It is argued that the Specificatory Theory supports an open-ended understanding of the moral community, on which such individuals can be included on the basis of revisions of the content of the community’s norms.

Keywords:   moral community, persons, conventions, Michael Thompson, Aristotle, David Hume, Immanuel Kant

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