Concern, respect, and cooperation




Cullity, Garrett

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Oxford Scholarship Online


Three things often recognized as central to morality are concern for others’ welfare, respect for their self-expression, and cooperation in worthwhile collective activity. When philosophers have proposed theories of the substance of morality, they have typically looked to one of these three sources to provide a single, fundamental principle of morality—or they have tried to formulate a master-principle for morality that combines these three ideas in some way. This book views them instead as three independently important foundations of morality. It sets out a plural-foundation moral theory with affinities to that of W. D. Ross. There are major differences: the account of the foundations of morality differs from Ross’s, and there is a more elaborate explanation of how the rest of morality derives from them. However, the overall aim is similar. This is to illuminate the structure of morality by showing how its complex content is generated from a relatively simple set of underlying elements—the complexity results from the various ways in which one part of morality can derive from another, and the various ways in which the derived parts of morality can interact. Plural-foundation moral theories are sometimes criticized for having nothing helpful to say about cases in which their fundamental norms conflict. Responding to this, the book concludes with three detailed applications of the theory: to the questions surrounding paternalism, the use of others as means, and our moral responsibilities as consumers.



concern, respect, cooperation, foundation of morality, W. D. Ross, pluralism, moral theory, paternalism, using as a means, consumer





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