Guided by Voices: Moral Testimony, Advice, and Forging a 'We'

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (2021)
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We often rely on others for guidance about what to do. But wouldn't it be better to rely instead on only your own solo judgment? Deferring to others about moral matters, after all, can seem to conflict what Enlightenment demands. In Guided by Voices, however, Eric Wiland argues that there is nothing especially bad about relying on others in forming your moral views. You may rely on others for forming your moral views, just as you can your views about anything else. You can accept moral testimony without loss. Furthermore, there are several distinctive social goods attainable by being guided by what others say. Thus, it can be better to be guided by moral testimony than by your own moral lights. Wiland also argues that relying on others for moral advice has one advantage over relying on others for moral testimony. For when you trust your adviser's advice, you both thereby form a joint agent that can achieve autonomy, moral understanding, and morally worthy action. Sometimes taking another's advice is your only way to act well. Arguing against the presumption that moral reasoning is ideally done alone, Guided by Voices is the first book to significantly address both moral testimony and advice.



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Eric Wiland
University of Missouri, St. Louis

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