در چند دههی اخیر، نظریههای اصلمند اخلاقْ مورد انتقاد بنیادی جزئیگرایان اخلاقی قرار گرفتهاند. انتقادها و اشکالها و مخالفتهای جزئیگرایان با نظریههای اصلمند اخلاق، مختلف بوده است. یک اشکال یا چالشی که بسیاری جزئیگرایان آن را بهنحوی مطرح کردهاند این است که تأکید مدافعان نظریههای اصلمند اخلاق بر اصلهای اخلاقی، به بهای بیتوجهی به اهمیت تشخیص اخلاقی است. مقالهی حاضر به این اشکال میپردازد. هدف مقالهی حاضر این است که نشان دهد عامگرا، نهتنها میتواند اهمیت تشخیص اخلاقی را بپذیرد، بلکه امکاناتی در اختیار دارد که میتواند با آنها نظریهای قابل قبول دربارهی تشخیص اخلاقی بپردازد. پاسخ مقالهی حاضر به این اشکال، مطرح کردن نگاه ویژهای به تشخیص اخلاقی و به اصلهای اخلاقی است که بر اساس آن، تشخیص اخلاقیْ خودْ متکی به اصلهای اخلاقی است. در این نگاه، هم چیستی اصلهای اخلاقی تعیینکننده است و هم چیستی تشخیص اخلاقی. اصلهای اخلاقی، نه سازوکارهای مکانیکی تصمیمگیری هستند، و نه صرفاً اصلهای نظری، بلکه اصلهای عملی و نوعی از عزمهای مدید فاعلان هستند. توانایی تشخیص اخلاقی، نیازمند برخی حساسیتها است، و حساسیتها وابسته هستند به منش و شخصیت ما، یعنی با این که ما چه نوع فردی هستیم. و سرانجام مقالهی حاضر تحلیل میکند که عزمهای نهادینهی مدید و بهویژه اصلهای اخلاقی، چه نقشهایی در شخصیت فاعل ــکه تشخیص اخلاقی متکی به آن استــ دارند.
عنوان مقاله [English]
On the Necessity of Moral Judgment Requiring Moral Principles
In recent decades, the principled theories of ethics have been criticized by the moral particularists. Criticisms, objections, and oppositions of particularists against those theories are diverse. An objection or challenge which has been one way or another put forth by many particularists is that the emphasis of the principled ethics theorists on moral principles is at the expense of neglecting the importance of moral judgement. This paper addresses this objection. The aim is to show that the generalist not only can acknowledge the importance of moral judgment but also have the means to develop an acceptable theory about moral judgement. This paper’s answer to the objection is proposing a special view towards moral judgement and moral principles according to which moral judgement itself depends on moral principles. In this view, both the nature of moral principles and the nature of moral judgement is crucial. Moral principles are neither mechanical decision mechanisms nor just theoretical principles. Moral principles are practical principles and a kind of extended determinations of the agent. Capacity of moral judgement requires some sensitivities; and sensitivities depend on our character. Finally, this paper analyses the roles of extended internal determinations, and especially moral principles, in the character of the agent.
Keywords: Principled Ethical Theories, Particularism, Generalism, Extended Determinations, Practical Principles
Investigating why moral judgement requires moral principles is important because moral judgement is important for our moral life. Moral judgement is the capacity to bridge the gap between moral principles and particular situations. What tells the agent that the particular situation facing him falls under a certain principle, and how he should satisfy that principle, is not the principle itself but the capacity of judgement. In life situations, it is not a simple matter for us to know what the best way of implementing the principle of, for example, “one should take a stand against injustice” is, and requires that we discern the details. Many moral particularists object to principle-based theories, arguing that moral principles are not required by good moral judgement. In response to this objection, this article adduces a special view towards moral judgement and moral principles according to which moral judgement relies on moral principles.
Some moral philosophers’ criticism of traditional principled theories’ inattention to moral judgement is based on those philosophers’ extreme conception of the nature of moral philosophers. They regard moral principles as entirely mechanical decision-procedures which can be applied without any perception, imagination, or judgement. For example, Charles Larmore remarks that Kantians and utilitarians have been in agreement “in seeking a fully explicit decision procedure for settling moral questions”, and that is why “they have missed the central role of moral judgement” (Larmore, 1987, p. 12). Despite these remarks, no reasonable generalist considers moral principles as mechanical decision-procedures. For example, Mill (1998) points out that any ethical standard whatever will work ill, if we suppose universal idiocy to be conjoined with it (70). Kant (1996) emphasizes that correct application of the Categorical Imperative requires “judgement sharpened by experience, partly to distinguish in what cases [the categorical imperative is] applicable and partly to provide [it] with access to the will of the human being…” (45).
The particularist’s objection to the non-algorithmic conception of moral principles is that if we need the capacity of moral judgement to apply moral principles to particular situations, why not use it directly and independently in moral thinking? Some particularists suggest that we can and should rely on this capacity alone (Gleeson, 2007; Dancy, 1983p. 543). This means that in their point of view moral principles are not necessary for moral judgement. In response to this problem, the argument that is propounded in this article is based on the idea that moral principles are necessary for the capacity of moral judgement because the latter relies on the former. The generalist not only can admit the importance of moral judgement but also have the possibilities on which he can build an acceptable theory about moral judgement.
To understand the nature of the capacity of moral judgement and to explain it, we should know what kind of sensitivities is required by right moral judgement and how we can develop that kind of sensitivities. Such sensitivities and their development greatly depend on the agent’s character.
If the process of the agent’s moral development is successful, moral principles will transform from external educational commands and tools to his internal extended determinations. The agent will no longer behave only in obedience to practical moral principles but assumes a favouring (or opposing) attitude towards the act-type that the principle prescribes, and intends to act in a certain way from now to the future. Moral principles as extended internal determinations play two roles in the constitution of the agent’s character: a) form his moral sensitivities; b) have a crucial role in his identity and unity over time.
a) extended determinations determine the structure of our lives. One improves their moral sensitivities through organizing their life and world in a way that makes the joint fulfilment of their moral principles possible. Gradually one becomes more sensitive to the needs of others and to the details of situations in which they finds themselves. When moral principles become internal, they also gain emotional weight (for a different view, see Gleeson, 2007, p. 370). The fact that having determinations forms the agent’s experience and improves their sensitivities is a familiar phenomenon also in areas beyond morality. The fact that the agent can “see” that someone needs help does not make the principle of beneficence redundant, but shows the agent’s ability to implement this principle.
b) The agent’s character depends on the fact that they conceive themselves to have identity and unity over time. Moral principles as extended internal determinations, (1) bring about psychological connections between the agent’s present intentions and future implementations of those intentions, and (2) help them build up and perceive themselves as a specific person (for a related discussion in moral psychology see Prinz, 2007: 306-307). Moral principles, as distinct from other kinds of principles, in virtue of their universal obligatoriness, help the individual build up and maintain a self above their diverse roles.
Based on this section, moral judgement is not a strange capacity that should somehow be added to moral principles, but through the medium of moral character is basically based on moral principles. Therefore, moral principles are essentially required by moral judgement.
Conclusions and discussions
In opposition to what I call “sufficiency of moral judgement” (the view of many particularists), I said that moral principles are indeed required by the capacity of moral judgement itself. Moral judgement needs some sensitivities, and depends on the moral character of the individual. Moral principles as extended internal determinations play two important roles in the constitution of the individual’s moral character. First, they form their moral sensitivities. Second, they help them maintain his identity and unity over time. The individual by adopting a set of moral principles determines to live a certain life, and developing their moral sensitivities help them remain committed to their determinations. Moral principles help the individual construct and perceive themselves as a specific person.
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