Dewey and Dancy and the Moral Authority of Rules

Dewey and Dancy and the Moral Authority of Rules Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 4, No. 2 (December 2007), 65­75 Editions Rodopi © 2007 Tom Spector Dewey's pragmatist regard for the place of rules in moral deliberation occupies a middle ground between the rejection of rules found in Jonathan Dancy's moral particularism and full scale subsumptivism of actions to rules. Concerning the authority rules should play in one's moral thinking, however, Dewey is closely aligned with the particularists: he rejects their authority over individual cases. This essay takes Dewey's naturalistic approach to the derivation of rules to argue that in some cases it is ultimately beneficial to allow rules to occupy a place of authority in moral thinking. 1. Introduction The affinities between Deweyan Pragmatist Ethics and the doctrine of Moral Particularism recently enlivening moral philosophy and promoted most forcefully by Jonathan Dancy are sufficiently striking that for Pragmatists, it must be mildly insulting that Dewey is neither referenced nor given pride of place as a proto-Particularist in the discussion. Oh well; pragmatists are used to being disrespected. Yet they trudge on cheerfully, confident that someday Dewey will have his break-out moment and that pragmatic insights and conceptual tools will finally obtain the respect they merit in contemporary analytic http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Dewey and Dancy and the Moral Authority of Rules

Contemporary Pragmatism, Volume 4 (2): 65 – Apr 21, 2007

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2007 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
D.O.I.
10.1163/18758185-90000072
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 4, No. 2 (December 2007), 65­75 Editions Rodopi © 2007 Tom Spector Dewey's pragmatist regard for the place of rules in moral deliberation occupies a middle ground between the rejection of rules found in Jonathan Dancy's moral particularism and full scale subsumptivism of actions to rules. Concerning the authority rules should play in one's moral thinking, however, Dewey is closely aligned with the particularists: he rejects their authority over individual cases. This essay takes Dewey's naturalistic approach to the derivation of rules to argue that in some cases it is ultimately beneficial to allow rules to occupy a place of authority in moral thinking. 1. Introduction The affinities between Deweyan Pragmatist Ethics and the doctrine of Moral Particularism recently enlivening moral philosophy and promoted most forcefully by Jonathan Dancy are sufficiently striking that for Pragmatists, it must be mildly insulting that Dewey is neither referenced nor given pride of place as a proto-Particularist in the discussion. Oh well; pragmatists are used to being disrespected. Yet they trudge on cheerfully, confident that someday Dewey will have his break-out moment and that pragmatic insights and conceptual tools will finally obtain the respect they merit in contemporary analytic

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2007

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