Outline Jamieson

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Outline the key issues raised in Jamieson’s essay ‘method and moral theory’ In his essay, Jamieson writes his view on how to write a moral theory. In the past, philosophers have covered a wide range of topics in moral theory. For example, the significance of moral language, the nature of value and obligation etc. None of these philosophers ever discussed how to write a moral theory because they believed that there was only one way to write one. Traditionally most moral theories have been written through some form of coherentism. Recently, people have started to worry about the practicality of moral theories, as it would seem that they cannot be applied in real life situations. Philosophers such as Susan Wolf have attacked the ideals of traditional moral theories. The problems of moral theory have been the main focus of most philosophers, but there is another problem in modern moral philosophy. There are so many conflicting theories that it makes it almost impossible to choose what the moral thing to do would be. In his essay, Jamieson doesn’t say that he’ll solve the problems of moral theory but he’ll discuss them, the nature of moral theory and some questions of method. In the first part of his essay Jamieson talks about the nature of moral theories. There are two approaches to making a moral theory; Top-Down system (Dominant conception) or Bottom-up system (Anti-theorist). The dominant conception of moral theories suggests they are abstract structures that sort actions, agents and outcomes into categories. These categories could be virtue, right, obligation, duty etc. The dominant conception of moral theories is the centre of a theory and is the basis of moral-decision making. For example with Kantian ethics the dominant conception is duty and with utilitarianism it is utility. For the moral theorist, their job is to make their theory persuasive and apply
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