Mission: Impossible? On Empirical-Normative Collaboration in Ethical Reasoning

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (1):59-71 (2010)

Sebastian Schleidgen
University of Philosophy and Theology Vallendar
Michael Jungert
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
During the 1980s, empirical social sciences and normative theory seemingly converged within ethical debates. This tendency kindled new debates about the limits and possibilities of empirical-normative collaboration. The article asks for adequate ways of collaboration by taking a closer look at the philosophy of science of empirical social sciences as well as normative theory development and its logical groundings. As a result, three possible modes of cooperation are characterized: first, the empirical assessment of conditions that actually necessitate the translation of normatively derived basic principles into practice rules; second, the empirical assessment of conditions for application of a moral norm which are formulated by bridging principles; third, the empirical assessment of social practice which allows to measure whether adopted norms actually are implemented in practice or not and to encounter new moral problems which are in need of ethical guidance. Finally, the article defends a symbiotic position in Weaver ’s and Trevino's triad of possible approaches to empirical-normative collaboration in ethics
Keywords Philosophy   Ontology   Political Philosophy   Ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-009-9170-x
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References found in this work BETA

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1983 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.
Empirical Ethics, Context-Sensitivity, and Contextualism.Albert Musschenga - 2005 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (5):467 – 490.
Reason and Morality.Alan Gewirth - 1968 - University of Chicago Press.

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