Jonathan Peter Dancy
(born 8 May 1946
) is a British
philosopher, working on epistemology
and on ethics
. He is currently professor at the University of Reading
and at University of Texas at Austin
Dancy was educated at Winchester College, where he was head boy and played cricket for the school, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he obtained a double first in classics. In 1971 he became a lecturer at the University of Keele. After having worked on problems of epistemology, and more particularly on the nature of perception (argument from illusion), he emerged as the leading proponent in ethics of moral particularism (also: ethical particularism). He also defends what he calls the holism of reasons, namely the idea that a consideration that is a reason for acting in a certain way in one case may not be a reason for acting in that way, or even a reason for not acting in that way, in other cases. In this sense, reasons are context-dependent. Dancy argues that the holism of reasons provides a major support for the main claim of his particularism, i.e. that there are no moral principles but that morality can get on perfectly well without them.
- "On Moral Properties", Mind, 1981, XC, pp. 367-385.
- “Ethical Particularism and Morally Relevant Properties.” Mind, n.s.; 92, 368 (Oct., 1983): 530 – 547.
- “The Role of Imaginary Cases in Ethics.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 66 (1985): 141 – 153.
- “An Ethic of Prima Facie Duties.” In A Companion to Ethics, ed. Peter Singer. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1991. 219 – 229.
- “Can a Particularist Learn the Difference Between Right and Wrong?” In The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, vol. 1, ed. K. Brinkmann. Bowling Green, OH: Philosophy Documentation Center, 1999. 59 – 72.
- “The Particularist’s Progress.” In Moral Particularism, ed. Brad Hooker and Margaret Olivia Little. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000. 130 – 156.
- An Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology, Oxford: Blackwell, 1985.
- Berkeley: An Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.
- Moral Reasons, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1993.
- Practical Reality, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
- Ethics Without Principles. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004.
- Perceptual Knowledge, Oxford: OUP, 1988.
- Reading Parfit, Oxford : Blackwell,1997.
- Normativity (Ratio conference 1998) Oxford : Blackwell, 2000.