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  1. Hilliard Aronovitch (1996). Reflective Equilibrium or Evolving Tradition? Inquiry 39 (3 & 4):399 – 419.
    This paper presents criticisms of the method for moral and political philosophy known as ?reflective equilibrium? (RE), or in its fuller form ?wide reflective equilibrium? (WRE). This negative purpose has an ulterior positive aim: to set off, by favourable contrast, an alternative approach based on analogical argument as an instrument of an evolving (liberal) tradition. WRE derives from John Rawls but has been broadly endorsed. Though a meta?theory, it involves a certain way of construing liberalism. This essay's target is in (...)
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  2. 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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  3. Elvio Baccarini (1991). Rational Consensus and Coherence Methods in Ethics. Grazer Philosophische Studien 40:151-159.
    The method of reflective equilibrium implies that moral principles received from philosophical reasoning and considered moral judgments received intuitively are finally justified if they cohere with each other. This idea is combined with the proposal of rational consensus (Lehrer), which shows the way in which divergences of judgements could be made to converge. This second method is used to the end of rendering more plausible the intuitions used in reflective equilibrium, and, so, to show the appropriateness of the coherentist method (...)
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  4. Y. Michael Barilan & Margherita Brusa (2011). Triangular Reflective Equilibrium: A Conscience-Based Method for Bioethical Deliberation. Bioethics 25 (6):304-319.
    Following a discussion of some historical roots of conscience, we offer a systematized version of reflective equilibrium. Aiming at a comprehensive methodology for bioethical deliberation, we develop an expanded variant of reflective equilibrium, which we call ‘triangular reflective equilibrium’ and which incorporates insights from hermeneutics, critical theory and narrative ethics.We focus on a few distinctions, mainly between methods of justification in ethics and the social practice of bioethical deliberation, between coherence in ethical reasoning, personal integrity and consensus formation, and between (...)
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  5. Robert Bass (2010). Reflective Equilibrium. In Nils Rauhut & Robert Bass (eds.), Readings on the Ultimate Questions - Third Edition. Pearson.
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  6. 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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  7. Jeffrey Brand-Ballard (2003). Consistency, Common Morality, and Reflective Equilibrium. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13 (3):231-258.
    : Biomedical ethicists often assume that common morality constitutes a largely consistent normative system. This premise is not taken for granted in general normative ethics. This paper entertains the possibility of inconsistency within common morality and explores methodological implications. Assuming common morality to be inconsistent casts new light on the debate between principlists and descriptivists. One can view the two approaches as complementary attempts to evade or transcend that inconsistency. If common morality proves to be inconsistent, then principlists might have (...)
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  8. Georg Brun (2014). Reflective Equilibrium Without Intuitions? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):237-252.
    In moral epistemology, the method of reflective equilibrium is often characterized in terms of intuitions or understood as a method for justifying intuitions. An analysis of reflective equilibrium and current theories of moral intuitions reveals that this picture is problematic. Reflective equilibrium cannot be adequately characterized in terms of intuitions. Although the method presupposes that we have initially credible commitments, it does not presuppose that they are intuitions. Nonetheless, intuitions can enter the process of developing a reflective equilibrium and, if (...)
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  9. Richmond Campbell (2013). Reflective Equilibrium and Moral Consistency Reasoning. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):1-19.
    It is more than a half-century since Nelson Goodman [1955] applied what we call the Reflective Equilibrium model of justification to the problem of justifying induction, and more than three decades since Rawls [1971] and Daniels [1979] applied celebrated extensions of this model to the problem of justifying principles of social justice. The resulting Wide Reflective Equilibrium model (WRE) is generally thought to capture an acceptable way to reconcile inconsistency between an intuitively plausible general principle and an intuitively plausible judgment (...)
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  10. Robert C. Cummins (1998). Reflection on Reflective Equilibrium. In Michael DePaul & William Ramsey (eds.), Rethinking Intuition. Rowman & Littlefield. 113-128.
    As a procedure, reflective equilibrium (RE) is simply a familiar kind of standard scientific method with a new name. (For descriptions of reflective equilibrium, see Daniels 1979, 1980b, 1984; Goodman 1965; Rawls 1971.) A theory is constructed to account for a set of observations. Recalcitrant data may be rejected as noise or explained away as the effects of interference of some sort. Recalcitrant data that cannot be plausibly dismissed force emendations in theory. What counts as a plausible dismissal depends, among (...)
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  11. 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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  12. Norman Daniels (1979). Wide Reflective Equilibrium and Theory Acceptance in Ethics. Journal of Philosophy 76 (5):256-282.
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  13. John K. Davis (2007). Intuition and the Junctures of Judgment in Decision Procedures for Clinical Ethics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (1):1-30.
    Moral decision procedures such as principlism or casuistry require intuition at certain junctures, as when a principle seems indeterminate, or principles conflict, or we wonder which paradigm case is most relevantly similar to the instant case. However, intuitions are widely thought to lack epistemic justification, and many ethicists urge that such decision procedures dispense with intuition in favor of forms of reasoning that provide discursive justification. I argue that discursive justification does not eliminate or minimize the need for intuition, or (...)
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  14. Ronald de Sousa (2001). Moral Emotions. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (2):109-126.
    Emotions can be the subject of moral judgments; they can also constitute the basis for moral judgments. The apparent circularity which arises if we accept both of these claims is the central topic of this paper: how can emotions be both judge and party in the moral court? The answer I offer regards all emotions as potentially relevant to ethics, rather than singling out a privileged set of moral emotions. It relies on taking a moderate position both on the question (...)
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  15. Martine de Vries & Evert van Leeuwen (2010). Reflective Equilibrium and Empirical Data: Third Person Moral Experiences in Empirical Medical Ethics. Bioethics 24 (9):490 - 498.
    In ethics, the use of empirical data has become more and more popular, leading to a distinct form of applied ethics, namely empirical ethics. This ‘empirical turn’ is especially visible in bioethics. There are various ways of combining empirical research and ethical reflection. In this paper we discuss the use of empirical data in a special form of Reflective Equilibrium (RE), namely the Network Model with Third Person Moral Experiences. In this model, the empirical data consist of the moral experiences (...)
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  16. Michael R. DePaul (1993). Balance and Refinement: Beyond Coherence Methods of Moral Inquiry. Routledge.
    We all have moral beliefs. What if we are unsure about what to believe about a serious moral issue, or if one belief conflicts with another that we hold with equal conviction? When such conflicts and doubts occur, we try to make our beliefs cohere, and are forced to engage in a moral inquiry. Michael R. DePaul argues that we have to make our beliefs cohere, but that the current coherence methods are seriously flawed. Methods such as that which (...)
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  17. Michael R. Depaul (1988). Naivete and Corruption in Moral Inquiry. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 48 (4):619-635.
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  18. Michael R. DePaul (1987). Two Conceptions of Coherence Methods in Ethics. Mind 96 (384):463-481.
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  19. Neelke Doorn (2010). A Rawlsian Approach to Distribute Responsibilities in Networks. Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (2):221-249.
    Due to their non-hierarchical structure, socio-technical networks are prone to the occurrence of the problem of many hands. In the present paper an approach is introduced in which people’s opinions on responsibility are empirically traced. The approach is based on the Rawlsian concept of Wide Reflective Equilibrium (WRE) in which people’s considered judgments on a case are reflectively weighed against moral principles and background theories, ideally leading to a state of equilibrium. Application of the method to a hypothetical case with (...)
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  20. Ben Eggleston (2010). Practical Equilibrium: A Way of Deciding What to Think About Morality. Mind 119 (475):549 - 584.
    Practical equilibrium, like reflective equilibrium, is a way of deciding what to think about morality. It shares with reflective equilibrium the general thesis that there is some way in which a moral theory must, in order to be acceptable, answer to one’s moral intuitions, but it differs from reflective equilibrium in its specification of exactly how a moral theory must answer to one’s intuitions. Whereas reflective equilibrium focuses on a theory’s consistency with those intuitions, practical equilibrium also gives weight to (...)
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  21. Simon Fitzpatrick (2014). Moral Realism, Moral Disagreement, and Moral Psychology. Philosophical Papers 43 (2):161-190.
    (2014). Moral Realism, Moral Disagreement, and Moral Psychology. Philosophical Papers: Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 161-190.
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  22. Danny Frederick, Ethical Intuitionism: A Structural Critique.
    I present a structural critique of ethical intuitionism. Ethical intuitionists regard moral knowledge as deriving from moral intuition, moral observation, moral emotion and inference. However, moral intuitions, observations and emotions are cultural artefacts which often differ starkly between cultures. Intuitionists attribute uncongenial moral intuitions, observations or emotions to bias or to intellectual or moral failings; but that leads to sectarian mutual recrimination. Intuitionists try to avoid this by restricting epistemically genuine intuitions, observations or emotions to those which are widely agreed. (...)
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  23. R. Gillon (1996). Ethnography, Medical Practice and Moral Reflective Equilibrium. Journal of Medical Ethics 22 (5):259-260.
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  24. Steven D. Hales (2009). Moral Relativism and Evolutionary Psychology. Synthese 166 (2):431 - 447.
    I argue that evolutionary strategies of kin selection and game-theoretic reciprocity are apt to generate agent-centered and agent- neutral moral intuitions, respectively. Such intuitions are the building blocks of moral theories, resulting in a fundamental schism between agent-centered theories on the one hand and agent-neutral theories on the other. An agent-neutral moral theory is one according to which everyone has the same duties and moral aims, no matter what their personal interests or interpersonal relationships. Agent-centered moral theories deny this and (...)
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  25. Steven D. Hales (2004). Intuition, Revelation, and Relativism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (3):271 – 295.
    This paper defends the view that philosophical propositions are merely relatively true, i.e. true relative to a doxastic perspective defined at least in part by a non-inferential belief-acquiring method. Here is the strategy: first, the primary way that contemporary philosophers defend their views is through the use of rational intuition, and this method delivers non-inferential, basic beliefs which are then systematized and brought into reflective equilibrium. Second, Christian theologians use exactly the same methodology, only replacing intuition with revelation. Third, intuition (...)
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  26. Charles E. Harris (2005). Reflective Equilibrium as a Theory of Moral Change. Southwest Philosophy Review 21 (2):67-82.
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  27. D. W. Haslett (1987). What is Wrong with Reflective Equilibria? Philosophical Quarterly 37 (148):305-311.
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  28. Margaret Holmgren (1987). Wide Reflective Equilibrium and Objective Moral Truth. Metaphilosophy 18 (2):108–124.
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  29. Jonathan Ives & Heather Draper (2009). Appropriate Methodologies for Empirical Bioethics: It's All Relative. Bioethics 23 (4):249-258.
    In this article we distinguish between philosophical bioethics (PB), descriptive policy orientated bioethics (DPOB) and normative policy oriented bioethics (NPOB). We argue that finding an appropriate methodology for combining empirical data and moral theory depends on what the aims of the research endeavour are, and that, for the most part, this combination is only required for NPOB. After briefly discussing the debate around the is/ought problem, and suggesting that both sides of this debate are misunderstanding one another (i.e. one side (...)
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  30. Guy Kahane (2013). The Armchair and the Trolley: An Argument for Experimental Ethics. Philosophical Studies 162 (2):421-445.
    Ethical theory often starts with our intuitions about particular cases and tries to uncover the principles that are implicit in them; work on the ‘trolley problem’ is a paradigmatic example of this approach. But ethicists are no longer the only ones chasing trolleys. In recent years, psychologists and neuroscientists have also turned to study our moral intuitions and what underlies them. The relation between these two inquiries, which investigate similar examples and intuitions, and sometimes produce parallel results, is puzzling. Does (...)
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  31. K. Kappel (2006). The Meta-Justification of Reflective Equilibrium. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (2):131 - 147.
    The paper addresses the possibility of providing a meta-justification of what appears to be crucial epistemic desiderata involved in the method of reflective equilibrium. I argue that although the method of reflective equilibrium appears to be widely in use in moral theorising, the prospects of providing a meta-justification of crucial epistemic desiderata are rather bleak. Nor is the requirement that a meta-justification be provided obviously misguided. In addition, I briefly note some of the implications of these results for our use (...)
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  32. Antti Kauppinen (forthcoming). Moral Intuition in Philosophy and Psychology. In Neil Levy & Jens Clausen (eds.), Springer Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer.
    Psychologists and philosophers use the term 'intuition' for a variety of different phenomena. In this paper, I try to provide a kind of a roadmap of the debates, point to some confusions and problems, and give a brief sketch of an empirically respectable philosophical approach.
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  33. Carl Knight (2006). The Method of Reflective Equilibrium: Wide, Radical, Fallible, Plausible. Philosophical Papers 35 (2):205-229.
    This article argues that, suitably modified, the method of reflective equilibrium is a plausible way of selecting moral principles. The appropriate conception of the method is wide and radical, admitting consideration of a full range of moral principles and arguments, and requiring the enquiring individual to consider others' views and undergo experiences that may offset any formative biases. The individual is not bound by his initial considered judgments, and may revise his view in any way whatsoever. It is appropriate to (...)
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  34. Thomasine Kushner, Raymond A. Belliotti & Donald Buckner (1991). Toward a Methodology for Moral Decision Making in Medicine. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 12 (4).
    The failure of medical codes to provide adequate guidance for physicians' moral dilemmas points to the fact that some rules of analysis, informed by moral theory, are needed to assist in resolving perplexing ethical problems occurring with increasing frequency as medical technology advances. Initially, deontological and teleological theories appear more helpful, but critcisms can be lodged against both, and neither proves to be sufficient in itself. This paper suggests that to elude the limitations of previous approaches, a method of moral (...)
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  35. Hallvard Lillehammer (2011). The Epistemology of Ethical Intuitions. Philosophy 86 (336):175-200.
    Intuitions are widely assumed to play an important evidential role in ethical inquiry. In this paper I critically discuss a recently influential claim that the epistemological credentials of ethical intuitions are undermined by their causal pedigree and functional role. I argue that this claim is exaggerated. In the course of doing so I argue that the challenge to ethical intuitions embodied in this claim should be understood not only as a narrowly epistemological challenge, but also as a substantially ethical one. (...)
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  36. Don Loeb (2007). The Argument From Moral Experience. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):469 - 484.
    It is often said that our moral experience, broadly construed to include our ways of thinking and talking about morality, has a certain objective-seeming character to it, and that this supports a presumption in favor of objectivist theories (according to which morality is a realm of facts or truths) and against anti-objectivist theories like Mackie’s error theory (according to which it is not). In this paper, I argue that our experience of morality does not support objectivist moral theories in this (...)
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  37. Evert Leeuwen Martine de Vrievans (forthcoming). Reflective Equilibrium and Empirical Data: Third Person Moral Experiences in Empirical Medical Ethics. Bioethics.
    In ethics, the use of empirical data has become more and more popular, leading to a distinct form of applied ethics, namely empirical ethics. This 'empirical turn' is especially visible in bioethics. There are various ways of combining empirical research and ethical reflection. In this paper we discuss the use of empirical data in a special form of Reflective Equilibrium (RE), namely the Network Model with Third Person Moral Experiences. In this model, the empirical data consist of the moral experiences (...)
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  38. Jennifer McCrickerd (2001). Moral Judgments and the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction. Journal of Philosophical Research 26:423-433.
    Hare shares with other critics an objection to the use of moral judgments in the method of reflective equilibrium. However, the reasoning behind his criticismdistinguishes it from the more common criticisms that the use of moral judgments is unwarranted because of their suspect origin. While these objections challenge the epistemic worth of moral beliefs, Hare’s objection goes beyond to also critique the deeper theoretical commitments of the method. Hare’s acceptance of a strict differentiation between the meaning and applications of words (...)
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  39. Diana Tietjens Meyers (1993). Moral Reflection: Beyond Impartial Reason. Hypatia 8 (3):21 - 47.
    This paper considers two accounts of the self that have gained prominence in contemporary feminist psychoanalytic theory and draws out the implications of these views with respect to the problem of moral reflection. I argue that our account of moral reflection will be impoverished unless it mobilizes the capacity to empathize with others and the rhetoric of figurative language. To make my case for this claim, I argue that John Rawls's account of reflective equilibrium suffers from his exclusive reliance on (...)
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  40. Richard W. Momeyer (2002). What Conception of Moral Truth Works in Bioethics? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 27 (4):403 – 416.
    For the most part, philosophers have regarded moral truth as propositional and as what follows from the application of moral theory to particular problematic cases. Here I maintain that this is not a useful way of conceiving moral truth in bioethics. Rather, we are better off conceiving of moral truth as what emerges from a process of inquiry conducted in a certain manner. There are four elements to this process: (1) careful exploration of the embedded norms of medical practice, research, (...)
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  41. Nikil Mukerji (forthcoming). Intuitions, Experiments, and Armchairs. In Christoph Lütge, Hannes Rusch & Matthias Uhl (eds.), Experimental Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Some ethicists believe that we should give no weight to low-level intuitions about cases. In this paper, three common arguments for this position are examined and rejected. All have an empirical basis. The first is the argument from disagreement. The second draws on framing effects. And the third employs debunking explanations. The discussion aims to make a substantive methodological point about ethical inquiry, viz. that low-level intuitions are not to be shunned. Above that, however, its aim is to illuminate, by (...)
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  42. Mark T. Nelson (1999). Morally Serious Critics of Moral Intuitions. Ratio 12 (1):54–79.
    I characterise moral intuitionism as the methodological claim that one may legitimately appeal to moral judgments in the course of moral reasoning even when those judgments are not supported by inference from other judgments. I describe two patterns of criticism of this method: ‘morally unserious’ criticisms, which hold that ‘morality is bunk’, so appeals to moral intuitions are bunk as well; and ‘morally serious’ criticisms, which hold that morality is not bunk, but that appeals to moral intuition are nonetheless misguided. (...)
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  43. Mark T. Nelson (1991). Intuitionism and Subjectivism. Metaphilosophy 22 (1-2):115-121.
    I define ethical intuitionism as the view that it is appropriate to appeal to inferentially unsupported moral beliefs in the course of moral reasoning. I mention four common objections to this view, including the view that all such appeals to intuitionism collapse into “subjectivism”, i.e., that they make truth in ethical theory depend on what people believe. I defend intuitionism from versions of this criticism expressed by R.M. Hare and Peter Singer.
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  44. Mark T. Nelson (1990). Intuitionism and Conservatism. Metaphilosophy 21 (3):282-293.
    I define ethical intuitionism as the view that it is appropriate to appeal to inferentially unsupported moral beliefs in the course of moral reasoning. I mention four common objections to this view, including the view that all such appeals to intuition make ethical theory politically and noetically conservative. I defend intuitionism from versions of this criticism expressed by R.B. Brandt, R.M. Hare and Richard Miller.
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  45. Peter Nichols (2012). Wide Reflective Equilibrium as a Method of Justification in Bioethics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 33 (5):325-341.
    Carson Strong has recently argued that wide reflective equilibrium (WRE) is an unacceptable method of justification in bioethics. In its place, Strong recommends a methodology in which certain foundational moral judgments play a central role in the justification of moral beliefs, and coherence plays a limited justificatory role in that the rest of our judgments are made to cohere with these foundational judgments. In this paper, I argue that Strong’s chief criticisms of WRE are unsuccessful and that his proposed alternative (...)
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  46. Kai Nielsen (1982). Considered Judgements Again. Human Studies 5 (1):109 - 118.
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  47. Kai Nielsen (1982). Grounding Rights and a Method of Reflective Equilibrium. Inquiry 25 (3):277 – 306.
    A method of reflective equilibrium is adumbrated and then used to test the adequacy of moral conceptions appealing to fundamental human rights against Nietzschean conceptions of morality which would reject such an appeal. There is an attempt here both to articulate and critically probe a distinctive moral methodology (the method of reflective equilibrium) and to examine skeptical challenges to a foundationalism which would ground morality in fundamental rights claims. I attempt a partial testing of such a moral methodology by examining (...)
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  48. Kai Nielsen (1982). On Needing a Moral Theory: Rationality, Considered Judgements and the Grounding of Morality. Metaphilosophy 13 (2):97–116.
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  49. Juha Räikkä (1996). Are There Alternative Methods in Ethics? Grazer Philosophische Studien 52:173-189.
    Do all methods of moral justification resemble the method of reflective equilibrium in presupposing that moral judgment's being justified depends at least in part on its being appropriately related to our actual substantial moral views? Can a moral judgment be justified without such a presupposition? I shall distinguish three versions of the no-option argument According to any version of the no-option argument, there is certain fact which characterizes moral theories, and that fact implies that there is no option other than (...)
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  50. John Rawls (1951). Outline of a Decision Procedure for Ethics. Philosophical Review 60 (2):177-197.
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