The Empirical Case for Folk Indexical Moral Relativism

Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy 4 (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Recent empirical work on folk moral objectivism has attempted to examine the extent to which folk morality presumes that moral judgments are objectively true or false. Some researchers report findings that they take to indicate folk commitment to objectivism (Goodwin & Darley, 2008, 2010, 2012; Nichols & Folds-Bennett, 2003; Wainryb et al., 2004), while others report findings that may reveal a more variable commitment to objectivism (Beebe, 2014; Beebe et al., 2015; Beebe & Sackris, 2016; Sarkissian, et al., 2011; Wright, 2018; Wright, Grandjean, & McWhite, 2013; Wright, McWhite, & Grandjean, 2014). However, the various probes that have been used to examine folk moral objectivism almost always fail to be good direct measures of objectivism. Some critics (Beebe, 2015; Pölzler, 2017, 2018) have suggested that the problems with existing probes are serious enough that they should be viewed as largely incapable of shedding any light on folk metaethical commitments. Building upon the work of Justin Khoo and Joshua Knobe (2018), I argue that many of the existing probes can be seen as good measures of the extent to which people think that the truth of one moral judgment excludes the possibility that a judgment made by a disagreeing party is also true and that the best explanation of the findings obtained using these measures is significant folk support for indexical moral relativism—the view that the content of moral judgments is context-sensitive. If my thesis is correct, many contemporary moral philosophers are deeply mistaken about the metaethical contours of folk morality in one very important respect.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

From punishment to universalism.David Rose & Shaun Nichols - 2018 - Mind and Language 34 (1):59-72.
Folk moral relativism.Hagop Sarkissian, John J. Park, David Tien, Jennifer Wright & Joshua Knobe - 2013 - In Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Experimental Philosophy: Volume 2. New York, US: Oxford University Press USA. pp. 169-192.
Aspects of folk morality: Objectivism and relativism.Hagop Sarkissian - 2016 - In Wesley Buckwalter & Justin Sytsma (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. London, UK: pp. 212-224.
Moral objectivism across the lifespan.James R. Beebe & David Sackris - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (6):912-929.
Moral objectivism and a punishing God.Hagop Sarkissian & Mark Phelan - 2019 - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 80:1-7.
Revisiting Folk Moral Realism.Thomas Pölzler - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (2):455-476.
How Different Kinds of Disagreement Impact Folk Metaethical Judgments.James R. Beebe - 2014 - In Jennifer Cole Wright & Hagop Sarkissian (eds.), Advances in Experimental Moral Psychology. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 167-187.
At the Heart of Morality Lies Folk Psychology.Steve Guglielmo, Andrew E. Monroe & Bertram F. Malle - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (5):449-466.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-04-20

Downloads
935 (#15,154)

6 months
148 (#23,029)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

James R. Beebe
University at Buffalo

References found in this work

The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Moral realism: a defence.Russ Shafer-Landau - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.

View all 54 references / Add more references