Download Dimensions of Moral Theory: An Introduction to Metaethics by Jonathan Jacobs PDF

By Jonathan Jacobs

Dimensions of ethical thought examines the main presuppositions and philosophical commitments that help and form ethical theories.

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This is relativism. It is open to the relativist to argue that relative to a set of norms and beliefs we can say that judgments are true or false, but relativism denies that there is an objective or neutral standpoint from which values can be ascertained or constructed. There are no objectively true or false moral claims. There are different norms and conventions, and there is no special reason to think that any of them has a universal basis. Most forms of relativism maintain that differences in culture or context explain much of the diversity.

The position does not require a commitment to fixed, exceptionless principles or requirements. Objectivity primarily concerns the status of values and moral claims, rather than whether they ever have exceptions. There may be objective moral reasons in favor of the general requirement to be honest but this is compatible with there being objective moral considerations that permit deception in certain kinds of cases. The objectivist can respond to differences in conditions and context but remain an objectivist by remaining true to values that have objective standing.

However, the agent encounters a situation in which another person needs aid, but helping will make it impossible to fulfill the promise. A strategy for dealing with conflicts is needed, but the alleged conflicts arise (the Kantian would argue) because sometimes multiple obligations make claims on us, not because there are irreducibly different moral values. The issue of how to resolve conflicts of obligation is genuine and difficult, but the issue of different values making claims on us is another (related) matter with its own complexities.

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