Date of Award

8-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Philosophy

Major Professor

Betsy C. Postow

Committee Members

John E. Nolt, David Reidy, Cheryl Travis

Abstract

Some have criticized pluralistic theories as failing to be decisive, in other words, pluralistic theories fail to produce judgments that are rational and justified. The argument starts by claiming that if a theory has neither the ability to justify actions through comparison nor the ability to guarantee a single answer about what one ought to do, then the theory is not decisive. The argument identifies the source of these failings in the pluralists commitment to incomparability and non-reductionism. I argue that pluralistic theories can be comparativist and that the demand for a single right answer is too stringent. Thus, it is possible for there to be rational, justified decisions in the presence of a plurality of factors.

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