Good News for Moral Error Theorists: A Master Argument Against Companions in Guilt Strategies

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):115-130 (2016)
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Abstract

Moral error theories are often rejected by appeal to ‘companions in guilt’ arguments. The most popular form of companions in guilt argument takes epistemic reasons for belief as a ‘companion’ and proceeds by analogy. I show that this strategy fails. I claim that the companions in guilt theorist must understand epistemic reasons as evidential support relations if her argument is to be dialectically effective. I then present a dilemma. Either epistemic reasons are evidential support relations or they are not. If they are not, then the companions in guilt argument fails. If they are, then a reduction of epistemic reasons to evidential support relations becomes available and, consequently, epistemic reasons cease to be a viable ‘companion’ for moral reasons. I recommend this structure of argument over existing strategies within the literature and defend my claims against recent objections from companions in guilt theorists

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Christopher Cowie
Cambridge University

Citations of this work

Conceptions of Epistemic Value.Timothy Perrine - 2023 - Episteme 20 (2):213-231.
Pain for the Moral Error Theory? A New Companions-in-Guilt Argument.Guy Fletcher - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):474-482.
On Some Arguments for Epistemic Value Pluralism.Timothy Perrine - 2020 - Logos and Episteme 11 (1):77-96.
The Normative Error Theorist Cannot Avoid Self-Defeat.Spencer Case - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):92-104.

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References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Slaves of the passions.Mark Andrew Schroeder - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Rationality Through Reasoning.John Broome (ed.) - 2013 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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