Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 30, 2020

How to Work with Context in Moral Philosophy?

Anne-Marie Søndergaard Christensen
From the journal SATS

Abstract

In this article, I investigate how we may include investigations of actual context in the investigation of moral problems in philosophy. The article has three main parts. The focus of the first is a survey of the dominant view of how to incorporate context into moral philosophy and to exemplify this view, I investigate examples from influential introductions to moral philosophy, identifying what I call the assumption of abstraction. In the second part I present three traditions which attribute a more prominent place to context in philosophical work and which therefore offer resources for thinking about context: moral contextualism, particularism and contextualism in political philosophy. Unconvinced that these resources are sufficient for an understanding of how actual context may be of importance in philosophy, I in the third part turn to a systematic investigation of three suggestions for how to incorporate actual context onto philosophy: the application approach, the bottom-up approach and the contextual approach. Furthermore, I argue that the third and most radical approach develops a superior understanding of how to include context in moral philosophy, reflecting the impossibility of making normatively neutral investigations of context in moral philosophy.


Corresponding author: Anne-Marie Søndergaard Christensen, Philosophy, Department for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, E-mail:

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Published Online: 2020-11-30
Published in Print: 2020-11-25

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