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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 21, 2005

Human Rights, Religion, and Democracy

Ben Dixon
Pages 157-172

Achieving Moral Progress Despite Moral Regress

Moral progress and some of the conditions under which groups can make it is the focus of this paper. More specifically, I address a problem arising from the use of pluralistic criteria for determining moral progress. Pluralistic criteria can allow for judgments that moral progress has taken place where there is causally related moral regression. Indeed, an otherwise well-argued pluralistic theory put forward by Michelle Moody-Adams allows for such conflicting judgments. I argue, however, that the way in which Moody-Adams handles these conflicts can be made less counterintuitive. Ultimately, I limit the types of moral progress that arise in instances of value conflict. To demonstrate the attractiveness of my revision, I apply it to the content of a symposium on moral progress built around a John Lachs essay.

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