Moral Appraisal for Everyone: Neurodiversity, Epistemic Limitations, and Responding to the Right Reasons

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (3):733-752 (2021)
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De Re Significance accounts of moral appraisal consider an agent’s responsiveness to a particular kind of reason, normative moral reasons de re, to be of central significance for moral appraisal. Here, I argue that such accounts find it difficult to accommodate some neuroatypical agents. I offer an alternative account of how an agent’s responsiveness to normative moral reasons affects moral appraisal – the Reasonable Expectations Account. According to this account, what is significant for appraisal is not the content of the reasons an agent is responsive to, but rather whether she is responsive to the reasons it is reasonable to expect her to be responsive to, irrespective of their content. I argue that this account does a better job of dealing with neuroatypical agents, while agreeing with the De Re Significance accounts on more ordinary cases.

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Claire Field
University of Stirling


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