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The demandingness of morality

Horton, Keith John; (1997) The demandingness of morality. Masters thesis (M.Phil), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In chapter one I introduce the problem of the demandingness of morality; the problem, that is, that we seem to have good grounds for adopting a form of morality that is considerably more demanding than our ordinary, common sense morality. I argue that such grounds need not depend on any particular, contested moral theory, but can be drawn from our ordinary, pre-philosophical moral consciousness, and hence that the problem is one that ought to concern us all. Given that, I claim that the best way to make progress with the problem is by developing a framework for discussion that as many of us as possible can share, a framework that puts into clearer focus the kinds of issues on which an eventual resolution of the problem will depend. The rest of the thesis is dedicated to the attempt to develop such a framework. In chapter two I examine some moral theories, and their responses to the problem of demandingness, in the light of a fundamental principle which I claim is common to each of them: that, at some fundamental level, morality should take everyone into account, and take each of them into account in the same way. I argue that the most plausible interpretation of this principle, and the one that offers us the best hope of making progress with the problem, is one that requires us to take everyone into account distinctively in their role AS AGENTS. Doing so may, I claim, give us legitimate moral reasons to limit the demands of morality, but only if those demands are considered in the light of what I call an AGENT-CENTRED MODEL OF EXCELLENCE. I explore this idea, and the kind of role that it might play in a moral theory, in chapter three, and I argue that it raises neglected issues that are absolutely central to making progress with the problem, issues which we can, indeed, all discuss together, whatever our views about moral theory.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil
Title: The demandingness of morality
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Philosophy, religion and theology; Demandingness; Morality
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106250
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