, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 397-406

Applied Ethics. A Defence

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Abstract

Given a reasonable coherentist view of justification in ethics, applied ethics, as here conceived of, cannot only guide us, in our practical decisions, but also provide moral understanding through explanation of our moral obligations. Furthermore, applied ethics can contribute to the growth of knowledge in ethics as such. We put moral hypotheses to crucial test in individual cases. This claim is defended against the challenges from moral intuitionism and particularism.

This paper has grown out of a course in applied ethics I held for the ethics program at The University of Oslo in the winter of 2008. It has been presented at the higher seminar in practical philosophy at Stockholm University in the fall of 2009. It has then been presented in the conference in January 2010 on Moral Theory and Theorizing in Ethical Deliberation in Swansea. I thank my students in Oslo and the participants in the two seminars for valuable comments.