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Particularism, Perception and Judgement

Smith, Benedict

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According to the most detailed articulation and defence of moral particularism, it is a metaphysical doctrine about the nature of reasons. This paper addresses aspects of particularist epistemology. In rejecting the existence and efficacy of principles in moral thinking and reasoning particularists typically appeal to a theory of moral knowledge which operates with a 'perceptual' metaphor. This is problematic. Holism about valence can give rise to a moral epistemology that is a metaethical variety of atomistic empiricism. To avoid what could be called the Myth of the Moral Given, particularism has made use of a judgement-centred account of moral epistemology. This paper critically examines that account with reference to a proposed analogy between our moral knowledge and our knowledge of similarities.


Smith, B. (2006). Particularism, Perception and Judgement. Acta Analytica, 21(2), 12-29.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2006
Deposit Date Mar 27, 2008
Publicly Available Date Jul 12, 2016
Journal Acta Analytica
Print ISSN 0353-5150
Electronic ISSN 1874-6349
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 2
Pages 12-29
Keywords Particularism, Epistemology, Perception, Presentism, Judgement, Similarities.


Accepted Journal Article (91 Kb)

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