Moral Strata pp 95-131 | Cite as

Working with Moral Means

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


Chapter 4 treats the instrumental stratum of moral discourse. Since this stratum is composed of substrata that can be delimited in different ways, the chapter works up through progressively larger discursive chunks: individual sentences, inferences, and theories. The justifiability of individual sentences, whether instrumental descriptions such as ‘That shows the value of courage’ or instrumental directives such as ‘Be honest so that people will respect you’, is an initial theme. The chapter emphasizes the role of observation and inductive inference in evaluating such sentences. Inference is then treated by investigating the possibility of justifying practical inferences (including so-called practical syllogisms). The chapter maintains that practical inferences can be evaluated by appeal to the standard of inductive cogency. Finally, how to choose a moral theory on instrumental grounds is illustrated by an extended analysis of Kantian, Benthamite, and Frankenian theory as applied to Sophie’s choice. The analysis leans heavily on the comparative decision theory launched in Chap. 3.


Decision Theory Action Action Moral Theory Condition Schema Moral Discourse 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Louis University – Madrid CampusMadridSpain

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