Distinguishing value-neutrality from value-independence: toward a new disentangling strategy for moral epistemology

In Mark McBride & Visa A. J. Kurki (eds.), Without Trimmings: The Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy of Matthew Kramer (forthcoming)
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This chapter outlines a new disentangling strategy for moral epistemology. It builds on the fundamental distinction between value-neutrality and value-independence as two separate aspects of methodological austerity introduced by Matthew Kramer. This type of conceptual analysis is then applied to two major challenges in moral epistemology: globalised scepticism and debate fragmentation. Both challenges arise from collapsing the fact/value dichotomy. They can be addressed by comprehensive disentangling that runs along both dimensions – value neutrality vs. value non-neutrality and value independence vs. value dependence. The success of this strategy rests on two factors. The first is broadening the scope of disentangling to include theoretical-explanatory values on a par with distinctly ethical values. The second is differentiating between wider and narrower conceptualisations of what value neutrality requires with respect to contested matters. The objective is to pre-empt unjust theorising, a distinctive form of epistemic injustice that derives from the exclusive methodological focus on ethical evaluations at the expense of epistemic ones. When these methodological conditions are fulfilled, opponents should gain the confidence to treat each other as fellow inquirers engaged in the same project, that of reducing the scope of unhelpful disagreements.

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Lubomira Radoilska
University of Kent


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