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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 1999

Ethics

Jonathan Dancy
Pages 59-72
DOI: 10.5840/wcp201999114

Can a Particularist Learn the Difference Between Right and Wrong?

This paper is an attempt to answer the charge that extreme moral particularism is unable to explain the possibility of moral concepts and our ability to acquire them. This charge is based on the claim that we acquire moral concepts from experience of instances, and that the sorts of similarities that there must be between the instances are ones that only a generalist can countenance. I argue that this inference is unsound.