Humean Moral Pluralism

Humean Moral Pluralism

by Michael B. Gill


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Michael B. Gill offers an original account of Humean moral pluralism. Moral pluralism is the view that there are different ultimate moral reasons for action, that those different reasons can sometimes come into conflict with each other, and that there exist no invariable ordering principles that tell us how to resolve such conflicts. If moral pluralism is true, we will at times have to act on moral decisions for which we can give no fully principled justification. Humeanism is the view that our moral judgments are based on our sentiments, that reason alone could not have given rise to our moral judgments, and that there are no mind-independent moral properties for our moral judgments to track. In this book, Gill shows that the combination of these two views produces a more accurate account of our moral experiences than the monistic, rationalist, and non-naturalist alternatives. He elucidates the historical origins of the Humean pluralist position in the works of David Hume, Adam Smith, and their eighteenth century contemporaries, and explains how recent work in moral psychology has advanced this position. And he argues for the position's superiority to the non-naturalist pluralism of W. D. Ross and the monism of Kantianism and consequentialism. The pluralist account of the content of morality has been traditionally perceived as belonging with non-naturalist intuitionism. The Humean sentimentalist account of morality has been traditionally perceived as not belonging with any view of morality's content at all. Humean Moral Pluralism explodes both those perceptions. It shows that pluralism and Humeanism belong together, and that they make a philosophically powerful couple.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198714033
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 08/12/2014
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Michael B. Gill, University of Arizona

Michael B. Gill is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona. He has published articles on the history of ethics, contemporary meta-ethics, and medical ethics, and he is the author of The British Moralists on Human Nature and the Birth of Secular Ethics (CUP, 2006).

Table of Contents

1. Multiple ultimate ends or only one? The British moralist debate
2. Hume's moral pluralism
3. Humean non-consequentialist ends
4. Prioritarianism and pluralism in Adam Smith
5. Contemporary Humean moral pluralisms
6. Rossian non-naturalist pluralism
7. Formal monism
8. Humean pluralism and moral justification
9. Moral justification, three prioritarian views, and principled trade-offs
10. Agonizing decisions and Humean pluralism
Works cited

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