Non-Inferential Moral Knowledge

Acta Analytica 26 (4):355-366 (2011)
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In a series of recent papers, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong has developed a novel argument against moral intuitionism. I suggest a defense on behalf of the intuitionist against Sinnott-Armstrong’s objections. Rather than focus on the main premises of his argument, I instead examine the way in which Sinnott-Armstrong construes the intuitionistic position. I claim that Sinnott-Armstrong’s understanding of intuitionism is mistaken. In particular, I argue that Sinnott-Armstrong mischaracterizes non-inferentiality as it figures in intuitionism. To the extent that Sinnott-Armstrong’s account of intuitionism has been adopted by others uncritically, intuitionists have cause for concern. I develop an alternative, and more accurate, reading of what is non-inferential about intuitionistic moral knowledge. In light of this alternative reading, certain elements of Sinnott-Armstrong’s case against intuitionism are significantly weakened. But perhaps more importantly, this paper helps clarify what circumspect intuitionists mean when they claim that some moral knowledge is non-inferential



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Elizabeth Tropman
Colorado State University

References found in this work

The Right and the Good. Some Problems in Ethics.W. D. Ross - 1930 - Oxford: Clarendon Press. Edited by Philip Stratton-Lake.
Moral skepticisms.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong - 2006 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Contemporary Theories of Knowledge.John Pollock - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (1):131-140.
The Right and the Good.W. D. Ross - 1930 - Philosophy 6 (22):236-240.

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