Generalization in Ethics: An Essay in the Logic of Ethics, with the Rudiments of a System of Moral Philosophy

Generalization in Ethics: An Essay in the Logic of Ethics, with the Rudiments of a System of Moral Philosophy

Generalization in Ethics: An Essay in the Logic of Ethics, with the Rudiments of a System of Moral Philosophy

Generalization in Ethics: An Essay in the Logic of Ethics, with the Rudiments of a System of Moral Philosophy

Excerpt

The problems with which this book is mainly concerned may appear to be technical, narrow, and limited. Technical they may be, but narrow and limited they are not, for they have ramifications extending over the whole area of moral philosophy, and consequently over the whole of life. The book begins with the problem whether a certain line of argument, of frequent occurrence in moral contexts, is valid--that is, can ever be used to establish a moral judgment--and if so, under what conditions. It ends with an attempt to determine the basis of morality, and to solve the problem of the justification of moral principles. Thus it deals with the basic problems of moral philosophy. It aims to establish a rational basis for distinguishing between right and wrong, and thus to lay the groundwork for a rational and normative system of ethics. These are high aims, and it is not for me to say whether I have accomplished them. But this at least is what I have attempted.

The consideration central to the book is the argument that underlies the very common question: "What would happen if everyone did that?": "If everyone did that, the consequences would be terrible; therefore you ought not to do that." This sort of argument is sometimes called the argument from universalization. Here it is called the generalization argument; hence we have the topic of generalization in ethics. And on the problems connected with generalization in ethics the book aims at comprehensiveness and completeness of treatment: on this matter it is intended to be a treatise.

Since the pivotal problem of the book is one concerning the validity of a certain type of argument, the book is also an essay . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.