More Experiments in Ethics

Neuroethics 3 (3):233-242 (2010)
Abstract
This paper responds to the four critiques of my book Experiments in Ethics published in this issue. The main theme I take up is how we should understand the relation between psychology and philosophy. Young and Saxe believe that “bottom line” evaluative judgments don’t depend on facts. I argue for a different view, according to which our evaluative and non-evaluative judgments must cohere in a way that makes it rational, sometimes, to abandon even what looks like a basic evaluative judgment because we have changed our minds about the facts. This leads me to qualify Tiberius’s claim that our moral judgments always derive, in part, from fundamental evaluative “justificatory stopping points,” arguing that even these can themselves be adjusted in the light of scientific understanding. Weinberg and Wang object to my use of Kant’s distinction between the perspective of the senses and the perspective of the understanding, because they identify it with a distinction between scientific and philosophical worlds. I argue that a distinction of perspectives isn’t a distinction between worlds and that, in any case, the distinction is not between science and ethics. Finally, in responding to Machery’s objections to a couple of my proposals, I return to the suggestion that a coherentist epistemology is required to deal with the relations between science and ethics
Keywords Automaticity  Autonomy of ethics  Coherentism  Foundationalism  Hume  Kant  Incest  Naturalism  Moral anti-realism  Moral realism
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