In some cases of disagreement it seems that neither party is at fault or making a mistake. This phenomenon, so-called faultless disagreement, has recently been invoked as a key motivation for relativist treatments of domains prone to such disagreements. The conceivability of faultless disagreement therefore appears incompatible with traditional realists semantics. This paper examines recent attempts to accommodate faultless disagreement without giving up on realism. We argue that the accommodation is unsatisfactory. However, the examination highlights that “faultless” is multiply ambiguous. (...) The more overarching purpose is to examine the consequences of this—more generally, how to think about faultless disagreement. (shrink)
Abstract. This paper argues that the “Argument from Moral Peer Disagreement” fails to make a case for widespread moral skepticism. The main reason for this is that the argument rests on a too strong assumption about the normative significance of peer disagreement (and higher-order evidence more generally). In order to demonstrate this, I distinguish two competing ways in which one might explain higher-order defeat. According to what I call the “Objective Defeat Explanation” it is the mere possession of higher-order evidence (...) that explains defeat. I argue that this type of explanation is problematic and that it at best collapses into another explanation I call the “Subjective Defeat Explanation”. According to this explanation, it is coming to believe that one’s belief fails to be rational that explains defeat. Then I go on to argue that the Subjective Defeat Explanation is able to provide a straightforward explanation of higher-order defeat but that it entails that peer disagreement (and higher-order evidence more generally) only contingently gives rise to defeat, and importantly, that the condition it is contingent upon is very often not satisfied when it comes to moral peer disagreement specifically. As a result, it appears that moral knowledge is seldom threatened by moral peer disagreement. (shrink)
Higher-order evidence appears to have the ability to defeat rational belief. It is not obvious, however, why exactly the defeat happens. In this paper, I consider two competing explanations of higher-order defeat: the “Objective Higher-Order Defeat Explanation” and the “Subjective Higher-Order Defat Explanation.” According to the former explanation, possessing sufficiently strong higher-order evidence to indicate that one’s belief about p fails to be rational is necessary and sufficient for defeating one’s belief about p. I argue that this type of explanation (...) is defective or at best collapses into the other type of explanation. According to the latter explanation, Believing that one’s belief about p fails to be rational (in response to higher-order evidence about p) is necessary and sufficient for defeating one’s belief about p. I argue that this type of explanation is better suited to explain higher-order defeat given that what one is rational to believe partly depends on the relations among one’s doxastic attitudes. Finally, I address an peculiar feature of the Subjective Higher-Order Defeat Explanation: higher-order defeat becomes contingent on one’s response to the higher-order evidence. (shrink)
Richard Rowland has recently argued that considerations based on moral disagreement between epistemic peers give us reason to think that cognitivism about moral judgments, i.e., the thesis that moral judgments are beliefs, is false. The novelty of Rowland’s argument is to tweak the problem descriptively, i.e., not focusing on what one ought to do, but on what disputants actually do in the light of peer disagreement. The basic idea is that moral peer disagreement is intelligible. However, if moral judgments were (...) beliefs, and beliefs track perceived evidence, then moral peer disagreement would not be intelligible. Hence, moral judgments are not beliefs. The argument is both novel and interesting, but this paper argues that it fails to establish the conclusion. Beliefs are plausibly analyzed as constituted by dispositions to respond to what is perceived as evidence, but dispositions can always be interfered with. Provided a background explanation of why the disposition is not manifested, peer intransigence is quite intelligible. (shrink)
Some philosophers have defended the idea that in cases of all-things-considered misleading higher-order evidence it is rational to take divergent doxastic attitudes to p and E supports p. In a recent paper, Sophie Horowitz has argued that such “Level-Splitting views” are implausible since they violate a rational requirement she calls the Non-Akrasia Constraint. In this paper, I argue that Horowitz’s objection is misguided since it conflates two distinct notions of epistemic rationality.
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. (shrink)
Digital media and connected technologies have brought about some new ethical challenges to the surface. Digital media ethics is the scientific and systematic study of ethical attitudes and problems in relation to the use of digital media. This paper discusses the role of digital media ethics in modern school education. First, it is argued that digital media ethics is best perceived as a dimension of digital competence more generally. Since the development of students’ digital competence is one of the central (...) ambitions in modern school education, there is good reason to teach digital media ethics in school. Then, the authors go on to argue that there are at least three potential benefits from teaching digital media ethics: (i) students will increase their digital competence; (ii) students will develop their ability to use digital and connected technologies such as mobile phones for learning; and (iii) students will be helped in living a good life. Finally, the authors offer some reflections on challenges that might arise when digital media ethics is integrated in school education. (shrink)