Moral realism and reliance on moral testimony

Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1141-1153 (2019)
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Abstract

Moral realism and some of its constitutive theses, e.g., cognitivism, face the following challenge. If they are true, then it seems that we should predict that deference to moral testimony is appropriate under the same conditions as deference to non-moral testimony. Yet, many philosophers intuit that deference to moral testimony is not appropriate, even in otherwise ordinary conditions. In this paper I show that the challenge is cogent only if the appropriateness in question is disambiguated in a particular way. To count against realism and its constitutive theses, moral deference must fail to be appropriate in specifically the way that the theses predict it is appropriate. I argue that this is not the case. In brief, I argue that realism and allied theses predict only that deference to moral testimony is epistemically appropriate, but that the intuitive data plausibly show only that it is not morally appropriate. If I am right, then there is reason to doubt the metaethical relevance of much of the skepticism regarding moral deference in recent literature.

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Author's Profile

Joshua Blanchard
Oakland University

Citations of this work

Why Don't We Trust Moral Testimony?James Andow - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (4):456-474.

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References found in this work

Objectivity and Truth: You’D Better Believe It.Ronald Dworkin - 1996 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 25 (2):87-139.
A Defense of Moral Deference.David Enoch - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (5):229-258.
In Defense of Moral Testimony.Paulina Sliwa - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):175-195.

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