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Moral particularism is a theory in meta-ethics that there are no moral principles and that moral judgement is determined by relevant factors in a particular context.[1] This stands in stark contrast to other prominent moral theories, such as deontology, consequentialism and virtue ethics.


The term "particularism" was coined to designate this position by R. M. Hare, in 1963 (Freedom and Reason, Oxford: Clarendon, p. 18).


Jonathan Dancy argued that cases, whether they're imagined or otherwise, contain certain elements from which we can infer certain moral ideas.[2]


A criticism of moral particularism is that it is inherently irrational. The criticism is that to be rational in relation to moral thought, you have to consistently apply that rationality to moral issues: but moral particularism does not do this.[3]

Further reading


  1. ^ "Moral Particularism". Internet Encyclopedia Of Philosophy. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Moral Particularism and the Role of Imaginary Cases". European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Moral Particularism". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 17 October 2019.