Coherentism and the epistemic justification of moral beliefs: A case study in how to do practical ethics without appeal to a moral theory
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):50-74 (2012)
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 on beliefs we already hold, with no appeal to moral theory, is a legitimate way of doing practical ethics. I argue (i) that grounding particular moral judgments on our core moral convictions and other core nonmoral beliefs is a legitimate way to justify moral judgments, (ii) that these moral judgments possess as much epistemic justification and have as much claim to objectivity as moral judgments grounded on particular ethical theories, and (iii) that this internalistic coherentist method of grounding moral judgments is more likely to result in behavioral guidance than traditional theory-based approaches to practical ethics. By way of illustrating the approach, I briefly recapitulate my consistency-based argument for ethical vegetarianism. I then defend the coherentist approach implicit in the argument against a number of potentially fatal metatheoretical attacks
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Peter Carruthers (1992). The Animals Issue: Moral Theory in Practice. Cambridge University Press.
Catherine Elgin (2005). Non-Foundationalist Epistemology: Holism, Coherence, and Tenability. In Steup Matthias & Sosa Ernest (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell. 156--67.
Mylan Engel (1992). Personal and Doxastic Justification in Epistemology. Philosophical Studies 67 (2):133-150.
Mylan Engel (2004). Taking Hunger Seriously. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):29-57.
Gilbert Harman (1977). The Nature of Morality: An Introduction to Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Carson Strong (2010). Theoretical and Practical Problems with Wide Reflective Equilibrium in Bioethics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (2):123-140.
Friderik Klampfer (2005). Contextualism and Moral Justification. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):569-582.
Jonathan Smith (2010). On Sinnott-Armstrong's Case Against Moral Intuitionism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (1):75 - 88.
Torbjörn Tännsjö (2011). Applied Ethics. A Defence. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):397-406.
Bernward Gesang (2010). Are Moral Philosophers Moral Experts? Bioethics 24 (4):153-159.
Norman Daniels (1996). Justice and Justification: Reflective Equilibrium in Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press.
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2006). Moral Skepticisms. Oxford University Press.
Robert Audi (1998). The Axiology of Moral Experience. Journal of Ethics 2 (4):355-375.
Jennifer McCrickerd (2001). Moral Judgments and the Analytic/Synthetic Distinction. Journal of Philosophical Research 26:423-433.
Chengping Zhang (2010). Moral Luck in Thomas Hardy's Fiction. Philosophy and Literature 34 (1):pp. 82-94.
Michael Pace (2011). The Epistemic Value of Moral Considerations: Justification, Moral Encroachment, and James' 'Will To Believe'. Noûs 45 (2):239-268.
Gunnar Björnsson (1998). Moral Internalism: An Essay in Moral Psychology. Dissertation, Stockholm University
Antti Kauppinen (forthcoming). Intuition and Belief in Moral Motivation. In Gunnar Björnsson (ed.), Moral Internalism.
Added to index2012-03-02
Total downloads45 ( #36,263 of 1,099,024 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #19,150 of 1,099,024 )
How can I increase my downloads?