Morality as Contestable

  • Dorothy Emmet


Ideally moral judgement might be a white light showing clearly what action would be best in any situation. But just as light coming through a prism is refracted into a spectrum of different colours, so our moral thinking shows us a range of different features, and attention can fasten now on one and now on another. And just as it is absurd to maintain that one colour in the spectrum is the only true, or even the truest form of light, so we must not make the mistake of assuming that one feature in the moral spectrum is the only true form of morality. The metaphor of seeing light refracted through a prism is only one way of affirming that there is always a number of features which can be seen in making a moral judgement: features which need to be distinguished, even if they also affect one another in ways that have to be specified.


Moral Judgement Moral Theory Moral Belief Moral Decision Moral Concern 
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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Copyright information

© Dorothy Emmet 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Emmet
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK
  2. 2.Lucy Cavendish CollegeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Lady Margaret HallOxfordUK

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