Saving the Moral Phenomena

  • John R. WelchEmail author
Part of the Theory and Decision Library A: book series (TDLA, volume 49)


Chapter 2 focuses on morally phenomenal statements such as ‘That was generous’ and ‘He is unfair’. Disagreements over such statements are rooted in the vagueness of terms like ‘generous’ and ‘unfair’, which makes the use of these terms to classify actions and people problematic. This chapter introduces core classification as the fundamental form of classification, linguistic or not. To develop the concept of core classification, the chapter proposes the analogy thesis: positive core classification is by analogy; negative core classification is by disanalogy. This is a descriptive claim, but there is an attendant normative thesis: good core classifications result from good analogies. When is an analogy good? The chapter proposes that arguments by analogy can be evaluated by appeal to a standard of inductive cogency. Like the standard of deductive soundness, inductive cogency imposes a condition on the argument’s content and a condition on its form. The formal condition is that the form be inductively strong, where inductive strength can be defined by quantitative inductive logics in the tradition of Carnap, Hintikka, Kuipers, and Niiniluoto. The chapter claims that recourse to inductive cogency affords an in-principle solution to morally phenomenal disagreements. To illustrate this claim, the chapter addresses the moral dilemma faced by Cicero’s grain merchant.


Inductive Logic Strong Property Moral Discourse Analogy Factor Core Classification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Louis University – Madrid CampusMadridSpain

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