Companions in Guilt Arguments in the Epistemology of Moral Disagreement

In Christopher Cowie & R. A. Rowland (eds.), Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 187-205 (2019)
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Abstract

A popular argument is that peer disagreement about controversial moral topics undermines justified moral belief in a way that peer disagreement about non-moral topics does not undermine justified non-moral belief. Call this argument the argument for moral skepticism from peer disagreement. Jason Decker and Daniel Groll have recently made a companions in guilt response to this argument. Decker and Groll argue that if peer disagreement undermines justified moral belief, then peer disagreement undermines much non-moral justified belief; if the argument for moral skepticism from peer disagreement succeeds, then a kind of non-moral skepticism holds too. And we should not hold that the status of such non-moral beliefs are undermined by peer disagreement. In this paper, I shows that Decker and Groll’s companions in guilt argument fails. I then draw out the implications of my argument for the epistemology of disagreement and the epistemology of moral disagreement more generally. For instance, I then argue that peer disagreement about morality does not undermine all justified moral belief but that peer disagreement about morality does preclude most moral beliefs from being justified and constituting knowledge in a way that peer disagreement about non-moral topics does not preclude most non-moral beliefs from being justified and constituting knowledge.

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R. A. Rowland
University of Leeds

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