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Coherentist Epistemology and Moral Theory

In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Mark Timmons (eds.), Moral Knowledge? New Readings in Moral Epistemology. Oxford University Press (1996)

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  1. Does Moral Theory Corrupt Youth?Kieran Setiya - 2010 - Philosophical Topics 38 (1):205-222.
    Argues that the answer is yes. The epistemic assumptions of moral theory deprive us of resources needed to resist the challenge of moral disagreement, which its practice at the same time makes vivid. The paper ends by sketching a kind of epistemology that can respond to disagreement without skepticism: one in which the fundamental standards of justification for moral belief are biased toward the truth.
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  • A Defense of Torture.Fritz Allhoff - 2005 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (2):243-264.
    In this paper, I argue for the permissibility of torture in idealized cases by application of separation of cases: if torture is permissible given any of the dominant moral theories (and if one of those is correct), then torture is permissible simpliciter and I can discharge the tricky business of trying to adjudicate among conflicting moral views. To be sure, torture is not permissible on all the dominant moral theories as at least Kantianism will prove especially recalcitrant to granting moral (...)
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  • Rawls’ Methodological Blueprint.Jonathan Floyd - 2017 - European Journal of Political Theory 16 (3):367-381.
    Rawls’ primary legacy is not that he standardised a particular view of justice, but rather that he standardised a particular method of arguing about it: justification via reflective equilibrium. Yet this method, despite such standardisation, is often misunderstood in at least four ways. First, we miss its continuity across his various works. Second, we miss the way in which it unifies other justificatory ideas, such as the ‘original position’ and an ‘overlapping consensus’. Third, we miss its fundamentally empirical character, given (...)
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  • Don't Ask, Look! Linguistic Corpora as a Tool for Conceptual Analysis.Roland Bluhm - 2013 - In Migue Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V. DuEPublico. pp. 7-15.
    Ordinary Language Philosophy has largely fallen out of favour, and with it the belief in the primary importance of analyses of ordinary language for philosophical purposes. Still, in their various endeavours, philosophers not only from analytic but also from other backgrounds refer to the use and meaning of terms of interest in ordinary parlance. In doing so, they most commonly appeal to their own linguistic intuitions. Often, the appeal to individual intuitions is supplemented by reference to dictionaries. In recent times, (...)
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  • Is, Ought, and the Regress Argument.Jacob Sparks - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):528-543.
    Many take the claim that you cannot ‘get’ an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ to imply that non- moral beliefs are by themselves incapable of justifying moral beliefs. I argue that this is a mistake and that the position that moral beliefs are justified exclusively by non-moral beliefs—a view that I call moral inferentialism—presents an attractive non-sceptical moral epistemology.
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  • A Hard Look at Moral Perception.David Faraci - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2055-2072.
    This paper concerns what I take to be the primary epistemological motivation for defending moral perception. Offering a plausible account of how we gain moral knowledge is one of the central challenges of metaethics. It seems moral perception might help us meet this challenge. The possibility that we know about the instantiation of moral properties in something like the way we know that there is a bus passing in front of us raises the alluring prospect of subsuming moral epistemology under (...)
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  • Defective Equilibrium.Danny Frederick - 2016 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 23 (4):443-59.
    I argue that the conception of reflective equilibrium that is generally accepted in contemporary philosophy is defective and should be replaced with a conception of fruitful reflective disequilibrium which prohibits ad hoc manoeuvres, encourages new approaches, and eschews all justification in favour of continuous improvement. I suggest how the conception of fruitful disequilibrium can be applied more effectively to moral enquiry, to encourage genuine progress in moral knowledge, if we make moral theory empirically testable by adopting a meta-ethical postulate which (...)
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  • The Unity of Grounding.Selim Berker - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):729-777.
    I argue—contra moderate grounding pluralists such as Kit Fine and more extreme grounding pluralists such as Jessica Wilson—that there is fundamentally only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation. I also argue that this single relation is indispensable for normative theorizing—that we can’t make sense of, for example, the debate over consequentialism without it. It follows from what I argue that there is no metaethically-pure normative ethics.
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  • Coherentism Via Graphs.Selim Berker - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):322-352.
    Once upon a time, coherentism was the dominant response to the regress problem in epistemology, but in recent decades the view has fallen into disrepute: now almost everyone is a foundationalist (with a few infinitists sprinkled here and there). In this paper, I sketch a new way of thinking about coherentism, and show how it avoids many of the problems often thought fatal for the view, including the isolation objection, worries over circularity, and concerns that the concept of coherence is (...)
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  • Moral Disagreement and Non-Moral Ignorance.Nicholas Smyth - 2019 - Synthese:1-20.
    The existence of deep and persistent moral disagreement poses a problem for a defender of moral knowledge. It seems particularly clear that a philosopher who thinks that we know a great many moral truths should explain how human populations have failed to converge on those truths. In this paper, I do two things. First, I show that the problem is more difficult than it is often taken to be, and second, I criticize a popular response, which involves claiming that many (...)
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  • Reflective Equilibrium Without Intuitions?Georg Brun - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):237-252.
    In moral epistemology, the method of reflective equilibrium is often characterized in terms of intuitions or understood as a method for justifying intuitions. An analysis of reflective equilibrium and current theories of moral intuitions reveals that this picture is problematic. Reflective equilibrium cannot be adequately characterized in terms of intuitions. Although the method presupposes that we have initially credible commitments, it does not presuppose that they are intuitions. Nonetheless, intuitions can enter the process of developing a reflective equilibrium and, if (...)
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  • The Method of Reflective Equilibrium and Intuitions.Julia Langkau - 2013 - In .
    Reflective equilibrium has been considered a paradigm method involving intuitions. Some philosophers have recently claimed that it is trivial and can even accommodate the sort of scepticism about the reliability of intuitions advocated by experimental philosophers. I discuss several ways in which reflective equilibrium could be thought of as trivial and argue that it is inconsistent with scepticism about the reliability of intuitions.
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  • Reflective Equilibrium.Yuri Cath - 2016 - In H. Cappelen, T. Gendler & J. Hawthorne (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press. pp. 213-230.
    This article examines the method of reflective equilibrium (RE) and its role in philosophical inquiry. It begins with an overview of RE before discussing some of the subtleties involved in its interpretation, including challenges to the standard assumption that RE is a form of coherentism. It then evaluates some of the main objections to RE, in particular, the criticism that this method generates unreasonable beliefs. It concludes by considering how RE relates to recent debates about the role of intuitions in (...)
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  • Oraciones normativas y sensibilidad a la evaluación.Justina Diaz Legaspe - 2017 - Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 43 (1):29-47.
    Nuestro lenguaje no solo describe el mundo que nos rodea: muchas expresiones que usamos habitualmente (desde predicados de gusto a expresiones como “interesante” o “divertido”) tienen por función valorar los objetos que constituyen nuestro entorno. Las oraciones que las contienen son sensibles a la evaluación: su valor de verdad depende del estándar evaluativo saliente en contexto y su emisión puede dar lugar a desacuerdos duros. El presente trabajo examina la ex- tensión de esta categoría a oraciones con predicados y verbos (...)
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  • Problem Troleja I Vrijednost Intuicija Kao Dokaza.Linda Maraš Krapić - 2016 - Filozofska Istrazivanja 36 (1):155-166.
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  • Success and Knowledge-How.Katherine Hawley - 2003 - American Philosophical Quarterly 40 (1):19 - 31.
    In this paper, I argue that there is a notion of 'counterfactual success' which stands to knowledge how as true belief stands to propositional knowledge. (I attempt to avoid the question of whether knowledge how is a type of propositional knowledge.).
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  • Pluralism and the Absence of Truth.Jeremy Wyatt - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Connecticut
    In this dissertation, I argue that we should be pluralists about truth and in turn, eliminativists about the property Truth. Traditional deflationists were right to suspect that there is no such property as Truth. Yet there is a plurality of pluralities of properties which enjoy defining features that Truth would have, were it to exist. So although, in this sense, truth is plural, Truth is non-existent. The resulting account of truth is indebted to deflationism as the provenance of the suspicion (...)
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  • Justification and Justice: Rawls, Quine and Ethics as Science.Diana Taschetto - 2015 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 19 (1):147-169.
    The relationship between Rawls’s theory of justice and Quine’s philosophy constitute an almost entirely new topic of discussion. The analysis undertaken in this article aims to show that some fundamental epistemological traits of Rawls’s theory of justice may be causally explained by referring to Quine’s influence on him. Rawls’s assumptions, methods of theory-building and evaluation criteria are addressed and a close nexus between the methods of ethics and natural science is made explicit. In the light of the historical and epistemological (...)
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  • Moral Coherence and Value Pluralism.Patricia Marino - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):117-135.
    This paper addresses the question of what value pluralism tells us about the pursuit of moral coherence as a method of moral reasoning. I focus on the status of the norm of ‘systematicity,’ or the demand that our principles be as few and as simple as possible. I argue that, given certain descriptive facts about the pluralistic ways we value, epistemic ways of supporting a systematicity norm do not succeed. Because it is sometimes suggested that coherence functions in moral reasoning (...)
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  • Haack’s Foundherentism is a Foundationalism.Peter Tramel - 2008 - Synthese 160 (2):215 - 228.
    Susan Haack has always maintained that her unquestionably important foundherentist theory of epistemic justification is not a foundationalism. In a 1997 Synthese exchange, Laurence BonJour questioned her right to this claim, and she dug in and defended it. What was at stake is of timeless importance to epistemology: it goes directly to the question, “What is foundationalism?” I inquire with greater care than either Haack or BonJour took in 1997, and I find decisively in favor of the view that foundherentism (...)
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  • Reassessing Walzer’s Social Criticism.Marcus Agnafors - 2012 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (9):917-937.
    It is often argued that Michael Walzer’s theory of social criticism, which underpins his theory of justice, is not much of a theory at all, but rather an impressionistic collection of historical anecdotes. Contrary to this perception, I argue that Walzer’s method can be accurately described as a version of John Rawls’ well-known method of wide reflective equilibrium. Through a systematic comparison it can be shown that the two methods are strikingly similar. This implies that, far from the critics’ claim, (...)
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  • An Argument Against the Social Fact Thesis (and Some Additional Preliminary Steps Towards a New Conception of Legal Positivism).Kevin Toh - 2008 - Law and Philosophy 27 (5):445 - 504.
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  • Question Authority: In Defense of Moral Naturalism Without Clout.Jon Tresan - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (2):221 - 238.
    Metaethicists of all stripes should read and learn from Richard Joyce's book The Evolution of Morality. This includes moral realists, despite Joyce's own nihilism. Joyce thinks that moral obligations, prohibitions, and the like are myths. But that is just a bit of a rich, broad account of moral attitudes and practices, the bulk of which can comfortably be accepted by realists. In fact, other than nihilism itself, there's only one claim of Joyce's which realists must reject. I argue that that (...)
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  • Moral Applicability of Agrippa’s Trilemma.Noriaki Iwasa - 2013 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 13 (1):109-128.
    According to Agrippa's trilemma, an attempt to justify something leads to either infinite regress, circularity, or dogmatism. This essay examines whether and to what extent the trilemma applies to ethics. There are various responses to the trilemma, such as foundationalism, coherentism, contextualism, infinitism, and German idealism. Examining those responses, the essay shows that the trilemma applies at least to rational justification of contentful moral beliefs. This means that rationalist ethics based on any contentful moral belief are rationally unjustifiable.
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  • On Justifying One’s Acceptance of Divine Command Theory.Dennis Plaisted - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (3):315-334.
    It has been alleged against divine command theory that we cannot justify our acceptance of it without giving it up. For if we provide moral reasons for our acceptance of God’s commands, then those reasons, and not God’s commands, must be our ultimate moral standard. Kai Nielsen has offered the most forceful version of this objection in his book, Ethics Without God. My principal aim is to show that Nielsen’s charge does not succeed. His argument crucially relies upon the assumption (...)
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  • Topical Epistemologies.Todd Stewart - 2007 - Metaphilosophy 38 (1):23–43.
    What is the point of developing an epistemology for a topic—for example, morality? When is it appropriate to develop the epistemology of a topic? For many topics—for example, the topic of socks—we see no need to develop a special epistemology. Under what conditions, then, does a topic deserve its own epistemology? I seek to answer these questions in this article. I provide a criterion for deciding when we are warranted in developing an epistemological theory for a topic. I briefly apply (...)
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  • Haack’s Foundherentism is a Foundationalism.Peter Tramel - 2008 - Synthese 160 (2):215-228.
    Susan Haack has always maintained that her unquestionably important foundherentist theory of epistemic justification is not a foundationalism. In a 1997 "Synthese" exchange, Laurence BonJour questioned her right to this claim, and she dug in and defended it. What was at stake is of timeless importance to epistemology: it goes directly to the question, "What is foundationalism?" I inquire with greater care than either Haack or BonJour took in 1997, and I find decisively in favor of the view that foundherentism (...)
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