Social Philosophy Today 35:143-158 (2019)

Authors
Ben Almassi
Governors State University
Abstract
Does expertise have a place in ethics? As this question has been raised in moral philosophy and bioethics literatures over the past twenty years, skepticism has been a common theme, whether metaphysical, epistemological or social-political. Here I identify three common, contestable assumptions about ethics expertise which underwrite skepticism of one form or another: a singular conception of ethics expertise constituted by a core property or unity among multiple properties, equivocation of ethics expertise and ethicists’ expertise, and priority of moral deference as an unavoidable implication of ethics expertise. Taken separately, each assumption can have unpalatable implications for ethics expertise that make skepticism seem more attractive; taken together, the resulting picture of ethics expertise is that much worse. Each of these assumptions is vulnerable to criticism, however, and jettisoning them enables a pluralist approach to ethics expertise less prone to skepticism and better suited for the ranging functions of ethics expertise in healthcare and other contexts.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Social and Political Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 1543-4044
DOI 10.5840/socphiltoday201973062
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