Practical Ethics Given Moral Uncertainty

Utilitas 31 (3):231-245 (2019)
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Abstract

A number of philosophers have claimed that we should take not just empirical uncertainty but also fundamental moral uncertainty into account in our decision-making, and that, despite widespread moral disagreement, doing so would allow us to draw robust lessons for some issues in practical ethics. In this article, I argue that, so far, the implications for practical ethics have been drawn too simplistically. First, the implications of moral uncertainty for normative ethics are far more wide-ranging than has been noted so far. Second, one can't straightforwardly argue from moral uncertainty to particular conclusions in practical ethics, both because of ‘interaction’ effects between moral issues, and because of the variety of different possible intertheoretic comparisons that one can reasonably endorse.

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William MacAskill
Oxford University

References found in this work

Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Moral uncertainty and its consequences.Ted Lockhart - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
What to do when you don’t know what to do.Andrew Sepielli - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:5-28.

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