How we know what ought to be

This paper outlines a new approach to the epistemology of normative beliefs, based on a version of the claim that “the intentional is normative”. This approach incorporates an account of where our “normative intuitions” come from, and of why it is essential to these intuitions that they have a certain weak connection to the truth. This account allows that these intuitions may be fallible, but it also seeks to explain why it is rational for us to rely on these intuitions in forming normative beliefs—although it is also rational for us to try to correct for these intuitions’ fallibility by revising our normative beliefs in such a way as to approach what Rawls called “reflective equilibrium”.
Keywords Moral epistemology  Intuitions  Reflective equilibrium
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9264.2006.00139.x
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