Moral Dependence: Reliance on Moral Testimony

Dissertation, Ucla (2002)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Moral dependence is taking another person's assertion or "testimony" that C as a reason to believe C (where C is some moral claim), such that whatever justificatory force is associated with the person's testimony endures or remains as one's reason for believing C. People are justified in relying on one another's testimony in non-moral matters. The dissertation takes up the question whether the same is true for moral beliefs. My method is to divide the topic into three somewhat separate questions. First, there is the epistemological question, what if anything gives me reason to believe that another person's moral claim is likely to be true. Second, there is the psychological question, whether moral dependence is, in fact, part of the rational explanation of why people hold the moral beliefs they do. Third, there is the moral question, whether a person can be a good moral agent while being morally dependent. I answer these questions as follows. First, in response to the epistemological question, I argue that there is a justification for moral dependence based on identifying people who are good moral deliberators. I also argue that there is an unreliable justification for moral dependence based on cooperation and trust. This latter, trust-based justification is unreliable because it is possible to trust and cooperate with those who are morally bad. Second, in response to the psychological question, I argue that moral dependence is part of the rational explanation of moral belief. This is true even though there is some reason to hold that a testimonial justification cannot rationally explain moral belief when there is also a non-testimonial justification available for that same belief. I also argue that moral dependence rationally explains moral development, both because it explains how children come to believe the particular things they do, and also because it can explain how children come to employ new forms of moral justification. Third, in response to the moral question, I argue that autonomy limits moral dependence, but that relying on moral testimony can also bring one to be more aware of what is morally important.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Moral Dependence: Reliance on Moral Testimony.Philip James Nickel - 2002 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
Moral testimony and its authority.Philip Nickel - 2001 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (3):253-266.
First-Personal Moral Testimony: a Defence.David A. Borman - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):163-179.
IIā€”Roger Crisp: Moral Testimony Pessimism: A Defence.Roger Crisp - 2014 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 88 (1):129-143.
Moral Understanding, Testimony, and Moral Exemplarity.Michel Croce - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):373-389.
Moral Testimony.Alison Hills - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (6):552-559.
Moral Testimony under Oppression.Nicole Dular - 2017 - Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (2):212-236.
Moral Understanding and Cooperative Testimony.Kenneth Boyd - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):18-33.
Moral Testimony: Going on the Offensive.Eric Wiland - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 12.
Moral Testimony: Once More with Feeling.Guy Fletcher - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 11:45-73..
Why you cannot make people better by telling them what is good.Ulf Hlobil - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):986-996.
Moral realism and reliance on moral testimony.Joshua Blanchard - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1141-1153.

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-11-10

Downloads
70 (#192,029)

6 months
26 (#74,717)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Philip J. Nickel
Eindhoven University of Technology

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references