David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (3):611-634 (2007)
Is it legitimate to acquire one’s moral beliefs on the testimony of others? The pessimist about moral testimony says not. But what is the source of the difficulty? Here pessimists have a choice. On the Unavailability view, moral testimony never makes knowledge available to the recipient. On Unusability accounts, although moral testimony can make knowledge available, some further norm renders it illegitimate to make use of the knowledge thus offered. I suggest that Unusability accounts provide the strongest form of pessimist view. I consider and reject five Unavailability accounts. I then argue that any such view will fail. But what is the norm rendering moral testimonial knowledge unusable? I suggest it lies in the requirement that we grasp for ourselves the moral reasons behind a moral view. This demand is one testimony cannot meet, and that claim holds whatever account we offer of the epistemology of testimony. However, while appeal to this requirement forms the most plausible pessimist view, it is another question whether pessimism is correct
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Paulina Sliwa (2012). In Defense of Moral Testimony. Philosophical Studies 158 (2):175-195.
Robert J. Howell (2014). Google Morals, Virtue, and the Asymmetry of Deference. Noûs 48 (3):389-415.
Sarah McGrath (2009). The Puzzle of Pure Moral Deference1. Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):321-344.
Alison Hills (2013). Moral Testimony. Philosophy Compass 8 (6):552-559.
Robert Cowan (2013). Clarifying Ethical Intuitionism. European Journal of Philosophy 23 (2).
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