Normative ethics and the prospects of an empirical contribution to assessment of moral disagreement and moral realism
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Value Inquiry 43 (4):447-455 (2009)
The familiar argument from disagreement has been an important focal point of discussion in contemporary meta-ethics. Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of interdisciplinary work between philosophers and psychologists about moral psychology. Working within this trend, John Doris and Alexandra Plakias have made a tentative version of the argument from disagreement on empirical grounds. Doris and Plakias present empirical evidence in support of premise 4, that ethics is beset by fundamental disagreement. They examine Richard Brandt on Hopi ethics and, especially, Richard E. Nisbett & Dov Cohen on cultures of honor to make a prima facie version of this case. This raises important questions. Are Doris and Plakias correct that there is even a prima facie empirical basis for moral anti-realism? What sort of empirical contribution can be made to such debates in meta-ethics? I argue that we should have reservations about the prospects of empirical contributions to the argument from disagreement. Specifically, before empirical results from psychology can be used to offer conclusions about meta-ethical issues, more careful attention must be paid to normative ethics, and especially to normative theory. There are two parts to this position. First, there is good reason to think that the evidence we currently have about moral disagreement is irrelevant to the meta-ethical debate. Second, the relevant evidence is useless for meta-ethical purposes on its own. Instead, it must be combined with normative theorizing about value pluralism
|Keywords||argument from disagreement ethics moral psychology|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Dan Demetriou (2014). What Should Realists Say About Honor Cultures? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (5):893-911.
Simon Fitzpatrick (2014). Moral Realism, Moral Disagreement, and Moral Psychology. Philosophical Papers 43 (2):161-190.
Similar books and articles
Ralph Wedgwood (2010). The Moral Evil Demons. In Richard Feldman & Ted Warfield (eds.), Disagreement. Oxford University Press
Johan E. Gustafsson & Martin Peterson (2012). A Computer Simulation of the Argument From Disagreement. Synthese 184 (3):387–405.
Folke Tersman (2006). Moral Disagreement. Cambridge University Press.
Katinka Quintelier & Daniel Fessler (2012). Varying Versions of Moral Relativism: The Philosophy and Psychology of Normative Relativism. Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):95-113.
Sarah McGrath (2008). Moral Disagreement and Moral Expertise. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol. 3. Oxford University Press 87-108.
David Killoren (2010). Moral Intuitions, Reliability and Disagreement. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 4 (1):1-35.
John Doris & Stephen Stich (2008). Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
David Enoch (2009). How is Moral Disagreement a Problem for Realism? Journal of Ethics 13 (1):15 - 50.
Ben Fraser & Marc Hauser (2010). The Argument From Disagreement and the Role of Cross-Cultural Empirical Data. Mind and Language 25 (5):541-560.
Added to index2009-06-10
Total downloads138 ( #30,450 of 1,941,076 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #133,135 of 1,941,076 )
How can I increase my downloads?