Can Morality Be Codified

Peter Tsu
National Chung Cheng University
In this paper, I will examine the debate between the principlists and the particularists with special focus on the question of whether there is any true and coherent set of moral principles that codifies the moral landscape metaphysically speaking. My stance on this issue is an extreme sort of particularism which gives a ‘no’ answer to the above question. Yet it is significantly different from the positions of other extremists like John McDowell, Jonathan Dancy and Margaret Little. In section 2, I will explain how my position is distinguished from theirs and why it is worth exploring. In section 3, I elucidate the meaning of ‘codify’. In section 4, I examine four types of principlism that claim to codify morality and argue that none of them succeeds. In section 5, I distinguish between four models of virtue and explore what implications the failure of principlism has for normative ethics and applied ethics.
Keywords codifiability  morality  particularism
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Moral Particularism.Peter Shiu-Hwa Tsu - 2013 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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