Who's Afraid of Trolleys?

In Jussi Suikkanen & Antti Kauppinen (eds.), Methodology and Moral Philosophy. Lontoo, Yhdistynyt kuningaskunta: (2019)
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Abstract
Recent empirical studies of philosophers by Eric Schwitzgebel and others have seriously called into question whether professional ethicists have any useful expertise with thought experiments, given that their intuitions appear to be no more reliable than those of lay subjects. Drawing on such results, sceptics like Edouard Machery argue that normative ethics as it is currently practiced is deeply problematic. In this paper, I present two main arguments in defense of the standard methodology of normative ethics. First, there is strong reason to believe that expertise with thought experiments requires considering scenarios in their proper theoretical context and in parallel with other pertinent situations, so that we should not expect philosophers to be better than lay folk at responding to decontextualized cases. Second, skeptical views underestimate the epistemic benefits of the actual practices of post-processing initial verdicts both at individual and social levels. Contrary to a mythical conception of ‘the method of cases’, philosophers are frequently sensitive to the quality of intuitive evidence, reject and revise their verdicts on the basis of independently supported principles or interpersonal criticism, and defer to recognized specialists.
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The Enigma of Reason.Sperber, Dan & Mercier, Hugo
What Do Philosophers Believe?Bourget, David & Chalmers, David J.

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