Changing one's mind on moral matters

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (3):277 - 290 (2005)
Abstract
Contemporary moral philosophy assumes an account of what it means to legitimately change one’s mind in ethics, and I wish to challenge this account by enlarging the category of the legitimate. I am just as eager to avoid illegitimate mind-changing brought on by deceit or brainwashing, but I claim that legitimacy should be defined in terms of transparency of method. A social reformer should not be embarrassed to admit that he acquired many beliefs about justice while reading Dickens. As such, appeals to the heart and the imagination are just as legitimate, within limits, as appeals to the mind; and showing can be as legitimate as telling. To demonstrate this, I consider the example of a vegetarian trying to ‘convert’ a carnivore. I then ask what it means when the carnivore claims to have been previously mistaken.
Keywords animal rights  Cora Diamond  moral imagination  moral persuasion  moral reasons  Peter Singer  Wittgensteinian ethics
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