chapter  12
13 Pages

Methods of justifying a normative ethical theory

Chapter 3 discussed three particular examples of normative ethical theories (Mill’s, Ross’s, Kant’s). Along the way we also mentioned theistic ethics, subjectivistic ethics, ethical egoisms, situationalism, and ethical relativism. The obvious question which arises is whether there is any rational procedure for deciding between normative ethical theories. How does one (or can one?) justify a particular normative ethics in preference to all the alternative theories? (This is one way to interpret question Q2 which arose in chapter 1.) As you would expect, philosophers disagree about this and have proposed a number of different ways to go about justifying a normative ethics.