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 (2021)

Michael W. Schmidt
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
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 wide reflective equilibrium is compatible with coherentism (understood as a form of weak foundationalism) as well as moderate foundationalism, it is not compatible with strong foundationalism. Hence, the claim that a philosopher uses the method of wide reflective equilibrium is informative. In particular, this is true with regard to Sidgwick.
Keywords reflective equilibrium  Henry Sidgwick  John Rawls  Peter Singer  moral epistemology  foundationalism  fallibilism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
The Structure of Empirical Knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Philosophy 31 (118):268-269.
Sidgwick and Reflective Equilibrium.Peter Singer - 1974 - The Monist 58 (3):490-517.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Henry Sidgwick's Moral Epistemology.Anthony Skelton - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):491-519.
Reflective Equilibrium and Moral Objectivity.Sem de Maagt - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (5):443-465.
Sidgwick and Reflective Equilibrium.Peter Singer - 1974 - The Monist 58 (3):490-517.
Reflective Equilibrium Without Intuitions?Georg Brun - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):237-252.
Is Reflective Equilibrium a Coherentist Model?Roger P. Ebertz - 1993 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):193 - 214.
Reflective Equilibrium.Robert Bass - 2010 - In Nils Rauhut & Robert Bass (eds.), Readings on the Ultimate Questions - Third Edition. Pearson.
Ethics and Intuitions: A Reply to Singer.Joakim Sandberg & Niklas Juth - 2011 - The Journal of Ethics 15 (3):209-226.
Utilitarian Practical Ethics: Sidgwick and Singer.Anthony Skelton - 2011 - In Placido Bucolo, Roger Crisp & Bart Schultz (eds.), Henry Sidgwick: Ethics, Psychics, and Politics. Catania: University of Catania Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
54 ( #208,026 of 2,497,803 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #26,463 of 2,497,803 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes