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Nineteenth Century Philosophy

Intuitionism

What is moral theory?

Moral theory is the intellectual assessment and comparison of different moral or ethical systems. For instance, if we compare consequentialism and deontology, then we are working within moral theory. To some extent, anyone who argues for their own moral system does some amount of moral theory. For example, Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) in his dismissal of human rights as “nonsense upon stilts,” wanted to replace discourse about rights with calculations about pleasure, and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) in distinguishing between hypothetical and categorical judgments and elevating the latter, were both engaged in moral theory.



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