Against neutrality: Response to Cokelet

Journal of Moral Education 51 (1):111-116 (2022)
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ABSTRACT We appreciate and respond to Cokelet’s thoughtful criticisms of our book. First, he points to deliberative forms of practical wisdom as objectionable to anti-rationalist’s. In response, we point to non-conscious forms of deliberation that occur as individuals automatically process and respond to virtue-relevant stimuli. Second, Cokelet states that reflecting upon one’s life as a whole may be unnecessary and ineffective for virtue development. We clarify that reflection is not the only means of virtue cultivation, and even flawed reflection is likely helpful. Finally, Cokelet recommends aiming for ‘theoretical neutrality’ by recasting these core tenets as empirical hypotheses. We argue against a neutral perspective that accommodates antirationalist views that we think are on the wrong track. Non-neutral claims help generate testable empirical hypotheses that can move virtue science forward.



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Nancy Snow
University of Oklahoma

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