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Title: Moral principles
Author: Chopra, Yogendra
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1960
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Words like 'rules', 'principles' and 'laws' show in ordinary usage a considerable degree of fluidity which makes it impossible to draw more than certain broad distinctions between them, and moral philosophers have generally shown a tendency to use these words in rather blanket ways which ignore even these broad distinctions. It is necessary therefore to explain at the outset the sense in which 'principles' is used in this enquiry. As used here, this term means certain requirements of a general nature belonging to a given subject-matter which conflict with one another in a systematic way and without indicating a defect in their formulation. This definition is not arbitrarily chosen but is claimed to apply to the main kind of general utterance in the field of morals. At a further stage a moral principle' is defined stipulatively as a principle which contains a distinctive moral concept in its statement as constitutive of its scope, and it is maintained that all moral principles in this sense adduce considerations. The chief antithesis of my position in this enquiry is constituted by what I call formalism, namely the view that moral principles are principles of a universal nature which are treated as the overriding principles of our lives. In rejecting this view I do not opt for what might easily be taken to be the natural alternative to it, i.e. the view that moral principles are the principles of human excellence. The alternative adopted by me is based on the notion of competing fields. By a field I mean a set of standards which apply to our conduct irrespective of our own choices; thus morality, self-interest and religion are fields in my sense. These fields compete with each other both by having border-disputes as well as by threatening one another with complete subjugation. This enquiry is thus in part a plea that a major function of ethics is the study of the various moral concepts and of concepts belonging to other fields which are of importance in understanding the relation between morality and its rivals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy