Moral inquiry and the pragmatic basis of objectivity
Southern Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
|Abstract||This article defends a pragmatic conception of objectivity for the moral domain. I begin contextualizing pragmatic approaches to objectivity and discuss at some length one of the most interesting proposals in this area, Cheryl Misak’s conception of pragmatic objectivity. My general argument is that in order to defend a pragmatic approach to objectivity the pragmatic stance should be interpreted in more radical terms than most contemporary proposals do. I propose notably to disentangle the connection between objectivity and truth, claiming that moral inquiry is in most of the cases responsive to a discursive norm that is closer to warranted assertibility than to truth. Using an argument that relies partly on Huw Price's account of forms of normative assertion, I will show that a practice-based account of warranted assertibility does the epistemic work required to defend objectivity while not being exposed to the criticisms that are usually addressed against this notion. The first section sets the general argument within its pragmatic context. The second section outlines Misak's conception of pragmatic objectivity, and highlights the sense in which she makes moral objectivity depend upon truth. The third and the fourth sections provide two critical arguments against Misak's thesis. Finally, with the critical work done, in the last section I present my constructive account of pragmatic objectivity for the moral domain.|
|Keywords||pragmatic objectivity pragmatism warranted assertibility john dewey cheryl misak|
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