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Principles are often cited as justifications for our actions. In this work, I argue that moral principles are not sensitive enough to contextual considerations given the richness of moral situations. The particularist argues that we should turn instead to particulars, that is, the relevant components that make up a moral problem to guide our actions. This approach, which I endorse, is flexible about the way in which a moral feature contributes to the overall picture. A moral feature may count for or against an act depending on the context and the interplay with other present features. Principles, however, are fixed about the way a feature contributes to a moral assessment, either counting in favor of an act or not. In this sense, the principlist is atomistic about reasons whereas the particularist is holistic about reasons. The ideal particularist, then, is one who is able to see all of the salient features present in a moral situation. Since particularism does not explicitly posit how one can have such clarity of moral vision, I turn to virtue theory to help explain how one might cultivate a moral perceptual capacity to the good.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Stark, Susan

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.