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The application of the metatheory of critical realism to questions in morality

The application of the metatheory of critical realism to questions in morality
The application of the metatheory of critical realism to questions in morality
While it is argued that the acceptance of the metatheory of critical realism opens up the potential to address many of the problematic issues of morality (Bhaskar 1986; Collier 1994), the development of, what appear to be, four competing critical realist moral theories creates issues for this approach. These theories are Bhaskar’s Dialectical Critical Realist Ethics (1993), Collier’s theory of worth (1999), Sayer’s Lay Morality (2004, 2011) and Elder-Vass’s Realist Critique (2010). In addition to these theories of what morality is, all of these writers, and Price (2017), also provide separate answers to the question of how you can discover more about morality. While there are extensive discussions of the theories of Bhaskar and Elder-Vass there is, to date, no comparative study that explores all of these approaches to morality with respect to the underlying metatheory and to each other. In this thesis, I explore these theories through considering the questions of: the legitimacy and universal applicability of any moral argument; morality as an aspect of human nature and society; and how an enquiry into morality should progress. This approach enables Bhaskar, Elder–Vass, Collier, and Sayer to be understood as having applied the metatheory to different questions in morality and therefore provides an understanding of their similarities and points of agreement. From this research a comprehensive realist theoretical understanding of morality, which is a synthesis of the existing approaches, is produced; which I argue provides an overall theoretical framework which both facilitates and can be tested for its explanatory power through subsequent practical research.
University of Southampton
Ash, Stephen Robert
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Ash, Stephen Robert
58e9afa7-1750-497d-92b6-eae4beca8269
Zotzmann, Karin
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Minney, James
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Ash, Stephen Robert (2019) The application of the metatheory of critical realism to questions in morality. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 215pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

While it is argued that the acceptance of the metatheory of critical realism opens up the potential to address many of the problematic issues of morality (Bhaskar 1986; Collier 1994), the development of, what appear to be, four competing critical realist moral theories creates issues for this approach. These theories are Bhaskar’s Dialectical Critical Realist Ethics (1993), Collier’s theory of worth (1999), Sayer’s Lay Morality (2004, 2011) and Elder-Vass’s Realist Critique (2010). In addition to these theories of what morality is, all of these writers, and Price (2017), also provide separate answers to the question of how you can discover more about morality. While there are extensive discussions of the theories of Bhaskar and Elder-Vass there is, to date, no comparative study that explores all of these approaches to morality with respect to the underlying metatheory and to each other. In this thesis, I explore these theories through considering the questions of: the legitimacy and universal applicability of any moral argument; morality as an aspect of human nature and society; and how an enquiry into morality should progress. This approach enables Bhaskar, Elder–Vass, Collier, and Sayer to be understood as having applied the metatheory to different questions in morality and therefore provides an understanding of their similarities and points of agreement. From this research a comprehensive realist theoretical understanding of morality, which is a synthesis of the existing approaches, is produced; which I argue provides an overall theoretical framework which both facilitates and can be tested for its explanatory power through subsequent practical research.

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Published date: March 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437720
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437720
PURE UUID: 8fead004-73f1-438f-9202-761d36146422

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Date deposited: 12 Feb 2020 17:35
Last modified: 05 Jan 2021 05:01

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