Autonomy and the Asymmetry Problem for Moral Expertise

Philosophical Studies 128 (3):619-644 (2006)
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Abstract

We seem less likely to endorse moral expertise than reasoning expertise or aesthetic expertise. This seems puzzling given that moral norms are intuitively taken to be at least more objective than aesthetic norms. One possible diagnosis of the asymmetry is that moral judgments require autonomy of judgement in away that other judgments do not. However, the author points out that aesthetic judgments that have been ‘borrowed’ by aesthetic experts generate the same autonomy worry as moral judgments which are borrowed by moral experts. The author then explores various approaches to accepting the testimony of moral experts and concludes that the asymmetry may best be explained by (1) the conditions for moral expertise being more difficult to satisfy than those of aesthetic expertise and (2) the intuitive greater seriousness of accepting the moral judgments of others, since moral norms are generally viewed as more binding than aesthetic norms.

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Julia Driver
University of Texas at Austin

References found in this work

The moral problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
Unprincipled virtue: an inquiry into moral agency.Nomy Arpaly - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics.David Owen Brink - 1989 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Testimony: a philosophical study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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