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‘Making Exceptions’: A Response to Shue

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In what follows I respond to Henry Shue's paper by focusing on three principal themes. The first is the relation of philosophical theory to practice, in which I agree that philosophers have to run the risks attendant upon applying reason to concrete cases. The second is the use of examples in moral philosophy, in particular the example used in the justification of torture as an exception; here I draw distinctions between different types of examples in philosophy and the uses to which they are put. Thirdly, in a brief consideration of our responses to climate change I suggest that, contra Shue, we are not being asked to go beyond a normal requirement so much as to re-establish the boundaries of what counts as normal.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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