Rational Argument in Moral Philosophy: Some Implications of Gordon Baker's Therapeutic Conception of Philosophy


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This work is an investigation into philosophical method and rational argument in moral philosophy. It makes an original contribution to human understanding, by taking some of the tools and techniques that Gordon Baker identifies in the later work of Wittgenstein, and using them as a way of fending for oneself in an area of philosophy that neither Baker, nor Wittgenstein, wrote on. More specifically, a discussion of some different aspects of the contemporary literature on Dancy's (2004) moral particularism is used as a vehicle for illustrating how Baker's therapeutic conception of philosophy offers alternative possibilities for how we can do philosophy, and what counts as rational argument in moral philosophy. I maintain that, by considering some indicative ways in which Baker's therapeutic approach to philosophy can dissolve, rather than solve, the kinds of perplexities found in the existing literature on Dancy's (2004) moral particularism, we can liberate ourselves from the traditional/theoretical view of how we ought to do philosophy, and an understanding of rational argument in moral philosophy, to which we need not be committed
Date of Award10 Jun 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorLEON CULBERTSON (Director of Studies) & PAUL REYNOLDS (Supervisor)


  • philosophy
  • Moral Particularism
  • Dancy
  • Wittgenstein

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