Objections to Rossian Pluralism Make It a More Valuable Moral Theory

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Rossian Pluralism claims that there are multiple things that we have basic, intrinsic moral reason to do, which he names as the prima facie duties. These duties are not real, obligatory duties that one must follow under all circumstances, but are “conditional duties” (Ross 754) that one should decide to follow or reject upon reflection of their circumstances. This moral theory has faced criticisms, most strongly in the form of the problem of trade-offs. However, I will demonstrate that the problem of trade-offs is an issue that can be neglected as a valid objection to Rossian Pluralism because it is applicable to other theories as well and it is a factor that makes a moral theory more valuable than not.
The prima facie duties that William
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One major plausibility of Rossian Pluralism actually arises from the plausibility of other moral theories. Kantianism, which states that all of morality can be reduced to respecting autonomy, presents the plausible idea that there are intrinsic moral reasons to respect autonomy. Similarly, Consequentialism, which states that all of morality can be reduced to beneficence and reasons to promote the overall good, presents another plausible idea that there are intrinsic moral reasons to help others and to promote the overall good. Where these monistic theories face implausibility is that they try to reduce all of morality to a single factor, when it seems perfectly sound that each of these intrinsic moral reasons are significant in contributing to overall morality. Ross declares that these theories oversimplify morality and thus fail to credibly epitomize the complex nature of our moral thoughts (McNaughton). Moreover, counter-intuitive verdicts are prescribed by monistic theories in some situations, such as killing 100 people to save 101 people, as (Maximizing Act) Consequentialists would have no choice but to promote.
To put forth a theory more flexible and suitable to the complex human mind, Ross presents a pluralistic moral theory. Virtue Ethics is another example of a pluralistic moral theory, but it faces a problem that Rossian Pluralism succeeds in addressing. Virtue Ethics states that the right thing to do is what a virtuous agent

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