Moral Agnosticism: An Ethics of Inquiry and Public Discourse

Teaching Ethics 14 (2):3-16 (2014)

Authors
Lawrence Torcello
Rochester Institute of Technology
Abstract
Taking Anthropogenic global warming as its framing example this paper develops an ethics of inquiry and public discourse influenced by Rawlsian public reason. The need to embrace scientific fact during civil discourse on topics of moral and political controversy is stressed as an ethical mandate. The paper argues: (1) ethicists have a moral obligation to recognize scientific consensus when relevant to ethical discussions. (2) The failure to condemn science denialism when it interferes with the public’s understanding of ethical issues is itself a moral failure (especially in an educational setting). (3) The endorsed ethics of inquiry and public discourse encourages epistemic virtues that are desirable among members of a pluralistic society.
Keywords Anthropogenic Global warming  Climate Change  Public Reason  John Rawls  Science  Science Denialism
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ISBN(s) 1544-4031
DOI 10.5840/tej20141422
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