This reply must suggest that Ross thinks that it doesn’t matter what we do. After all, if we cannot tell what we ought to do, why not just do what seems to be most fun? But of course, Ross does not believe in any such thing. His view is that we must reflect very carefully when confronted with a difficult moral choice. (we are more likely to do our duty if we reflect to the best of our ability o the prima facie rightness or wrongness of various possible acts in virtue of the characteristics we perceive them to have, than id we act without reflection. With this greater likelihood we must content.)
Ross also speaks of an alleged “sense of our particular duty in particular circumstances.” He says that this sense is highly fallible, but it is the only guide we have to out duty.” Some philosophers have questioned whether there is any such sense.
The final objection to Ross’s theory may be raised. Many readers find Ross’s view to be empty, trivial, or unenlightening. It seems to some of these people that all Ross has said is that an act is right if and only if it has as least as much rightness as any alternative. Surely, it this is all that Ross has said, then his view is indeed rather trivial.
One way to develop this objection would be to ask how we determined that Ross’ theory always generate the right results. Why is it, for example, that in every case of moral conflict, the act that we think is obligatory is the very one that Ross thinks is the most stringent prima facie duty? How can he tell that it’s not the case that some wrong act is, unfortunately, the most prima facie duty? One suggestion is that the term “most stringent prima facie duty” is really a complicated synonym for “ obligatory act”. If this is the case, the it is no wonder that the obligatory act always turns out to be the most stringent prima facie duty!
Another way develop this objection would be ask what the “prima facie duty” and “stringent” are supposed to mean. For, as is...