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Moral particularism is the view that there are no moral principles
and that moral judgement can be found only as one decides
particular cases, either real or imagined. This stands in stark
contrast to other prominent moral theories, such as deontology or
utilitarianism. In the former, it is asserted that people have a
set of duties (that are to be considered or respected); in the
latter, people are to respect the happiness or the preferences of
others in their actions. Particularism, to the contrary, asserts
that there are no overriding principles that are applicable in
every case, or that can be abstracted to apply to every case.
According to particularism, most notably defended by Jonathan
Dancy, moral knowledge should be understood as knowledge of moral
rules of thumb, which are not principles, and of particular
solutions, which can be used by analogy in new cases.
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