Why Moral Expertise Needs Moral Theory

In Jamie Carlin Watson & Laura K. Guidry-Grimes (eds.), Moral Expertise: New Essays from Theoretical and Clinical Bioethics. Springer International Publishing. pp. 71-86 (2018)
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Abstract

Discussions of the nature or possibility of moral expertise have largely proceeded in atheoretical terms, with little attention paid to whether moral expertise depends on theoretical knowledge of morality. Here I argue that moral expertise is more theory-dependent than is commonly recognized: Moral expertise consists, at least in part, in knowledge of the correct or best moral theory, and second, that knowledge of moral theory is essential to moral experts dispensing expert counsel to non-experts. Moral experts would not be moral experts absent knowledge of moral theory, nor could they play the testimonial role we would expect them to play in moral inquiry and deliberation absent such knowledge

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Michael Cholbi
University of Edinburgh

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