W.D. Ross – Ethical Pluralism
- Criticism of Utilitarianism
o Claims moral life is messy and complicated, universal principles are not necessarily
o Utilitarianism oversimplifies the moral life, giving it one goal, one principle to solve
o Oversimplifies the relationships found between people.
Different relationship gives rise to various obligations and responsibilities.
Utilitarianism looks and treats others all as beneficiaries, in one sort of
o Morality is not always forward-looking; only looks forward in the sense of
- Criticisms of Kant
o Right/wrong not inferred because it falls under a rule capable of universalization
Universalization does not necessitate morality
o Not only one motive has value
There is more to morality than Kant claims, according to Ross.
o Untrue that rules don’t admit of exception
Strict rule without exception does not allow for flexibility that to Ross, seems
to be wrong in and of itself.
- Ethical Pluralism:
o Pluralistic, mixed, deontological theory of obligation