Ethics and Intuitions: A Reply to Singer [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Ethics 15 (3):209-226 (2011)
In a recent paper, Peter Singer suggests that some interesting new findings in experimental moral psychology support what he has contended all along—namely that intuitions should play little or no role in adequate justifications of normative ethical positions. Not only this but, according to Singer, these findings point to a central flaw in the method (or epistemological theory) of reflective equilibrium used by many contemporary moral philosophers. In this paper, we try to defend reflective equilibrium from Singer’s attack and, in part, we do this by discussing Singer’s own favoured moral methodology as outlined in his Practical Ethics . Although basing ethics solely on (certain kinds of) intuitions certainly is problematic, we argue, basing it solely on ‘reason’ gives rise to similar problems. The best solution would arguably be one which could strike a balance between the two—but, we suggest, this is precisely what reflective equilibrium is all about
|Keywords||intuitions moral psychology neuroscience the evolution of morality reflective equilibrium Peter Singer|
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References found in this work BETA
Jonathan Dancy (1993). Moral Reasons. Blackwell.
Norman Daniels (1996). Justice and Justification: Reflective Equilibrium in Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press.
Stephen L. Darwall (2006). The Second-Person Standpoint: Morality, Respect, and Accountability. Harvard University Press.
John M. Doris & Stephen P. Stich (2005). As a Matter of Fact : Empirical Perspectives on Ethics. In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
Philippa Foot (1967). The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect. Oxford Review 5:5-15.
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