The Method of Reflective Equilibrium: Wide, Radical, Fallible, Plausible

Philosophical Papers 35 (2):205-229 (2006)
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Abstract

This article argues that, suitably modified, the method of reflective equilibrium is a plausible way of selecting moral principles. The appropriate conception of the method is wide and radical, admitting consideration of a full range of moral principles and arguments, and requiring the enquiring individual to consider others' views and undergo experiences that may offset any formative biases. The individual is not bound by his initial considered judgments, and may revise his view in any way whatsoever. It is appropriate to describe the method as a balance between coherentism and fallibilist foundationalism. With these points in mind, various criticisms, including the claims that considered judgments are not initially credible and are shaped by prejudice, and that the method itself fails to determine principle selection, are challenged.

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Carl Knight
University of Glasgow

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