He [Francis Bacon] writes of science like a Lord Chan cellor - William Harvey Don't say: 'There must be something common ...' - but look and see Ludwig Wittgenstein In the history of western moral philosophy since Plato, there has been a pervasive tendency for the moral theorist to wri~e, in effect, like a scientist, Le. to seek completely general prin- ciples of right conduct. Of late, moreover, there has been an attempt to set forth a theory underlying the general principles, t of right conduct, admittedly, but of justice. To be sure, we are sometimes warned that the principles (which must exist?) may be too complex to be formulated. Also they may t exist prior to action - netheless, we are told, they serve as guides to conduct! One inight argue that Baconian inductivism provides one basis for skepticism with respect to a number of familiar epistemological problems. Thus, the skeptic argues, a certain conclusion - say, the existence of ather's pain - is t justified on the basis of (behavioral) evidence either deductively or inductively, and hence it is t justified at all. Similarly, I should claim, by establishing an unattainable standard, the search for exceptionless principles may become a source of moral skepticism. After all, when con- fronted with a supposed principle designed to justify a particular ix x PREFACE action, one can generally imagine a counter-example to the prin- ciple without excessive difficulty.