Moral Experts, Deference & Disagreement

In Nathan Nobis, Scott McElreath & Jonathan Matheson (eds.), Moral Expertise. Springer Verlag (2018)
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We sometimes seek expert guidance when we don’t know what to think or do about a problem. In challenging cases concerning medical ethics, we may seek a clinical ethics consultation for guidance. The assumption is that the bioethicist, as an expert on ethical issues, has knowledge and skills that can help us better think about the problem and improve our understanding of what to do regarding the issue. The widespread practice of ethics consultations raises these questions and more: • What would it take to be a moral expert? • Is anyone a moral expert, and if so, how could a non-expert identify one? • Is it in any way problematic to accept and follow the advice of a moral expert as opposed to coming to moral conclusions on your own? • What should we think and do when moral experts disagree about a practical ethical issue? In what follows, we address these theoretical and practical questions about moral expertise.
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