Philosophical Studies (8):2323-2340 (2020)

Max Lewis
University of Pennsylvania
Pessimists think that there is something wrong with relying on deference for one’s moral beliefs—at least if one is morally mature. Call this no deference. They also tend to think that what explains our aversion to cases of moral deference is the fact that they involve deference about moral claims. Call this moral explanation. Recently, both no deference and moral explanation have come under attack. Against no deference, some philosophers offer purported counterexamples involving moral advice. I argue that proponents of this objection face a trilemma depending on how they spell out the details of their counterexamples. Against moral explanation, some philosophers offer debunking explanations of our aversion to moral deference. They present cases of non-moral deference that are troubling and argue that the feature that explains our aversion to this non-moral deference also explains our aversion to moral deference. I argue that none of these explanations (nor their conjunction) can explain all troubling cases of moral deference and that they face objections of their own. I conclude that we should be optimistic about the prospects of moral deference pessimism.
Keywords Moral Deference, Moral Testimony, Testimony, Moral Deference Pessimism  Moral Testimony  Moral Deference Pessimism
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-019-01312-1
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References found in this work BETA

Testimony: A Philosophical Study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - Oxford University Press.
A Defense of Moral Deference.David Enoch - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (5):229-258.

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Citations of this work BETA

Intuitive Expertise in Moral Judgments.Joachim Horvath & Alex Wiegmann - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-18.
Moral Deference, Moral Assertion, and Pragmatics.Max Lewis - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):5-22.
The New Puzzle of Moral Deference.Max Lewis - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):460-476.

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