Practical Rules

When We Need Them and When We Don't

Practical Rules

Rules proliferate; some are kept with a bureaucratic stringency bordering on the absurd, while others are manipulated and ignored in ways that injure our sense of justice. Under what conditions should we make exceptions to rules, and when should they be followed despite particular circumstances? The two dominant models in the current literature on rules are the particularist account and that which sees the application of rules as normative. Taking a position that falls between these two extremes, Alan Goldman is the first to provide a systematic framework to clarify when we need to follow rules in our moral, legal, and prudential decisions, and when we ought not to do so.


"The book is well organized into an introduction and four chapters...The service Goldman provides is realistic conception of ethical reasoning that recognizes human limitations...Goldman has provided an impressive example the sort of analytical reasoning that goes on behind the scene...Philosophers will see this book displaying clear analyses and well argued position...Goldman has also provided a real service to clinicians concerned with ethical behavior." Metapsychology Feb 28 2002

"Goldman makes his argument in a clear and convincing manner and successfully provides us with a model for moral reasoning that takes into account the differences between decision-making in the public sphere, in which rule-following is essential, and ordinary individual decision-making, in which rule following is not helpful but in which moral guidance is, nevertheless, still available to moral agents." - Marina P. Banchetti-Robino, Florida Atlantic University

No references available.