Moral Justification

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. Bodiless Affect.Ron C. de Weijze - manuscript
    Mind and body have been reunited by the "affective turn" in philosophy and (neuro-) psychology. Yet, for centuries they have been painstakingly kept apart, for a specific reason. Methodologically, to find out about the world, apply justice or follow news, independent confirmation has always been indispensable. As it turns out, it also plays an important role in our personal everyday lives, to stay away from depersonalization- or derealization disorders and mainly to become and stay happy.
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  2. Moral philosophy and the problems of anxiety.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Some of the most influential moral philosophers in the English-speaking world say or suggest that we should only pay attention to moral judgments made in certain states of mind, where these states exclude anxious states. In this paper, I argue that this position faces at least two major problems.
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  3. Nozick’s “secret” macro-micro objection to Rawls.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    In a section of his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia entitled “Macro and Micro,” Nozick makes objections of a certain kind to Rawls. In this paper, I draw attention to a macro and micro objection that scattered material in that book entails.
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  4. “What is the difference between your subset objection to Rawls on utilitarianism and T.H. Irwin’s commentary?”.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    T.H. Irwin’s stimulating commentary on John Rawls anticipates but does not make “the subset objection to Rawls.” This term of mine is potentially misleading, but Irwin’s commentary is more so: I argue that relevant parts involve dubious commitments.
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  5. Reflective Equilibrium.Kauppinen Antti & Jaakko Hirvelä - forthcoming - In David Copp, Tina Rulli & Connie Rosati (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Normative Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    How can we figure out what’s right or wrong, if moral truths are neither self-evident nor something we can perceive? Very roughly, the method of reflective equilibrium (RE) says that we should begin moral inquiry from what we already confidently think, seeking to find a a match between our initial convictions and general principles that are well-supported by background theories, mutually adjusting both until we reach a coherent outlook in which our beliefs are in harmony (the equilibrium part) and we (...)
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  6. The evolution of moral intuitions and their feeling of rightness.Christine Clavien & Chloë FitzGerald - forthcoming - In Joyce R. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy.
    Despite the widespread use of the notion of moral intuition, its psychological features remain a matter of debate and it is unclear why the capacity to experience moral intuitions evolved in humans. We first survey standard accounts of moral intuition, pointing out their interesting and problematic aspects. Drawing lessons from this analysis, we propose a novel account of moral intuitions which captures their phenomenological, mechanistic, and evolutionary features. Moral intuitions are composed of two elements: an evaluative mental state and a (...)
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  7. How Gene–Culture Coevolution Can—but Probably Did Not—Track Mind-Independent Moral Truth.Nathan Cofnas - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    I argue that our general disposition to make moral judgments and our core moral intuitions are likely the product of social selection—a kind of gene–culture coevolution driven by the enforcement of collectively agreed-upon rules. Social selection could potentially track mind-independent moral truth by a process that I term realist social selection: our ancestors could have acquired moral knowledge via reason and enforced rules based on that knowledge, thereby creating selection pressures that drove the evolution of our moral psychology. Given anthropological (...)
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  8. Kant on Freedom and Rational Agency.Markus Kohl - forthcoming - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    In "Kant on Freedom and Rational Agency", I aim to give a comprehensive interpretation and a qualified defense of Kant’s doctrine of freedom as a systematic conception of rational agency. -/- Although my book follows Kant in focusing on the idea of free will as a condition of moral agency, it denies that moral freedom of will is the only relevant (transcendental) type of freedom. Human beings also exercise absolute freedom of thought (intellectual autonomy) in their theoretical cognition. Moreover, our (...)
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  9. Externalism Explained.Clayton Littlejohn - forthcoming - In Luis R. G. Oliveira (ed.), Externalism about Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
    This is a defence of externalism about knowledge and also about justification. In this paper, I argue that an important virtue of externalism about these notions is that externalism about justification helps to explain the value of (i.e., importance of) knowledge. I also develop and expand upon some of my earlier arguments for externalism that drew upon what's now known as 'morally loaded cases'. The virtue of externalism is that it's the only view that can both allow for certain kinds (...)
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  10. The Problem of Morally Repugnant Beliefs.Declan Smithies - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Meta-Ethics.
    What is the connection between justification and truth in moral epistemology? The primary goal of this paper is to argue that you cannot have justified false beliefs about your own moral obligations. The secondary goal is to explain why not. Some epistemologists embrace a global truth-connection in epistemology, according to which epistemic justification is always factive. In contrast, I endorse a local truth-connection in moral epistemology, which says that epistemic justification is factive when it concerns your own moral obligations. To (...)
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  11. Wittgenstein y los desacuerdos morales: sobre la justificación moral y sus implicaciones para el relativismo moral.Jordi Fairhurst - 2022 - Cuadernos de Filosofía 40:21-46.
    Este artículo estudia las observaciones tardías de Wittgenstein sobre los des-acuerdos morales. Primero, examina las prácticas de justificación y dar razones en los desacuerdos morales. Argumenta que, para Wittgenstein, las razones morales son descripciones que se utilizan para justificar una evaluación moral. Segundo, explica que la idoneidad y el carácter concluyente de las razones y justificaciones morales dependen de su atractivo para quienquiera que se presenten, no de cómo es el mundo. Tercero, muestra que las observaciones de Wittgenstein sobre el (...)
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  12. How East Meets West: Justice and Consequences in Confucian Meritocracy.Thomas Mulligan - 2022 - Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture 37:17-38.
    "Meritocracy" has historically been understood in two ways. The first is as an approach to governance. On this understanding, we seek to put meritorious (somehow defined) people into public office to the benefit of society. This understanding has its roots in Confucius, its scope is political offices, and its justification is consequentialist. The second understanding of "meritocracy" is as a theory of justice. We distribute in accordance with merit in order to give people the things that they deserve, as justice (...)
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  13. Reflective Equilibrium is enough. Against the need for pre-selecting “considered judgments”.Tanja Rechnitzer & Michael W. Schmidt - 2022 - Ethics, Politics and Society 5 (2):59–79.
    In this paper, we focus on one controversial element of the method of reflective equilibrium, namely Rawls’s idea that the commitments that enter the justificatory procedure should be pre-selected or filtered: According to him, only considered judgements should be taken into account in moral philosophy. There are two camps of critics of this filtering process: 1) Critics of reflective equilibrium: They reject the Rawlsian filtering process as too weak and seek a more reliable one, which would actually constitute a distinct (...)
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  14. Moral Knowledge By Deduction.Declan Smithies - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (3):537-563.
    How is moral knowledge possible? This paper defends the anti-Humean thesis that we can acquire moral knowledge by deduction from wholly non-moral premises. According to Hume’s Law, as it has become known, we cannot deduce an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’, since it is “altogether inconceivable how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it” (Hume, 1739, 3.1.1). This paper explores the prospects for a deductive theory of moral knowledge that rejects Hume’s Law.
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  15. "Objective Purport, Relational Confirmation, and the Presumption of Moral Objectivism: A Probabilistic Argument from Moral Experience".Tanner Hammond - 2021 - Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (1).
    All else being equal, can granting the objective purport of moral experience support a presumption in favor of some form of moral objectivism? Don Loeb (2007) has argued that even if we grant that moral experience appears to present us with a realm of objective moral fact—something he denies we have reason to do in the first place—the objective purport of moral experience cannot by itself provide even prima facie support for moral objectivism. In this paper, I contend against Loeb (...)
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  16. The epistemology of evolutionary debunking.Justis Koon - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):12155-12176.
    Fifteen years ago, Sharon Street and Richard Joyce advanced evolutionary debunking arguments against moral realism, which purported to show that the evolutionary history of our moral beliefs makes moral realism untenable. These arguments have since given rise to a flurry of objections; the epistemic principles Street and Joyce relied upon, in particular, have come in for a number of serious challenges. My goal in this paper is to develop a new account of evolutionary debunking which avoids the pitfalls Street and (...)
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  17. The Self-Effacing Functionality of Blame.Matthieu Queloz - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1361-1379.
    This paper puts forward an account of blame combining two ideas that are usually set up against each other: that blame performs an important function, and that blame is justified by the moral reasons making people blameworthy rather than by its functionality. The paper argues that blame could not have developed in a purely instrumental form, and that its functionality itself demands that its functionality be effaced in favour of non-instrumental reasons for blame—its functionality is self-effacing. This notion is sharpened (...)
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  18. On the Evolution of Moral Conventions: A functionalist alternative to Buchanan and Powell’s biocultural theory of moral progress.Oskar Qvarfort - 2021 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
  19. Sidgwick, Reflective Equilibrium and the Triviality Charge.Michael W. Schmidt - 2021 - In Michael Schefczyk & Christoph Schmidt-Petri (eds.), Utility, Progress, and Technology: Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies. Karlsruhe, Deutschland: pp. 247-258.
    I argue against the claim that it is trivial to state that Sidgwick used the method of wide reflective equilibrium. This claim is based on what could be called the Triviality Charge, which is pressed against the method of wide reflective equilibrium by Peter Singer. According to this charge, there is no alternative to using the method if it is interpreted as involving all relevant philosophical background arguments. The main argument against the Triviality Charge is that although the method of (...)
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  20. Normative Explanation and Justification.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):3-22.
    Normative explanations of why things are wrong, good, or unfair are ubiquitous in ordinary practice and normative theory. This paper argues that normative explanation is subject to a justification condition: a correct complete explanation of why a normative fact holds must identify features that would go at least some way towards justifying certain actions or attitudes. I first explain and motivate the condition I propose. I then support it by arguing that it fits well with various theories of normative reasons, (...)
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  21. Normative explanation unchained.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):278-297.
    [This paper is available as open access from the publisher.] Normative theories aim to explain why things have the normative features they have. This paper argues that, contrary to some plausible existing views, one important kind of normative explanations which first-order normative theories aim to formulate and defend can fail to transmit downward along chains of metaphysical determination of normative facts by non-normative facts. Normative explanation is plausibly subject to a kind of a justification condition whose satisfaction may fail to (...)
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  22. Sarah McGrath, "Moral Knowledge.". [REVIEW]Eric Wilkinson - 2021 - Philosophy in Review 41 (4):253-255.
  23. Love’s Luck Knot.Carla Bagnoli - 2020 - Angelaki: Journal of Theoretical Humanities 25 (1-2):195-208.
  24. Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1829-1855.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain (...)
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  25. A debunking explanation for moral progress.Nathan Cofnas - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3171-3191.
    According to “debunking arguments,” our moral beliefs are explained by evolutionary and cultural processes that do not track objective, mind-independent moral truth. Therefore (the debunkers say) we ought to be skeptics about moral realism. Huemer counters that “moral progress”—the cross-cultural convergence on liberalism—cannot be explained by debunking arguments. According to him, the best explanation for this phenomenon is that people have come to recognize the objective correctness of liberalism. Although Huemer may be the first philosopher to make this explicit empirical (...)
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  26. It is better to be ignorant of our moral enhancement: A reply to Zambrano.Parker Crutchfield - 2020 - Bioethics 34 (2):190-194.
  27. Addressed Blame and Hostility.Benjamin De Mesel - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (1):111-119.
    Benjamin Bagley ('Properly Proleptic Blame', Ethics 127, July 2017) sets out a dilemma for addressed blame, that is, blame addressed to its targets as an implicit demand for recognition. The dilemma arises when we ask whether offenders would actually appreciate this demand, via a sound deliberative route from their existing motivations. If they would, their offense reflects a deliberative mistake. If they wouldn't, addressing them is futile, and blame's emotional engagement seems unwarranted. Bagley wants to resolve the dilemma in such (...)
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  28. Why Metaethics Needs Empirical Moral Psychology.Jeroen Hopster & Michael Klenk - 2020 - Critica 52 (155).
    What is the significance of empirical moral psychology for metaethics? In this article we take up Michael Ruse’s evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism and reassess it in the context of the empirical state of the art. Ruse’s argument depends on the phenomenological presumption that people generally experience morality as objective. We demonstrate how recent experimental findings challenge this widely-shared armchair presumption and conclude that Ruse’s argument fails. We situate this finding in the recent debate about Carnapian explication and argue (...)
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  29. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Meet Evolutionary Science.Arnon Levy & Yair Levy - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):491-509.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments appeal to selective etiologies of human morality in an attempt to undermine moral realism. But is morality actually the product of evolution by natural selection? Although debunking arguments have attracted considerable attention in recent years, little of it has been devoted to whether the underlying evolutionary assumptions are credible. In this paper, we take a closer look at the evolutionary hypotheses put forward by two leading debunkers, namely Sharon Street and Richard Joyce. We raise a battery of (...)
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  30. A teoria hegeliana da justificação moral.Armando Manchisi - 2020 - Problemata 11 (4):134-160.
    The contribution pursues two interrelated aims: the first one is to interpret the transition from Morality to Ethical Life in the "Elements of the Philosophy of Right" as a theory of moral justification; the second one is to show the meaning of this theory for contemporary philosophy. The essay thus seeks to turn to Hegel’s conception in order to shed light on the limits of the current discussion in moral epistemology and then to present a possible alternative. To this end, (...)
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  31. Lateralism – The Globalization of US Hegemony after World War II.Yang Immanuel Pachankis - 2020 - Dissertation, Communication University of China
    This is a preliminary search and research of world order and global politics. It is history-based and examines the concept of globalization as a result of causes. The prevailing hegemonic power of United States is constituted of physical presence of troops, financial power, and most importantly, predominance in lateralized power in governance bodies around the world. Time is never linear per se in concept or in discoveries, sovereignty as so. The preeminence of space entities and discoveries of planet management is (...)
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  32. Might Moral Epistemologists Be Asking The Wrong Questions?Caleb Perl - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3):556-585.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  33. Why Moral Epistemology is Not Just Epistemology Applied to Moral Beliefs.Sushruth Ravish & Chaitanya Joshi - 2020 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 34 (4):71-92.
    The current discourse on moral epistemology (ME), has hardly paid any attention to the question concerning the demarcation of the domain of ME within epistemology. Neither is the subject matter of ME considered unique, nor is the methodology adopted in its investigations considered distinct. We attempt to show in this paper that this omission does not restrict itself to a mere taxonomical oversight but rather leads to certain deeper conceptual concerns. We argue that a casual and porous understanding of the (...)
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  34. Anscombe's Relative Bruteness.Jacob Sparks - 2020 - Philosophical News 18:135-145.
    Ethical beliefs are not justified by familiar methods. We do not directly sense ethical properties, at least not in the straightforward way we sense colors or shapes. Nor is it plausible to think – despite a tradition claiming otherwise – that there are self-evident ethical truths that we can know in the way we know conceptual or mathematical truths. Yet, if we are justified in believing anything, we are justified in believing various ethical propositions e.g., that slavery is wrong. If (...)
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  35. Self-Defense, Necessity, and Punishment: A Philosophical Analysis.Uwe Steinhoff - 2020 - London and New York: Routledge.
    This book offers a philosophical analysis of the moral and legal justifications for the use of force. While the book focuses on the ethics self-defense, it also explores its relation to lesser evil justifications, public authority, the justification of punishment, and the ethics of war. Steinhoff’s account of the moral use of force covers a wide range of topics, including the nature of justification in general, the precise elements of different justifications, the logic of claim- and liberty-rights and of rights (...)
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  36. The indispensable mental element of justification and the failure of purely objectivist (mostly “revisionist”) just war theories.Uwe Steinhoff - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie (1):51-67.
    The “right intention” requirement, in the form of a requirement that the agent must have a justified true belief that the mind-independent conditions of the justification to use force are fulfilled, is not an additional criterion, but one that constrains the interpretation of the other criteria. Without it, the only possible interpretation of the mind-independent criteria is purely objectivist, that is, purely fact-relative. Pure objectivism condemns self-defense and just war theory to irrelevance since it cannot provide proper action guidance: it (...)
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  37. Value Disagreement, Action, and Commitment.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2020 - In Katja Vogt & Justin Vlasits (eds.), Epistemology After Sextus Empiricus. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 291-311.
  38. Moral und Theismus. Eine Replik auf Michael Roth.Jörg Disse - 2019 - Kidoks.
    The article is a response to Michael Roth´s criticism of my contention that to do the good for its own sake absolutely speaking makes only sense within the limits of a commitment to theism.
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  39. How to Debunk Moral Beliefs.Victor Kumar & Joshua May - 2019 - In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 25-48.
    Arguments attempting to debunk moral beliefs, by showing they are unjustified, have tended to be global, targeting all moral beliefs or a large set of them. Popular debunking arguments point to various factors purportedly influencing moral beliefs, from evolutionary pressures, to automatic and emotionally-driven processes, to framing effects. We show that these sweeping arguments face a debunker’s dilemma: either the relevant factor is not a main basis for belief or it does not render the relevant beliefs unjustified. Empirical debunking arguments (...)
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  40. Do Psychological Defeaters Undermine Foundationalism in Moral Epistemology? - a Critique of Sinnott-Armstrong’s Argument against Ethical Intuitionism.Philipp Schwind - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):941-952.
    Foundationalism in moral epistemology is a core tenet of ethical intuitionism. According to foundationalism, some moral beliefs can be known without inferential justification; instead, all that is required is a proper understanding of the beliefs in question. In an influential criticism against this view, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has argued that certain psychological facts undermine the reliability of moral intuitions. He claims that foundationalists would have to show that non-inferentially justified beliefs are not subject to those defeaters, but this would already constitute (...)
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  41. Is, Ought, and the Regress Argument.Jacob Sparks - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):528-543.
    Many take the claim that you cannot ‘get’ an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ to imply that non- moral beliefs are by themselves incapable of justifying moral beliefs. I argue that this is a mistake and that the position that moral beliefs are justified exclusively by non-moral beliefs—a view that I call moral inferentialism—presents an attractive non-sceptical moral epistemology.
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  42. Normative uncertainty and probabilistic moral knowledge.Julia Staffel - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6739-6765.
    The aim of this paper is to examine whether it would be advantageous to introduce knowledge norms instead of the currently assumed rational credence norms into the debate about decision making under normative uncertainty. There is reason to think that this could help us better accommodate cases in which agents are rationally highly confident in false moral views. I show how Moss’ view of probabilistic knowledge can be fruitfully employed to develop a decision theory that delivers plausible verdicts in these (...)
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  43. Fichte's Deduction of the Moral Law.Owen Ware - 2019 - In Steven Hoeltzel (ed.), The Palgrave Fichte Handbook. Palgrave. pp. 239-256.
    It is often assumed that Fichte's aim in Part I of the System of Ethics is to provide a deduction of the moral law, the very thing that Kant – after years of unsuccessful attempts – deemed impossible. On this familiar reading, what Kant eventually viewed as an underivable 'fact' (Factum), the authority of the moral law, is what Fichte traces to its highest ground in what he calls the principle of the 'I'. However, scholars have largely overlooked a passage (...)
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  44. Non-Naturalist Moral Realism and the Limits of Rational Reflection.Max Khan Hayward - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):724-737.
    This essay develops the epistemic challenge to non-naturalist moral realism. While evolutionary considerations do not support the strongest claims made by ‘debunkers’, they do provide the basis for an inductive argument that our moral dispositions and starting beliefs are at best partially reliable. So, we need some method for separating truth from falsity. Many non-naturalists think that rational reflection can play this role. But rational reflection cannot be expected to bring us to truth even from reasonably accurate starting points. Reflection (...)
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  45. Two types of debunking arguments.Peter Königs - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (3):383-402.
    Debunking arguments are arguments that seek to undermine a belief or doctrine by exposing its causal origins. Two prominent proponents of such arguments are the utilitarians Joshua Greene and Peter Singer. They draw on evidence from moral psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary theory in an effort to show that there is something wrong with how deontological judgments are typically formed and with where our deontological intuitions come from. They offer debunking explanations of our emotion-driven deontological intuitions and dismiss complex deontological theories (...)
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  46. Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    The burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we’re told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don’t come easily. However, despite (...)
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  47. Applying reflective equilibrium. A case study in justification.Tanja Rechnitzer - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Bern
    How should we proceed when searching for justified answers to normative questions? A prominent proposal is to use the method of reflective equilibrium (RE). Its basic Idea—that we should start from our existing judgments about relevant cases and bring them into equilibrium with systematic principles—is readily recited, but beyond that, conceptions of RE often stay sketchy. RE is seldom explicitly implemented, which makes it difficult to critically evaluate the method and to assess its potential. In my dissertation, I present the (...)
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  48. Explanatory Challenges in Metaethics.Joshua Schechter - 2018 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 443-459.
    There are several important arguments in metaethics that rely on explanatory considerations. Gilbert Harman has presented a challenge to the existence of moral facts that depends on the claim that the best explanation of our moral beliefs does not involve moral facts. The Reliability Challenge against moral realism depends on the claim that moral realism is incompatible with there being a satisfying explanation of our reliability about moral truths. The purpose of this chapter is to examine these and related arguments. (...)
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  49. Moral Perception and Morally Relevant Perception.Jacob Sparks - 2018 - ASEBL Journal 13:19-27.
    You might bear witness to some injustice, but can you witness the injustice itself? At first glance, it’s tempting to say “yes.” Sometimes we see things that provoke an immediate judgement that some act is wrong just as we sometimes see things that provoke the immediate judgement that e.g. the book is red or that our friend is angry. It seems like we perceive the injustice just as we perceive the redness or the anger. Natural as that position is, I (...)
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  50. Why conceptual competence won’t help the non-naturalist epistemologist.Preston J. Werner - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):616-637.
    Non-naturalist normative realists face an epistemological objection: They must explain how their preferred route of justification ensures a non-accidental connection between justified moral beliefs and the normative truths. One strategy for meeting this challenge begins by pointing out that we are semantically or conceptually competent in our use of the normative terms, and then argues that this competence guarantees the non-accidental truth of some of our first-order normative beliefs. In this paper, I argue against this strategy by illustrating that this (...)
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