Moral Disagreement

Edited by Christopher Michael Cloos (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. Chinese and Westerners Respond Differently to the Trolley Dilemmas.Henrik Ahlenius & Torbjörn Tännsjö - 2012 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 12 (3-4):195-201.
    A set of moral problems known as The Trolley Dilemmas was presented to 3000 randomly selected inhabitants of the USA, Russia and China. It is shown that Chinese are significantly less prone to support utility-maximizing alternatives, as compared to the US and Russian respondents. A number of possible explanations, as well as methodological issues pertaining to the field of surveying moral judgment and moral disagreement, are discussed.
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  2. Context-Dependent Anomalies and Strategies for Resolving Disagreement.Douglas Allchin - 2015 - In Hanne Andersen, Nancy J. Nersessian & Susann Wagenknecht (eds.), Empirical Philosophy of Science. Springer Verlag.
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  3. Agreeing to Disagree: Moral Argumentation, Social Criticism, Philosophical Contemplation.Richard Alexis Amesbury - 2003 - Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
    One of the most distinctive and notorious characteristics of moral discourse is the pervasive and apparently interminable nature of the disagreement by which it seems to be riven. Many philosophers have argued that this disagreement can be traced to the lack of any underlying consensus on the considerations that might relevantly be brought to bear in a moral argument. According to this account, moral disagreement cannot be settled in light of any shared procedure, since what constitutes a valid moral "reason" (...)
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  4. Natural Law and Moral Disagreements.Thomas Aquinas - 2000 - In Christopher W. Gowans (ed.), Moral Disagreements: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 55.
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  5. Law and Moral Disagreement : The Case of Abortion.David Archard - unknown
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  6. “A Lot More Bad News for Conservatives, and a Little Bit of Bad News for Liberals? Moral Judgments and the Dark Triad Personality Traits: A Follow-Up Study”.Marcus Arvan - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (1):51-64.
    In a recent study appearing in Neuroethics, I reported observing 11 significant correlations between the “Dark Triad” personality traits – Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy – and “conservative” judgments on a 17-item Moral Intuition Survey. Surprisingly, I observed no significant correlations between the Dark Triad and “liberal” judgments. In order to determine whether these results were an artifact of the particular issues I selected, I ran a follow-up study testing the Dark Triad against conservative and liberal judgments on 15 additional moral (...)
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  7. Bad News for Conservatives? Moral Judgments and the Dark Triad Personality Traits: A Correlational Study.Marcus Arvan - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (2):307-318.
    This study examined correlations between moral value judgments on a 17-item Moral Intuition Survey (MIS), and participant scores on the Short-D3 “Dark Triad” Personality Inventory—a measure of three related “dark and socially destructive” personality traits: Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy. Five hundred sixty-seven participants (302 male, 257 female, 2 transgendered; median age 28) were recruited online through Amazon Mechanical Turk and Yale Experiment Month web advertisements. Different responses to MIS items were initially hypothesized to be “conservative” or “liberal” in line with (...)
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  8. Groundwork for a New Moral Epistemology.Marcus Arvan - 2013 - Klesis 27:155-190.
    This paper argues that virtue ethics and prevailing epistemic norms in moral and political philosophy more generally both support a new kind of empirically-informed moral-virtue epistemology, or “experimental ethics” – an epistemology according to which disputed normative premises in moral and political philosophy should be epistemically evaluated on the basis of empirically-observed relationships they bear to morally admirable and morally repugnant psycho-behavioral traits, as defined by cross-cultural, cross-historical, and cross-debate agreement on the moral valence of particular traits and behaviors.
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  9. Intuition, Inference, and Rational Disagreement in Ethics.Robert Audi - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (5):475-492.
    This paper defends a moderate intuitionism by extending a version of that view previously put forward and responding to some significant objections to it that have been posed in recent years. The notion of intuition is clarified, and various kinds of intuition are distinguished and interconnected. These include doxastic intuitions and intuitive seemings. The concept of inference is also clarified. In that light, the possibility of non-inferential intuitive justification is explained in relation to both singular moral judgments, which intuitionists do (...)
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  10. Rational Disagreement as a Challenge to Practical Ethics and Moral Theory : An Essay in Moral Epistemology.Robert Audi - 2008 - In Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 225419.
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  11. Our Reliability is in Principle Explainable.Dan Baras - forthcoming - Episteme.
    Non-skeptical robust realists about normativity, mathematics, or any other domain of non- causal truths are committed to a correlation between their beliefs and non- causal, mind-independent facts. Hartry Field and others have argued that if realists cannot explain this striking correlation, that is a strong reason to reject their theory. Some consider this argument, known as the Benacerraf–Field argument, as the strongest challenge to robust realism about mathematics, normativity, and even logic. In this article I offer two closely related accounts (...)
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  12. Oxford Studies in Metaethics Volume 7, Edited by R. Shafer-Landau.Dan Baras - 2015 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 12 (3):359-362.
    This review article focuses on David Copp's article 'Experiments, Intuitions, and Methodology in Moral and Political Theory'. Copp argues that recent developments in moral psychology challenge the common method in ethics, which infers moral truths from moral intuitions, as these intuitions are shown to likely be unreliable. Copp responds to the worry by arguing that even if moral intuitions cannot be trusted to indicate objective moral truths, the common method remains valuable for other reasons. In this article I raise several (...)
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  13. A Defense of the Common Morality.Tom L. Beauchamp - 2003 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 13 (3):259-274.
    : Phenomena of moral conflict and disagreement have led writers in ethics to two antithetical conclusions: Either valid moral distinctions hold universally or they hold relative to a particular and contingent moral framework, and so cannot be applied with universal validly. Responding to three articles in this issue of the Journal that criticize his previously published views on the common morality, the author maintains that one can consistently deny universality to some justified moral norms and claim universality for others. Universality (...)
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  14. Moral Disagreement and Epistemic Advantages: A Challenge to McGrath.Sherman Benjamin - 2014 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (3):1-18.
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  15. Persons and Values: Reasons in Conflict and Moral Disagreement.S. I. Benn - 1984 - Ethics 95 (1):20-37.
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  16. Irresolvable Disagreement and the Case Against Moral Realism.Thomas Bennigson - 1996 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (4):411-437.
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  17. Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief: Disagreement and Evolution.Michael Bergmann & Patrick Kain (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Challenges to Moral and Religious Belief contains fourteen original essays by philosophers, theologians, and social scientists on challenges to moral and religious belief from disagreement and evolution. Three main questions are addressed: Can one reasonably maintain one's moral and religious beliefs in the face of interpersonal disagreement with intellectual peers? Does disagreement about morality between a religious belief source, such as a sacred text, and a non-religious belief source, such as a society's moral intuitions, make it irrational to continue trusting (...)
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  18. Teaching the Debate.Brian Besong - 2016 - Teaching Philosophy 39 (4):401-412.
    One very common style of teaching philosophy involves remaining publicly neutral regarding the views being debated—a technique commonly styled ‘teaching the debate.’ This paper seeks to survey evidence from the literature in social psychology that suggests teaching the debate naturally lends itself to student skepticism toward the philosophical views presented. In contrast, research suggests that presenting one’s own views alongside teaching the debate in question—or ‘engaging the debate’—can effectively avoid eliciting skeptical attitudes among students without sacrificing desirable pedagogical outcomes. Thus, (...)
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  19. Moral Intuitionism and Disagreement.Brian Besong - 2014 - Synthese 191 (12):2767-2789.
    According to moral intuitionism, at least some moral seeming states are justification-conferring. The primary defense of this view currently comes from advocates of the standard account, who take the justification-conferring power of a moral seeming to be determined by its phenomenological credentials alone. However, the standard account is vulnerable to a problem. In brief, the standard account implies that moral knowledge is seriously undermined by those commonplace moral disagreements in which both agents have equally good phenomenological credentials supporting their disputed (...)
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  20. The Prudent Conscience View.Brian Besong - 2014 - International Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2):127-141.
    Moral intuitionism, which claims that some moral seemings are justification-conferring, has become an increasingly popular account in moral epistemology. Defenses of the position have largely focused on the standard account, according to which the justification-conferring power of a moral seeming is determined by its phenomenal credentials alone. Unfortunately, the standard account is a less plausible version of moral intuitionism because it does not take etiology seriously. In this paper, I provide an outline and defense of a non-standard account of moral (...)
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  21. Do 'Objectivist' Features of Moral Discourse and Thinking Support Moral Objectivism?Gunnar Björnsson - 2012 - Journal of Ethics 16 (4):367-393.
    Many philosophers think that moral objectivism is supported by stable features of moral discourse and thinking. When engaged in moral reasoning and discourse, people behave ‘as if’ objectivism were correct, and the seemingly most straightforward way of making sense of this is to assume that objectivism is correct; this is how we think that such behavior is explained in paradigmatically objectivist domains. By comparison, relativist, error-theoretic or non-cognitivist accounts of this behavior seem contrived and ad hoc. After explaining why this (...)
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  22. Metaethical Contextualism Defended.Gunnar Björnsson & Stephen Finlay - 2010 - Ethics 121 (1):7-36.
    We defend a contextualist account of deontic judgments as relativized both to (i) information and to (ii) standards or ends, against recent objections that turn on practices of moral disagreement. Kolodny & MacFarlane argue that information-relative contextualism cannot accommodate the connection between deliberation and advice; we suggest in response that they misidentify the basic concerns of deliberating agents. For pragmatic reasons, semantic assessments of normative claims sometimes are evaluations of propositions other than those asserted. Weatherson, Schroeder and others have raised (...)
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  23. Enoch's Defense of Robust Meta-Ethical Realism.Gunnar Björnsson & Ragnar Francén Olinder - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (1):101–112.
    Taking Morality Seriously is David Enoch’s book-length defense of meta-ethical and meta-normative non-naturalist realism. After describing Enoch’s position and outlining the argumentative strategy of the book, we engage in a critical discussion of what we take to be particularly problematic central passages. We focus on Enoch’s two original positive arguments for non-naturalist realism, one argument building on first order moral implications of different meta-ethical positions, the other attending to the rational commitment to normative facts inherent in practical deliberation. We also (...)
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  24. Moral Attitudes for Non-Cognitivists: Solving the Specification Problem.Gunnar Björnsson & Tristram McPherson - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):1-38.
    Moral non-cognitivists hope to explain the nature of moral agreement and disagreement as agreement and disagreement in non-cognitive attitudes. In doing so, they take on the task of identifying the relevant attitudes, distinguishing the non-cognitive attitudes corresponding to judgements of moral wrongness, for example, from attitudes involved in aesthetic disapproval or the sports fan’s disapproval of her team’s performance. We begin this paper by showing that there is a simple recipe for generating apparent counterexamples to any informative specification of the (...)
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  25. Radical Moral Disagreement in Contemporary Health Care: A Roman Catholic Perspective.Joseph Boyle - 1994 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19 (2):183-200.
    This paper addresses the moral challenges presented by the existence of radical moral disagreement in contemporary health care. I argue that there is no neutral moral perspective for understanding and resolving these challenges, but that they must be formulated and resolved from within the various perspectives that generate the disagreement. I then explore the natural law tradition's approach to these issues as a test case for my thesis. Keywords: moral conflict, moral perplexity, natural law, radical moral disagreement, toleration CiteULike Connotea (...)
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  26. The Significance of Differences of Ethical Opinion for Ethical Rationalism.Richard B. Brandt - 1943 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4 (4):469-495.
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  27. Moral Conflict and its Structure.David O. Brink - 1994 - Philosophical Review 103 (2):215-247.
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  28. Moral Realism and the Sceptical Arguments From Disagreement and Queerness.David O. Brink - 1984 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (2):111 – 125.
  29. Argumentative Virtues and Deep Disagreement.Chris Campolo - unknown
    The theoretical possibility of deep disagreement gives rise to an important practical problem: a deep disagreement may in practice look and feel like a merely stubborn normal disagreement. In this paper I critique strategies for dealing with this practical problem. According to their proponents these strategies exhibit argumentative virtue, but I will show that they embody serious argumentative vices.
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  30. Knowing What Matters.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2017 - In Peter Singer (ed.), Does Anything Really Matter? Parfit on Objectivity. Oxford University Press. pp. 149-167.
    Parfit's On What Matters offers a rousing defence of non-naturalist normative realism against pressing metaphysical and epistemological objections. He addresses skeptical arguments based on (i) the causal origins of our normative beliefs, and (ii) the appearance of pervasive moral disagreement. In both cases, he concedes the first step to the skeptic, but draws a subsequent distinction with which he hopes to stem the skeptic's advance. I argue, however, that these distinctions cannot bear the weight that Parfit places on them. A (...)
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  31. Virtue and Disagreement.Bridget Clarke - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (3):273-291.
    One of the most prominent strands in contemporary work on the virtues consists in the attempt to develop a distinctive—and compelling—account of practical reason on the basis of Aristotle’s ethics. In response to this project, several eminent critics have argued that the Aristotelian account encourages a dismissive attitude toward moral disagreement. Given the importance of developing a mature response to disagreement, the criticism is devastating if true. I examine this line of criticism closely, first elucidating the features of the Aristotelian (...)
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  32. Objectivity in Ethics and Mathematics.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2015 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 3.
    How do axioms, or first principles, in ethics compare to those in mathematics? In this companion piece to G.C. Field's 1931 "On the Role of Definition in Ethics", I argue that there are similarities between the cases. However, these are premised on an assumption which can be questioned, and which highlights the peculiarity of normative inquiry.
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  33. Moral Epistemology: The Mathematics Analogy.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):238-255.
    There is a long tradition comparing moral knowledge to mathematical knowledge. In this paper, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between knowledge in the two areas, realistically conceived. I argue that many of these are only apparent, while others are less philosophically significant than might be thought. The picture that emerges is surprising. There are definitely differences between epistemological arguments in the two areas. However, these differences, if anything, increase the plausibility of moral realism as compared to mathematical realism. It (...)
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  34. Morality and Mathematics: The Evolutionary Challenge.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2012 - Ethics 122 (2):313-340.
    It is commonly suggested that evolutionary considerations generate an epistemological challenge for moral realism. At first approximation, the challenge for the moral realist is to explain our having many true moral beliefs, given that those beliefs are the products of evolutionary forces that would be indifferent to the moral truth. An important question surrounding this challenge is the extent to which it generalizes. In particular, it is of interest whether the Evolutionary Challenge for moral realism is equally a challenge for (...)
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  35. Moral Arrogance and Moral Disagreement.Dean Cocking - 2005 - Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics 7 (1).
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  36. Knowledge and Moral Belief.M. F. Cohen - 1965 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):168 – 188.
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  37. Moral Realism and Faultless Disagreement.Daniel Cohnitz - 2016 - Ratio 29 (2):202-212.
    Is moral realism compatible with the existence of moral disagreements? Since moral realism requires that if two persons are in disagreement over some moral question at least one must be objectively mistaken, it seems difficult to uphold that there can be moral disagreements without fault. Alison Hills argued that moral realism can accommodate such disagreements. Her strategy is to argue that moral reasoners can be faultless in making an objectively false moral judgement if they followed the relevant epistemic norm, i.e. (...)
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  38. Disagreements.Daniel Cohnitz & Teresa Marques - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (1):1-10.
    This special issue of Erkenntnis is devoted to the varieties of disagreement that arise in different areas of discourse, and the consequences we should draw from these disagreements, either concerning the subject matter and its objectivity, or concerning our own views about this subject matter if we learn, for example, that an epistemic peer disagrees with our view. In this introduction we sketch the background to the recent philosophical discussions of these questions, and the location occupied therein by the articles (...)
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  39. Moral Vagueness: A Dilemma for Non-Naturalism.Cristian Constantinescu - 2014 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 9. Oxford University Press. pp. 152-185.
    In this paper I explore the implications of moral vagueness (viz., the vagueness of moral predicates) for non-naturalist metaethical theories like those recently championed by Shafer-Landau, Parfit, and others. I characterise non-naturalism in terms of its commitment to 7 theses: Cognitivism, Correspondence, Atomism, Objectivism, Supervenience, Non-reductivism, and Rationalism. I start by offering a number of reasons for thinking that moral predicates are vague in the same way in which ‘red’, ‘tall’, and ‘heap’ are said to be. I then argue that (...)
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  40. The Relevance of Moral Disagreement. Some Worries About Nondescriptivist Cognitivism.Josep E. Corbí - 2002 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 63 (1):217-233.
    Nondescriptivist Cognitivism vindicates the cognitive value of moral judgements despite their lack of descriptive content. In this paper,I raise a few worries about the proclaimed virtues of this new metaethical framework Firstly, I argue that Nondescriptivist Cognitivism tends to beg the question against descriptivism and, secondly, discuss Horgan and Timmons' case against Michael Smith's metaethical rationalism. Although I sympathise with their main critical claims against the latter, I am less enthusiastic about the arguments that they provide to support them.
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  41. The Moral Fixed Points: New Directions for Moral Nonnaturalism.Terence Cuneo & Russ Shafer-Landau - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):399-443.
    Our project in this essay is to showcase nonnaturalistic moral realism’s resources for responding to metaphysical and epistemological objections by taking the view in some new directions. The central thesis we will argue for is that there is a battery of substantive moral propositions that are also nonnaturalistic conceptual truths. We call these propositions the moral fixed points. We will argue that they must find a place in any system of moral norms that applies to beings like us, in worlds (...)
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  42. Moral Deference and Deference to an Epistemic Peer.Cory Davia & Michele Palmira - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):605-625.
    Deference to experts is normal in many areas of inquiry, but suspicious in morality. This is puzzling if one thinks that morality is relevantly like those other areas of inquiry. We argue that this suspiciousness can be explained in terms of the suspiciousness of deferring to an epistemic peer. We then argue that this explanation is preferable to others in the literature, and explore some metaethical implications of this result.
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  43. An Alternative to Relativism.John K. Davis - 2010 - Philosophical Topics 38 (2):17-37.
    Some moral disagreements are so persistent that we suspect they are deep : we would disagree even when we have all relevant information and no one makes any mistakes. The possibility of deep disagreement is thought to drive cognitivists toward relativism, but most cognitivists reject relativism. There is an alternative. According to divergentism, cognitivists can reject relativism while allowing for deep disagreement. This view has rarely been defended at length, but many philosophers have implicitly endorsed its elements. I will defend (...)
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  44. Thomas Reid on Moral Disagreement.William C. Davis - 2009 - In Sabine Roeser (ed.), Reid on Ethics. Palgrave-Macmillan.
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  45. The (In)Significance of Moral Disagreement for Moral Knowledge.Jason Decker & Daniel Groll - 2013 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 8. Oxford University Press.
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  46. There’s Some Fetish in Your Ethics: A Limited Defense of Purity Reasoning in Moral Discourse.Dan Demetriou - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Research 38:377-404.
    Call the ethos understanding rightness in terms of spiritual purity and piety, and wrongness in terms of corruption and sacrilege, the “fetish ethic.” Jonathan Haidt and his colleagues suggest that this ethos is particularly salient to political conservatives and non-liberal cultures around the globe. In this essay, I point to numerous examples of moral fetishism in mainstream academic ethics. Once we see how deeply “infected” our ethical reasoning is by fetishistic intuitions, we can respond by 1) repudiating the fetishistic impulse, (...)
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  47. The Structure of Conventional Morality.Philip Devine - 2005 - International Philosophical Quarterly 45 (2):243-256.
    In recent years, analytically trained philosophers have given extensive attention to various issues involved in the “culture wars,” including abortion, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research, and assisted suicide. There are, however, moral judgments that virtually no one questions. Defenses of adult-child sex, for example, are rare. There is also “conventional immorality”—the breach of conventional moral standards within roughly defined limits that at least limit the resulting damage to third parties and social institutions. These phenomena frame moral discussion even when, as often (...)
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  48. Indoctrination Anxiety and the Etiology of Belief.Joshua DiPaolo & Robert Mark Simpson - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    People sometimes try to call others’ beliefs into question by pointing out the contingent causal origins of those beliefs. The significance of such ‘Etiological Challenges’ is a topic that has started attracting attention in epistemology. Current work on this topic aims to show that Etiological Challenges are, at most, only indirectly epistemically significant, insofar as they bring other generic epistemic considerations to the agent’s attention. Against this approach, we argue that Etiological Challenges are epistemically significant in a more direct and (...)
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  49. Sentimentalism and the Intersubjectivity of Aesthetic Evaluations.Fabian Dorsch - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (3):417-446.
    Within the debate on the epistemology of aesthetic appreciation, it has a long tradition, and is still very common, to endorse the sentimentalist view that our aesthetic evaluations are rationally grounded on, or even constituted by, certain of our emotional responses to the objects concerned. Such a view faces, however, the serious challenge to satisfactorily deal with the seeming possibility of faultless disagreement among emotionally based and epistemically appropriate verdicts. I will argue that the sentimentalist approach to aesthetic epistemology cannot (...)
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  50. Relativism (and Expressivism) and the Problem of Disagreement.James Dreier - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):79-110.
    Many philosophers, in different areas, are tempted by what variously goes under the name of Contextualism, Speaker Relativism, Indexical Relativism. (I’ll just use Indexical Relativism in this paper.) Thinking of certain problematic expressions as deriving their content from elements of the context of use solves some problems. But it faces some problems of its own, and in this paper I’m interested in one in particular, namely, the problem of disagreement. Two alternative theories, tempting for just the same kinds of expressions (...)
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