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  1. Tell Us What You Really Think: A think aloud protocol analysis of the verbal cognitive reflection test.Nick Byrd, Brianna Joseph, Gabriela Gongora & Miroslav Sirota - manuscript
    The standard interpretation of cognitive reflection tests assumes that correct responses are reflective and lured responses are unreflective. However, prior process-tracing of mathematical reflection tests has cast doubt on this interpretation. In two studies (N = 201), we deployed a validated think-aloud protocol in-person and online to test how this assumption is satisfied by the new, validated, less familiar, and less mathematical verbal Cognitive Reflection Test (vCRT). Importantly, thinking aloud did not disrupt test performance compared to a control group. Moreover, (...)
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  2. Rawlsian Reflective Equilibrium.Thomas V. Cunningham - manuscript
    This paper proposes a Rawlsian conception of moral justification as a social activity. Through a close reading, Rawls’ view of ethical justification is shown to be significantly more dialogical and deliberative than is commonly appreciated. The result is a view that emphasizes the social nature of ethical justification and identifies information sharing between persons as the crux of justification in metaethics, in contrast to normative ethics. I call it Rawlsian reflective equilibrium to distinguish it from other varieties.
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  3. Reflective equilibrium and ruthless surgery.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    T.H. Irwin characterizes the reflective equilibrium procedure as one which should not involve ruthless surgery, in a metaphorical sense. I argue that many people will find avoiding this difficult, because they do not conceive or go in for subtle options.
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  4. Is the debate between Rawlsians and liberal perfectionists about aesthetics?Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Does the debate between Rawlsians and liberal perfectionists boil down to the following: for liberal perfectionists, the government should fund aesthetic projects that are in good taste; for Rawlsians, the government should be neutral on the aesthetic value of anything? If so, liberal perfectionists are committed to the view that there is objective aesthetic value. In this paper, I argue that within the Rawlsian system is a thesis that is difficult to reconcile with objectivity about aesthetics.
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  5. Reflective equilibrium, considered moral judgments, and interests – a response to Thomas Kelly and Sarah McGrath.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Which moral judgments should one pay attention to in building a moral philosophy? Thomas Kelly and Sarah McGrath object to John Rawls’s suggestion to not rely on judgments heavily bound up with one’s own interests. I propose a solution in response to the objection.
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  6. Moral philosophy and psychoanalysis: a point of convergence.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    People make moral judgments in response to actual or hypothetical situations. But should they ignore moral judgments made in some states of mind, such as when they are hesitant, frightened, or under the influence of a drug? John Rawls thinks that moral philosophers should ignore judgments made in such states, but I introduce a proposal according to which, if certain conditions are met, they should not. The proposal is loosely inspired by psychoanalysis.
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  7. Against evil reflective equilibrium: a response to Thomas Kelly and Sarah McGrath.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    This paper responds to Thomas Kelly and Sarah McGrath’s worry that there can be evil reflective equilibrium. I propose that some of John Rawls’s restrictions on moral judgments we can enter into the procedure serve to protect against evil reflective equilibrium.
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  8. Reflective equilibrium, literary canons, and the very idea of literature.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    We associate the method of reflective equilibrium with developing principles of social justice, but it can also be used on a literary canon, with the aim of identifying principles of inclusion and exclusion. But I note three risks of doing so, using the American literary canon as an example.
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  9. 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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  10. Are reflective equilibrium and the original position consistent? The historical bias problem.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    In this paper, I present a problem for regarding the reflective equilibrium and original position methods as consistent. I do not prove that there is an inconsistency, but there is a puzzle of how the two methods can be made consistent. The concern about inconsistency is because the former method allows for a kind of historical bias, as noted by T.H. Irwin, whereas the latter method seeks to guard against historical bias.
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  11. Three assumptions of Rawlsian reflective equilibrium.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    John Rawls recommends a reflective equilibrium method for evaluating which principles institutions should abide by. In this paper, I identify and challenge three assumptions that he makes.
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  12. Not in the literature: an ideal political theory tutorial.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    I present a fictional and somewhat unpleasant tutorial. In it a use of the term “ideal political theory” is connected with the reflective equilibrium method: an ideal theory requires no adaptation of specific moral judgments to fit with the theory. I have not been in a tutorial closely resembling this, I should say.
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  13. Description of method.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Timothy Williamson objects that we do not have any reason to regard reflective equilibrium as a philosophical method, whether good or bad. In this paper, I propose a less demanding account of when a method is being described.
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  14. Trespassing and reflective equilibrium.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    In this paper, I present an objection to the reflective equilibrium method based on land purchases and trespassing. I then propose a solution, which involves a change to how we regard the method.
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  15. Its many varieties: does liberalism merely alternate between ethics and economics?Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    I am not sure who said that liberalism merely alternates between ethics and economics – was it Karl Kraus? – but at first glance the claim is plausible. In this paper I argue that there are varieties of liberalism which do not. Some depend on a nature-culture distinction and some appeal to simplicity in a way that seems aesthetic. In the appendix I introduce a problem for utilitarianism.
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  16. Ought-implies-can, the original position, and reflective equilibrium.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Are John Rawls’s most noticeable methodological contributions, reflective equilibrium and the original position, consistent with each other? I draw attention to a worry that they stand in inconsistent relationships to the claim that ought implies can: it can only be the case that we ought to do something if we can do it.
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  17. Is reflective equilibrium a philosophical method? Is it a problem, if not?Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    I consider Timothy Williamson’s objection that we do not have any reason to regard reflective equilibrium as a philosophical method. I present what I think a Rawlsian advocate of the method would say, or could say.
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  18. Consequentialist Demands, Intuitions and Experimental Methodology (with Joe Sweetman).Attila Tanyi - manuscript
    Can morality be so demanding that we have reason not to follow its dictates? According to many, it can, if that morality is a consequentialist one. We take the plausibility and coherence of this objection – the Demandingness Objection – as a given and are also not concerned with finding the best response to the Objection. Instead, our main aim is to explicate the intuitive background of the Objection and to see how this background could be investigated. This double aim (...)
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  19. 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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  20. Reflective equilibrium and empirical data: Third person moral experiences in empirical medical ethics.Evert Leeuwen Martine de Vrievans - forthcoming - Bioethics.
    In ethics, the use of empirical data has become more and more popular, leading to a distinct form of applied ethics, namely empirical ethics. This 'empirical turn' is especially visible in bioethics. There are various ways of combining empirical research and ethical reflection. In this paper we discuss the use of empirical data in a special form of Reflective Equilibrium (RE), namely the Network Model with Third Person Moral Experiences. In this model, the empirical data consist of the moral experiences (...)
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  21. Re-engineering contested concepts. A reflective-equilibrium approach.Georg Brun - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-29.
    Social scientists, political scientists and philosophers debate key concepts such as democracy, power and autonomy. Contested concepts like these pose questions: Are terms such as “democracy” hopelessly ambiguous? How can two theorists defend alternative accounts of democracy without talking past each other? How can we understand debates in which theorists disagree about what democracy is? This paper first discusses the popular strategy to answer these questions by appealing to Rawls’s distinction between concepts and conceptions. According to this approach, defenders of (...)
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  22. Bounded Reflectivism and Epistemic Identity.Nick Byrd - 2022 - Metaphilosophy 53 (1):53-69.
    Reflectivists consider reflective reasoning crucial for good judgment and action. Anti-reflectivists deny that reflection delivers what reflectivists seek. Alas, the evidence is mixed. So, does reflection confer normative value or not? This paper argues for a middle way: reflection can confer normative value, but its ability to do this is bound by such factors as what we might call epistemic identity: an identity that involves particular beliefs—for example, religious and political identities. We may reflectively defend our identities’ beliefs rather than (...)
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  23. Applying Reflective Equilibrium: Towards the Justification of a Precautionary Principle.Tanja Rechnitzer - 2022 - Cham: Springer.
    This open access book provides the first explicit case study for an application of the method of reflective equilibrium (RE), using it to develop and defend a precautionary principle. It thereby makes an important and original contribution to questions of philosophical method and methodology. The book shows step-by-step how RE is applied, and develops a methodological framework which will be useful for everyone who wishes to use reflective equilibrium. With respect to precautionary principles, the book demonstrates how a rights-based precautionary (...)
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  24. Turning the trolley with reflective equilibrium.Tanja Rechnitzer - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-28.
    Reflective equilibrium —the idea that we have to justify our judgments and principles through a process of mutual adjustment—is taken to be a central method in philosophy. Nonetheless, conceptions of RE often stay sketchy, and there is a striking lack of explicit and traceable applications of it. This paper presents an explicit case study for the application of an elaborate RE conception. RE is used to reconstruct the arguments from Thomson’s paper “Turning the Trolley” for why a bystander must not (...)
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  25. 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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  26. Das Überlegungsgleichgewicht als Lebensform. Versuch zu einem vertieften Verständnis der durch John Rawls bekannt gewordenen Rechtfertigungsmethode.Michael Schmidt - 2022 - Paderborn: Brill | mentis.
    The objective of this thesis – Reflective Equilibrium as a Form of Life – is to contribute to the deepening of understanding of the method of reflective equilibrium – a method of internal epistemic justification. In the first part of the study, four paradigmatic conceptions of the method will be analyzed in order to carve out a conceptual core: The ones by John Rawls – who coined the name of the method – Norman Daniels, Michael DePaul and Catherine Elgin. I (...)
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  27. Trolleyology as First Philosophy.Vaughn Bryan Baltzly - 2021 - Teaching Philosophy 44 (4):407-448.
    Though sometimes maligned, “trolleyology” offers an effective means of opening and framing, not only classes in ethics, but indeed any introductory philosophy course taking a broadly “puzzle-based” approach. When properly sequenced, a subset of the thought experiments that are trolleyology’s stock-in-trade can generate a series of puzzles illustrating the shortcomings of our untutored moral intuitions, and which thus motivate the very enterprise of moral theorizing. Students can be engaged in the attempt to resolve said puzzles, inasmuch as they’re accessible and (...)
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  28. Autonomous Driving and Public Reason: a Rawlsian Approach.Claudia Brändle & Michael W. Schmidt - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology 34 (4):1475-1499.
    In this paper, we argue that solutions to normative challenges associated with autonomous driving, such as real-world trolley cases or distributions of risk in mundane driving situations, face the problem of reasonable pluralism: Reasonable pluralism refers to the fact that there exists a plurality of reasonable yet incompatible comprehensive moral doctrines within liberal democracies. The corresponding problem is that a politically acceptable solution cannot refer to only one of these comprehensive doctrines. Yet a politically adequate solution to the normative challenges (...)
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  29. Judgments of Beauty in Theory Evaluation.Devon Brickhouse-Bryson - 2021 - Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.
    The role of judgments of beauty in scientific theory evaluation is the subject of significant debate in contemporary philosophy of science. This book advances that debate by broadening its scope. In Judgments of Beauty in Theory Evaluation, the author argues that judgments of beauty are a justified part of theory evaluation of all sorts: not only scientific theory evaluation, but also philosophical theory evaluation. The author argues for this thesis by providing an account of beauty—inherited from Kant and Mothersill—on which (...)
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  30. Modelling Reflective Equilibrium with Belief Revision Theory.Andreas Freivogel - 2021 - In Martin Blicha & Igor Sedlár (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2020. pp. 65-80.
    This article brings together two different topics: reflective equilibrium (RE) and belief revision theory (BRT). RE is a popular method of justification in many areas of philosophy, it involves a process of mutual adjustments striving for a state of coherence, but it lacks formally rigorous elaborations and faces severe criticism. To elucidate core elements of RE and provide a solid basis to address objections, a formal model of RE within BRT is presented. A fruitful starting point to the formalization of (...)
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  31. 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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  32. Sarah McGrath, "Moral Knowledge.". [REVIEW]Eric Wilkinson - 2021 - Philosophy in Review 41 (4):253-255.
  33. Reflective equilibrium and understanding.Christoph Baumberger & Georg Brun - 2020 - Synthese 198 (8):7923-7947.
    Elgin has presented an extensive defence of reflective equilibrium embedded in an epistemology which focuses on objectual understanding rather than ordinary propositional knowledge. This paper has two goals: to suggest an account of reflective equilibrium which is sympathetic to Elgin’s but includes a range of further developments, and to analyse its role in an account of understanding. We first address the structure of reflective equilibrium as a target state and argue that reflective equilibrium requires more than an equilibrium in the (...)
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  34. Conceptual re-engineering: from explication to reflective equilibrium.Georg Brun - 2020 - Synthese 197 (3):925-954.
    Carnap and Goodman developed methods of conceptual re-engineering known respectively as explication and reflective equilibrium. These methods aim at advancing theories by developing concepts that are simultaneously guided by pre-existing concepts and intended to replace these concepts. This paper shows that Carnap’s and Goodman’s methods are historically closely related, analyses their structural interconnections, and argues that there is great systematic potential in interpreting them as aspects of one method, which ultimately must be conceived as a component of theory development. The (...)
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  35. Intuitions, Biases, and Extra‐Wide Reflective Equilibrium.Samuel Director - 2020 - Metaphilosophy 51 (5):674-684.
    It seems that intuitions are indispensable in philosophical theorizing. Yet, there is evidence that our intuitions are heavily influenced by biases. This generates a puzzle: we must use our intuitions, but we seemingly cannot fully trust those very intuitions. In this paper, I develop a methodology for philosophical theorizing which attempts to avoid this puzzle. Specifically, I develop and defend a methodology that I call Extra-Wide Reflective Equilibrium. I argue that this method allows us to use intuitions, while also providing (...)
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  36. The social fabric of understanding: equilibrium, authority, and epistemic empathy.Christoph Jäger & Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1185-1205.
    We discuss the social-epistemic aspects of Catherine Elgin’s theory of reflective equilibrium and understanding and argue that it yields an argument for the view that a crucial social-epistemic function of epistemic authorities is to foster understanding in their communities. We explore the competences that enable epistemic authorities to fulfil this role and argue that among them is an epistemic virtue we call “epistemic empathy”.
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  37. Public Values in the Right Context.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2020 - Australasian Philosophical Review 4 (1):57-62.
    [Comment] I am sympathetic to Avner de Shalit’s position that a political philosophy should incorporate public values, but I see their role differently. Philosophers of science standardly distinguish between values being introduced in the context of discovery (inputs into the investigation or arguments) and in the context of justification (acceptance or rejection of substantive claims in light of the arguments or investigation). I argue that de Shalit is wrong to put the public values in the context of discovery; with respect (...)
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  38. 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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  39. El equlibrio reflexivo y la función de los ejemplos en la investigación moral.Santiago Truccone Borgogno - 2019 - Anuario Del Centro de Investigaciones Jurídicas y Sociales (Facultad de Derecho, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba):687-709.
    Este trabajo pretende ser una reconstrucción de uno del equilibrio reflexivo. Proporcionaré un concepto, enunciaré sus elementos y describiré cada uno de sus pasos. Afirmaré que puede suscribirse al uso del equilibrio reflexivo no solo desde esquemas coherentistas sino también –contrariamente a lo tradicionalmente sostenido- fundacionalistas. Afirmaré también que ambos esquemas pueden ser sensibles a la experiencia moral humana y que, por tanto, ninguno de los dos representa, necesariamente, un modo viciado de hacer filosofía moral. Finalmente, dado que muchas investigaciones (...)
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  40. Analyzing debunking arguments in moral psychology: Beyond the counterfactual analysis of influence by irrelevant factors.Joanna Demaree-Cotton - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42 (e151):15-17.
    May assumes that if moral beliefs are counterfactually dependent on irrelevant factors, then those moral beliefs are based on defective belief-forming processes. This assumption is false. Whether influence by irrelevant factors is debunking depends on the mechanisms through which this influence occurs. This raises the empirical bar for debunkers and helps May avoid an objection to his Debunker’s Dilemma.
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  41. A Phenomenal Defense of Reflective Equilibrium.Weston Mudge Ellis & Justin McBrayer - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Research 44:1-12.
    The method of reflective equilibrium starts with a set of initial judgments about some subject matter and refines that set to arrive at an improved philosophical worldview. However, the method faces two, trenchant objections. The Garbage-In, Garbage-Out Objection argues that reflective equilibrium fails because it has no principled reason to rely on some inputs to the method rather than others and putting garbage-in assures you of getting garbage-out. The Circularity Objection argues that reflective equilibrium fails because it has no principled, (...)
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  42. The Self-Effacement Gambit.Jack Woods - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (2):113-139.
    Philosophical arguments usually are and nearly always should be abductive. Across many areas, philosophers are starting to recognize that often the best we can do in theorizing some phenomena is put forward our best overall account of it, warts and all. This is especially true in esoteric areas like logic, aesthetics, mathematics, and morality where the data to be explained is often based in our stubborn intuitions. -/- While this methodological shift is welcome, it's not without problems. Abductive arguments involve (...)
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  43. Goodman e o projeto de uma definição construtiva de “indução válida”.Eros Moreira de Carvalho - 2018 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 22 (3):439-460.
    In Fact, Fiction and Forecast, Nelson Goodman claims that the problem of justifying induction is not something over and above the problem of describing valid induction. Such claim, besides suggesting his commitment to the collapse of the distinction between the context of description and the context of justification, seems to open the possibility that the new riddle of induction could be addressed empirically. Discoveries about psychological preferences for projecting certain classes of objects could function as a criterion for determining which (...)
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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. 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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  46. Reflective Equilibrium.Alice Baderin - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (1):1-28.
    The paper explores whether the method of reflective equilibrium (RE) in ethics and political philosophy should be individual or public in character. I defend a modestly public conception of RE, in which public opinion is used specifically as a source of considered judgments about cases. Public opinion is superior to philosophical opinion in delivering judgments that are untainted by principled commitments. A case-based approach also mitigates the methodological problems that commonly confront efforts to integrate philosophy with the investigation of popular (...)
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  47. Dimensions of Objectual Understanding.Christoph Baumberger & Georg Brun - 2017 - In Stephen Grimm Christoph Baumberger & Sabine Ammon (eds.), Explaining Understanding: New Perspectives from Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 165-189.
    In science and philosophy, a relatively demanding notion of understanding is of central interest: an epistemic subject understands a subject matter by means of a theory. This notion can be explicated in a way which resembles JTB analyses of knowledge. The explication requires that the theory answers to the facts, that the subject grasps the theory, that she is committed to the theory and that the theory is justified for her. In this paper, we focus on the justification condition and (...)
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  48. Thought experiments in ethics.Georg Brun - 2017 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. Abingdon/New York: Routledge. pp. 195–210.
    This chapter suggests a scheme of reconstruction, which explains how scenarios, questions and arguments figure in thought experiments. It then develops a typology of ethical thought experiments according to their function, which can be epistemic, illustrative, rhetorical, heuristic or theory-internal. Epistemic functions of supporting or refuting ethical claims rely on metaethical assumptions, for example, an epistemological background of reflective equilibrium. In this context, thought experiments may involve intuitive as well as explicitly argued judgements; they can be used to generate moral (...)
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  49. Reflective Equilibrium: Justification without Intuitions.Rettig Cristian - 2017 - Prolegomena: Journal of Philosophy 16 (1):39-54.
    Does the method of reflective equilibrium involve ethical intuitions? If not, what are the so-called “considered judgments” invoked at the beginning of the process of reflective equilibrium? Contrary to the principal tendency in moral and political philosophy, I provide a negative answer to the first question. I hold that ethical intuitions are non-inferential beliefs. I then claim that RE does not involve ethical intuitions because its coherentist character rejects, by definition, any type of non-inferentiality. Concerning the second question above, I (...)
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  50. Reflective equilibrium and moral objectivity.Sem de Maagt - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (5):443-465.
    Ever since the introduction of reflective equilibrium in ethics, it has been argued that reflective equilibrium either leads to moral relativism, or that it turns out to be a form of intuitionism in disguise. Despite these criticisms, reflective equilibrium remains the most dominant method of moral justification in ethics. In this paper, I therefore critically examine the most recent attempts to defend the method of reflective equilibrium against these objections. Defenders of reflective equilibrium typically respond to the objections by saying (...)
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