Cognitivism and the argument from evidence non-responsiveness

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-18 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Several philosophers have recently challenged cognitivism, i.e., the view that moral judgments are beliefs, by arguing that moral judgments are evidence non-responsive in a way that beliefs are not. If you believe that P, but acquire (sufficiently strong) evidence against P, you will give up your belief that P. This does not seem true for moral judgments. Some subjects maintain their moral judgments despite believing that there is (sufficiently strong) evidence against the moral judgments. This suggests that there is a mismatch between moral judgments and beliefs. This is an interesting argument. In particular, it forces the cognitivist to be more explicit about the nature of belief and the sense in which moral judgments are responsive to evidence. This paper has two aims. First, it aims to systematically examine different versions of the argument from evidence non-responsiveness. Second, it aims to outline a more nuanced understanding of the sense in which beliefs are evidence responsive that explains why the extant versions of the argument do not constitute a challenge to cognitivism.

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Author Profiles

John Eriksson
University of Gothenburg
Marco Tiozzo
University of Gothenburg

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References found in this work

A Darwinian dilemma for realist theories of value.Sharon Street - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (1):109-166.
Self-Deception Unmasked.Alfred R. Mele - 2001 - Princeton University Press.
Thinking is Believing.Eric Mandelbaum - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):55-96.
Problems of the Self.Bernard Williams - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 37 (3):551-551.

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