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Particularism Doesn’t Flatten

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Sean McKeever and Michael Ridge object that moral particularism ‘flattens the moral landscape’, that is, that particularism treats reasons of different kinds as if they were reasons of the same kind. This objection is misguided in two respects. First, particularists need not say that every feature can be a moral reason. Second, even if particularists were committed to saying that every feature can be a moral reason, they would still not be committed to the view that every feature can have direct moral relevance. The failure of this objection shows that the objection exploits side-constraints that need not be placed on moral particularism.

Affiliations: 1: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Kansas State University,;


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1. Crisp Roger, ‘"Ethics Without Reasons?’" Journal of Moral Philosophy , Vol 4.1 (2007), pp. 4049.
2. Dancy Jonathan, ‘"Defending the Right"’, Journal of Moral Philosophy , Vol 4.1 (2007), pp. 8598.
3. ——, Ethics Without Principles (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).
4. ——, ‘Moral Particularism’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), <>.
5. ——, Moral Reasons (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993).
6. Lance Mark, and Little Margaret, ‘"Defeasibility and the Normative Grasp of Context"’, Erkenntnis Vol 61 (2004), pp. 43555.
7. Little Margaret,, ‘"Moral Generalities Revisited"’, in Hooker B., and Little M. (eds.), Moral Particularism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 276304.
8. McKeever Sean, and Ridge Michael, Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006).
9. ——, ‘"Turning on Default Reasons"’, Journal of Moral Philosophy , Vol 4.1 (2007), pp. 5576.
10. Thomas Alan, ‘"Practical Reasoning and Normative Relevance: A Reply to McKeever and Ridge"’, Journal of Moral Philosophy , Vol 4.1 (2007), pp. 7784.

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