David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Hypatia 28 (1):18-31 (2013)
This paper addresses Peter Singer's claim that cognitive ability can function as a universal criterion for measuring moral worth. I argue that Singer fails to adequately represent cognitive capacity as the object of moral knowledge at stake in his theory. He thus fails to put forth credible knowledge claims, which undermines both the trustworthiness of his moral theories and the morality of the actions called for by these theories. I situate Singer's methods within feminist critiques of moral reasoning and moral epistemology, and argue that Singer's methods are problematic for moral reasoning because they abstract from their object valuable contextual features. I further develop this claim by showing the importance of embodiment for the construal of objects of moral knowledge. Finally, I develop the moral and scholarly implications of this critique. By showing that the abstract, universal methods of reasoning Singer employs cannot credibly construe the objects of ethical inquiry, I call into question the validity of these methods as a means to moral knowledge in general. Furthermore, since moral reasoning takes place within an embodied moral landscape, it is itself a moral enterprise. Singer's moral reasoning, and ours, must be held accountable for its knowledge claims as well as its concrete effects in the world
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References found in this work BETA
Seyla Benhabib (1992). Situating the Self: Gender, Community, and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics. Routledge.
Lorraine Code (1991). What Can She Know?: Feminist Theory and the Construction of Knowledge. Cornell University Press.
Eva Feder Kittay (2005). At the Margins of Moral Personhood. Ethics 116 (1):100-131.
Eva Feder Kittay (2009). The Personal is Philosophical is Political: A Philosopher and Mother of a Cognitively Disabled Person Sends Notes From the Battlefield. Metaphilosophy 40 (3-4):606-627.
Eva Feder Kittay, Carol Gilligan, Annette C. Baier, Michael Stocker, Christina H. Sommers, Kathryn Pyne Addelson, Virginia Held, Thomas E. Hill Jr, Seyla Benhabib, George Sher, Marilyn Friedman, Jonathan Adler, Sara Ruddick, Mary Fainsod, David D. Laitin, Lizbeth Hasse & Sandra Harding (1989). Women and Moral Theory. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
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