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

By Marcus George Singer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER · VI
THE APPLICATION OF THE GENERALIZATION ARGUMENT

In claiming that the generalization argument is valid, I have not of course claimed that its application is an automatic or self-certifying process. There are certainly many cases in which it is not. A particular application of the argument may be invalid, and even where it is valid it is not necessarily conclusive. Thus in this chapter I propose to consider some questions and difficulties that relate primarily to the application of the generalization argument, and not to its general validity. This will lead to a better understanding of the situations in which it does not apply, and of the conditions under which it does. These problems, however, merely illustrate difficulties that may arise in its application; they do not show it to be invalid. That this is so may not be obvious in all cases. Indeed, it is not in the very first instance that I shall consider. But this does not affect the situation.


§ 1 §

The first problem to be dealt with is one that often has been supposed to constitute an insuperable objection to the generalization argument, and I shall take it up first both for this

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