Ethics without principles - Jonathan Dancy



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Ethics without principles
Jonathan Dancy
Paperback / softback
Clarendon Press
UK Publication Date

Jonathan Dancy presents a long-awaited exposition and defence of particularism in ethics, a view with which he has been associated for twenty years. He argues that the traditional link between morality and principles, or between being moral and having principles, is little more than a mistake. The possibility of moral thought and judgement does not in any way depend on an adequate supply of principles. Dancy grounds this claim on a form of reasons-holism, holdingthat what is a reason in one case need not be any reason in another, and maintaining that moral reasons are no different in this respect from others. He puts forward a distinctive form of value-holism to go with the holism of reasons, and he gives a detailed discussion, much needed, of the currentlypopular topic of 'contributory' reasons. Opposing positions of all sorts are summarized and criticized. Ethics Without Principles is the definitive statement of particularist ethical theory, and will be required reading for all those working on moral philosophy and ethical theory.

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Review from previous edition How shall we fix the content of particularism? If anyone has earned the right to fix it it must be Jonathan Dancy . . . who has certainly, by his writings in the area over more than twenty years, given the term common currency in ethics. His rich and subtle new book . . . is a hugely rewarding and interesting read, at the cutting edge of contemporary debate in the area: truly a book that cannot be ignored. For my own part, I look
forward to continuing to enjoy and be instructed by Ethics without Principles for years to come.
Timothy Chappell, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

The book is high-octane philosophy. The structure is clear, the writing elegant, the argument peppered with outlooks into other areas of philosophy. A formidable experience.
Christopher Fehige, Times Literary Supplement

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