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SAAP Annual Meeting 2018

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Beyond Theoretical Correctness in Ethics: Dewey's Pragmatic Pluralism

Drawing on unpublished and published sources from 1926-1932, this paper explores Dewey’s pragmatic pluralism in ethics as a way beyond the persistent quest for a single “theoretically correct” way to diagnose moral problems. The primary focus is “Three Independent Factors in Morals” (1930), which analyzes the concepts of good, duty, and virtue as distinct categories that express different experiential origins. The paper argues that ending the quest for the central and basic source of all moral justification can foster theories and practices that better inform our moral imaginations by opening communication across diverse elements of moral life.

Steven Fesmire
Middlebury College
United States


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