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Moral Justification

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. When Is "Everyone'S. Doing It" A. Moral Justification? 67 (2003). Ronald M. Green. In William H. Shaw (ed.), Ethics at Work: Basic Readings in Business Ethics. Oxford University Press.
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  2. Fritz Allhoff (2007). On the Autonomy and Justification of Nanoethics. NanoEthics 1 (3):185-210.
    In this paper, I take a critical stance on the emerging field of nanoethics. After an introductory section, “Conceptual Foundations of Nanotechnology” considers the conceptual foundations of nanotechnology, arguing that nanoethics can only be as coherent as nanotechnology itself and then discussing concerns with this latter concept; the conceptual foundations of nanoethics are then explicitly addressed in “Conceptual Foundations of Nanoethics”. “Issues in Nanoethics” considers ethical issues that will be raised through nanotechnology and, in “What’s New?”, it is argued that (...)
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  3. Fritz Allhoff (2006). A Defense of Torture: Separation of Cases, Ticking Time-Bombs, and Moral Justification. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (2):243-264.
    In this paper, I argue for the permissibility of torture in idealized cases by application of separation of cases: if torture is permissible given any of the dominant moral theories (and if one of those is correct), then torture is permissible simpliciter and I can discharge the tricky business of trying to adjudicate among conflicting moral views. To be sure, torture is not permissible on all the dominant moral theories as at least Kantianism will prove especially recalcitrant to granting moral (...)
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  4. Marcus Arvan (2013). Groundwork for a New Moral Epistemology. Klesis 27:155-190.
    This paper argues that virtue ethics and prevailing epistemic norms in moral and political philosophy more generally both support a new kind of empirically-informed moral-virtue epistemology, or “experimental ethics” – an epistemology according to which disputed normative premises in moral and political philosophy should be epistemically evaluated on the basis of empirically-observed relationships they bear to morally admirable and morally repugnant psycho-behavioral traits, as defined by cross-cultural, cross-historical, and cross-debate agreement on the moral valence of particular traits and behaviors.
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  5. Robert Audi (1997). Moral Knowledge and Ethical Character. Oxford University Press.
    This book offers a unified collection of published and unpublished papers by Robert Audi, a renowned defender of the rationalist position in ethics. Taken together, the essays present a vigorous, broadly-based argument in moral epistemology and a related account of reasons for action and their bearing on moral justification and moral character. Part I details Audi's compelling moral epistemology while Part II offers a unique vision of ethical concepts and an account of moral explanation, as well as a powerful model (...)
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  6. Aharon Aviram (1986). The Justification of Compulsory Education: The Still Neglected Moral Duty. Journal of Philosophy of Education 20 (1):51–58.
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  7. Carla Bagnoli (2007). L'autorita' Della Morale. Feltrinelli.
    Capitolo I Il rispetto e l'ideale morale 1.1. Angeli, bruti e agenti 1.2. Il rispetto dell'altro 1.3. Il rispetto di sé 1.4. Auto−riflessione e auto−legislazione 1.5. Autonomia e individualità 1.6. Il rispetto e l'attenzione 1.7. Il rispetto e l'amore..
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  8. Nathan Ballantyne & Joshua C. Thurow (2013). Moral Intuitionism Defeated? American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):411-422.
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has developed and progressively refined an argument against moral intuitionism—the view on which some moral beliefs enjoy non-inferential justification. He has stated his argument in a few different forms, but the basic idea is straightforward. To start with, Sinnott-Armstrong highlights facts relevant to the truth of moral beliefs: such beliefs are sometimes biased, influenced by various irrelevant factors, and often subject to disagreement. Given these facts, Sinnott-Armstrong infers that many moral beliefs are false. What then shall we think (...)
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  9. Albert Bandura (2002). Selective Moral Disengagement in the Exercise of Moral Agency. Journal of Moral Education 31 (2):101-119.
    Moral agency has dual aspects manifested in both the power to refrain from behaving inhumanely and the proactive power to behave humanely. Moral agency is embedded in a broader socio-cognitive self-theory encompassing affective self-regulatory mechanisms rooted in personal standards linked to self-sanctions. Moral functioning is thus governed by self-reactive selfhood rather than by dispassionate abstract reasoning. The self-regulatory mechanisms governing moral conduct do not come into play unless they are activated and there are many psychosocial mechanisms by which moral self-sanctions (...)
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  10. Robert Bass (2010). Reflective Equilibrium. In Nils Rauhut & Robert Bass (eds.), Readings on the Ultimate Questions - Third Edition. Pearson.
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  11. Avner Baz (2005). Moral Justification and the Idea of an Ethical Position. Philosophy 80 (1):101-123.
    In this paper I develop a critique of Kantian ethics, and more precisely a critique of a particular conception of moral reasoning. The fundamental assumption that underlies the conception that I am targeting is that to justify (morally or otherwise) an action is (perhaps with an ‘all things being equal’ clause) to settle its value, in such a way that all rational participants would have to acknowledge that value. As an alternative to the Kantian conception, I propose a conception in (...)
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  12. Tom L. Beauchamp (2003). A Defense of the Common Morality. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13 (3):259-274.
    : Phenomena of moral conflict and disagreement have led writers in ethics to two antithetical conclusions: Either valid moral distinctions hold universally or they hold relative to a particular and contingent moral framework, and so cannot be applied with universal validly. Responding to three articles in this issue of the Journal that criticize his previously published views on the common morality, the author maintains that one can consistently deny universality to some justified moral norms and claim universality for others. Universality (...)
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  13. Matthew S. Bedke (2010). Intuitional Epistemology in Ethics. Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1069-1083.
    Here I examine the major theories of ethical intuitions, focusing on the epistemic status of this class of intuitions. We cover self-evidence theory, seeming-state theory, and some of the recent contributions from experimental philosophy.
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  14. Thomas M. Besch (2008). Constructing Practical Reason: O'Neill on the Grounds of Kantian Constructivism. Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (1):55-76.
    The paper addresses O'Neill's view that her version of Kant's Categorical Imperative, namely, the requirement of followability (RF), marks the supreme principle of reason; it takes issue with her claim that RF commits us to Kantian constructivism in practical philosophy. The paper distinguishes between two readings of RF: on a weak reading, RF ranges over all (practical) reasoning but does not commit to constructivism, and on a strong version RF commits to constructivism but fails to meet its own test, and (...)
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  15. James Blachowicz (1997). Reciprocal Justification in Science and Moral Theory. Synthese 110 (3):447-468.
    In this paper, I analyze the particular conception of reciprocal justification proposed by Nelson Goodman and incorporated by John Rawls into what he called reflective equilibrium. I propose a way of avoiding the twin dangers which threaten to push this idea to either of two extremes: the reliance on epistemically privileged observation reports (or moral judgments in Rawls version), which tends to disrupt the balance struck between the two sides of the equilibrium and to re-establish a foundationalism; and the denial (...)
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  16. Simon Blackburn (1999). Is Objective Moral Justification Possible on a Quasi-Realist Foundation? Inquiry 42 (2):213 – 227.
    This essay juxtaposes the position in metaethics defended, expressivism with quasirealistic trimmings, with the ancient problem of relativism. It argues that, perhaps surprisingly, there is less of a problem of normative truth on this approach than on others. Because ethics is not in the business of representing aspects of the world, there is no way to argue for a plurality of moral truths, simply from the existence of a plurality of moral opinions. The essay also argues that other approaches, which (...)
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  17. Andrew Botterell (2009). A Primer on the Distinction Between Justification and Excuse. Philosophy Compass 4 (1):172-196.
    This article is about the distinction between justification and excuse, a distinction which, while familiar, remains controversial. My discussion focuses on three questions. First, what is the distinction? Second, why is it important? And third, what are some areas of inquiry in which the distinction might be philosophically fruitful? I suggest that the distinction has practical and theoretical consequences, and is therefore worth taking seriously; I highlight two philosophical issues in which the distinction might play a useful role; but I (...)
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  18. Berit Brogaard (forthcoming). Wide-Scope Requirements and the Ethics of Belief. In Jonathan Matheson & Rico Vitz (eds.), The Ethics of Belief.
    William Kingdon Clifford proposed a vigorous ethics of belief, according to which you are morally prohibited from believing something on insufficient evidence. Though Clifford offers numerous considerations in favor of his ethical theory, the conclusion he wants to draw turns out not to follow from any reasonable assumptions. In fact, I will argue, regardless of how you propose to understand the notion of evidence, it is implausible that we could have a moral obligation to refrain from believing something whenever we (...)
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  19. Thom Brooks, Moral Sentiments and the Justification of Punishment.
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  20. Panayot Butchvarov (1990). The Demand for Justification in Ethics. Journal of Philosophical Research 15:1-14.
    The common belief that the epistemic credentials of ethics are quite questionable, and therefore in need of special justification, is an illusion made possible by the logical gap between reason and belief. This gap manifests itself sometimes even outside ethics. In ethics its manifestations are common, because of the practical nature of ethics. The attempt to cover it up takes the form of exorbitant demands for justification and often leads to espousing noncognitivism.
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  21. Richmond Campbell (1988). Moral Justification and Freedom. Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):192-213.
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  22. Vanessa Carbonell (2012). The Ratcheting-Up Effect. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (2):228-254.
    I argue for the existence of a ‘ratcheting-up effect’: the behavior of moral saints serves to increase the level of moral obligation the rest of us face. What we are morally obligated to do is constrained by what it would be reasonable for us to believe we are morally obligated to do. Moral saints provide us with a special kind of evidence that bears on what we can reasonably believe about our obligations. They do this by modeling the level of (...)
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  23. Timothy Chappell (2009). Ethics Beyond Moral Theory. Philosophical Investigations 32 (3):206-243.
    I develop an anti-theory view of ethics. Moral theory (Kantian, utilitarian, virtue ethical, etc.) is the dominant approach to ethics among academic philosophers. But moral theory's hunt for a single Master Factor (utility, universalisability, virtue . . .) is implausibly systematising and reductionist. Perhaps scientism drives the approach? But good science always insists on respect for the data, even messy data: I criticise Singer's remarks on infanticide as a clear instance of moral theory failing to respect the data of moral (...)
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  24. Michael Cholbi (2007). Moral Expertise and the Credentials Problem. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (4):323-334.
    Philosophers have harbored doubts about the possibility of moral expertise since Plato. I argue that irrespective of whether moral experts exist, identifying who those experts are is insurmountable because of the credentials problem: Moral experts have no need to seek out others’ moral expertise, but moral non-experts lack sufficient knowledge to determine whether the advice provided by a putative moral expert in response to complex moral situations is correct and hence whether an individual is a bone fide expert. Traditional accounts (...)
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  25. Justin Clarke-Doane (2014). Moral Epistemology: The Mathematics Analogy. Noûs 48 (2):238-255.
    There is a long tradition comparing moral knowledge to mathematical knowledge. In this paper, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between knowledge in the two areas, realistically conceived. I argue that many of these are only apparent, while others are less philosophically significant than might be thought. The picture that emerges is surprising. There are definitely differences between epistemological arguments in the two areas. However, these differences, if anything, increase the plausibility of moral realism as compared to mathematical realism. It (...)
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  26. Justin Clarke-Doane (2012). Morality and Mathematics: The Evolutionary Challenge. Ethics 122 (2):313-340.
    It is commonly suggested that evolutionary considerations generate an epistemological challenge for moral realism. At first approximation, the challenge for the moral realist is to explain our having many true moral beliefs, given that those beliefs are the products of evolutionary forces that would be indifferent to the moral truth. An important question surrounding this challenge is the extent to which it generalizes. In particular, it is of interest whether the Evolutionary Challenge for moral realism is equally a challenge for (...)
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  27. Martin Cook (2010). Preemption: Military Action and Moral Justification - Edited by Henry Shue and David Rodin. Ethics and International Affairs 24 (2):217-218.
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  28. David Copp (2008). Do We Have Any Justified Moral Beliefs? [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):811-819.
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  29. David Copp (1990). Explanation and Justification in Ethics. Ethics 100 (2):237-258.
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  30. A. S. Cua (1983). Li and Moral Justification: A Study in the Li Chi. Philosophy East and West 33 (1):1-16.
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  31. Norman Daniels (1996). Justice and Justification: Reflective Equilibrium in Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press.
    We all have beliefs, even strong convictions, about what is just and fair in our social arrangements. How should these beliefs and the theories of justice that incorporate them guide our thinking about practical matters of justice? This wide-ranging collection of essays by one of the foremost medical ethicists in the USA explores the claim that justification in ethics, whether of matters of theory or practice, involves achieving coherence between our moral and non-moral beliefs. Amongst the practical issues addressed in (...)
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  32. Richard Eggerman (1978). Hare, Foot, and the Justification of Moral Claims. Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):111-119.
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  33. Robert M. Ellis (2012). Middle Way Philosophy 1: The Path of Objectivity. Lulu.
    The first of a planned series of 5 volumes on Middle Way Philosophy. Middle Way Philosophy was originally inspired by the Middle Way of the Buddha but is developed in an entirely Western context. It addresses the questions of objectivity, justification, facts and values, and the relationship of philosophy and psychology. It develops the concept of experiential adequacy to provide a non-metaphysical resolution of the dichotomy between absolutism and relativism in both facts and values.
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  34. Mylan Engel Jr (2012). Coherentism and the Epistemic Justification of Moral Beliefs: A Case Study in How to Do Practical Ethics Without Appeal to a Moral Theory. Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):50-74.
    This paper defends a coherentist approach to moral epistemology. In “The Immorality of Eating Meat” (2000), I offer a coherentist consistency argument to show that our own beliefs rationally commit us to the immorality of eating meat. Elsewhere, I use our own beliefs as premises to argue that we have positive duties to assist the poor (2004) and to argue that biomedical animal experimentation is wrong (2012). The present paper explores whether this consistency-based coherentist approach of grounding particular moral judgments (...)
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  35. Bronwyn Finnigan (forthcoming). Meta-Ethics for Madhyamaka: Investigating the Justificatory Grounds of Moral Judgments. Philosophy East and West.
    This paper investigates whether the metaphysical commitments of Madhyamaka Buddhism afford a satisfactory justificatory ground for moral judgments. Finnigan and Tanaka (2011a) argue that they do not. Their argument has since been challenged by Tillemans (2010-11), who alleges that both Svātantrika and Prāsaṅgika Mādhyamikas can readily justify moral judgments by respective appeal to the doctrine of the two truths. This paper shall contest this claim with respect to Prāsaṅgika Madhyamaka. It shall provide several arguments to show that Prāsaṅgika cannot satisfactorily (...)
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  36. James R. Flynn (1974). Do We Really Want a Moral Justification of Our Basic Ideals? Inquiry 17 (1-4):151 – 173.
    It is commonly held that when there is a conflict of basic ideals, e.g. a humane man v. an elitist or a Social Darwinist or someone who holds a revenge ethic, no moral justification is possible. This paper attempts to go further and show that such a justification would be undesirable, would carry a price few would be willing to pay. The thesis is developed to shed light not only on classical thinkers (Plato, Locke, Kant) but also on the attractions (...)
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  37. Ellen-Marie Forsberg (2007). Value Pluralism and Coherentist Justification of Ethical Advice. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 20 (1):81-97.
    Liberal societies are characterized by respect for a fundamental value pluralism; i.e., respect for individuals’ rights to live by their own conception of the good. Still, the state must make decisions that privilege some values at the cost of others. When public ethics committees give substantial ethical advice on policy related issues, it is therefore important that this advice is well justified. The use of explicit tools for ethical assessment can contribute to justifying advice. In this article, I will discuss (...)
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  38. Samuel Freeman (2007). The Burdens of Public Justification: Constructivism, Contractualism, and Publicity. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 6 (1):5-43.
    The publicity of a moral conception is a central idea in Kantian and contractarian moral theory. Publicity carries the idea of general acceptability of principles through to social relations. Without publicity of its moral principles, the intuitive attractiveness of the contractarian ideal seems diminished. For it means that moral principles cannot serve as principles of practical reasoning and justification among free and equal persons. This article discusses the role of the publicity assumption in Rawls’s and Scanlon’s contractualism. I contend that (...)
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  39. G. Frongia (1998). Justification of Change in Moral Attitude: Moral Reasoning. Topoi 17 (2):107-125.
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  40. Bernard Gert (1998). Morality: Its Nature and Justification. Oxford University Press.
    This book offers the fullest and most sophisticated account of Gert's influential moral theory, a model first articulated in the classic work The Moral Rules: A New Rational Foundation for Morality, published in 1970. In this final revision, Gert makes clear that the moral rules are only one part of an informal system that does not provide unique answers to every moral question but does always provide a range of morally acceptable options. A new chapter on reasons includes an account (...)
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  41. Bernard Gert (1988). Morality: A New Justification of the Moral Rules. Oxford University Press.
    This volume is a revised, enlarged, and broadened version of Gert's classic 1970 book, The Moral Rules. Advocating an approach he terms "morality as impartial rationality," Gert here presents a full discussion of his moral theory, adding a wealth of new illuminating detail to his analysis of the concepts--rationality/irrationality, good/evil, and impartiality--by which he defines morality. He constructs a "moral system" that includes rules prohibiting the kinds of actions that cause evil, procedures for determining when violation of the rules is (...)
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  42. Bernward Gesang (2010). Are Moral Philosophers Moral Experts? Bioethics 24 (4):153-159.
    In this paper I examine the question of whether ethicists are moral experts. I call people moral experts if their moral judgments are correct with high probability and for the right reasons. I defend three theses, while developing a version of the coherence theory of moral justification based on the differences between moral and nonmoral experience: The answer to the question of whether there are moral experts depends on the answer to the question of how to justify moral judgments. Deductivism (...)
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  43. Jan Gorecki (1991). Moral Norms: The Problem of Justification Reconsidered. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 25 (4):349-358.
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  44. Peter J. Graham (2007). Review of Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Moral Skepticisms. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (3).
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  45. Ronald M. Green (1991). When is "Everyone's Doing It" a Moral Justification? Business Ethics Quarterly 1 (1):75-93.
    The claim that "Everyone's doing it" is frequently offered as a reason for engaging in behavior that is widespread but less-than-ideal. This is particularly true in business, where competitors' conduct often forces hard choices on managers. When is the claim "Everyone's doing it" a morally valid reason for following others' lead? This discussion proposes and develops five prima facie conditions to identify when the existence of prevalent but otherwise undesirable behavior provides a moral justification for our engaging in such behavior (...)
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  46. Logi Gunnarsson (2000). Making Moral Sense: Beyond Habermas and Gauthier. Cambridge University Press.
    Is it rational to be moral? Can moral disputes be settled rationally? Which criteria determine what we have a good reason to do? In this innovative book, Logi Gunnarsson takes issue with the assumption made by many philosophers faced with the problem of reconciling moral norms with a scientific world view, namely that morality must be offered a non-moral justification based on a formal concept of rationality. He argues that the criteria for the rationality of an action are irreducibly substantive, (...)
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  47. Gordon Hull (2009). Clearing the Rubbish: Locke, the Waste Proviso, and the Moral Justification of Intellectual Property. Public Affairs Quarterly 23 (1):67-93.
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  48. Thomas Hurka, The Justification of National Partiality.
    The moral issues about nationalism arise from the character of nationalism as a form of partiality. Nationalists care more about their own nation and its members than about other nations and their members; in that way nationalists are partial to their own national group. The question, then, is whether this national partiality is morally justified or, on the contrary, whether everyone ought to care impartially about all members of all nations. As Jeff McMahan emphasizes in [another chapter of the book (...)
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  49. Alison M. Jaggar & Theresa W. Tobin (2013). Situating Moral Justification: Rethinking the Mission of Moral Epistemology. Metaphilosophy 44 (4):383-408.
    This is the first of two companion articles drawn from a larger project, provisionally entitled Undisciplining Moral Epistemology. The overall goal is to understand how moral claims may be rationally justified in a world characterized by cultural diversity and social inequality. To show why a new approach to moral justification is needed, it is argued that several currently influential philosophical accounts of moral justification lend themselves to rationalizing the moral claims of those with more social power. The present article explains (...)
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  50. Diane Jeske (2008). Rationality and Moral Theory: How Intimacy Generates Reasons. Routledge.
    This book provides answers to both normative and metaethical questions in a way that shows the interconnection of both types of questions, and also shows how a complete theory of reasons can be developed by moving back and forth between the two types of questions. It offers an account of the nature of intimate relationships and of the nature of the reasons that intimacy provides, and then uses that account to defend a traditional intuitionist metaethics. The book thus combines attention (...)
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