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Brian Besong
Ohio Dominican University
  1. Moral Intuitionism and Disagreement.Brian Besong - 2014 - Synthese 191 (12):2767-2789.
    According to moral intuitionism, at least some moral seeming states are justification-conferring. The primary defense of this view currently comes from advocates of the standard account, who take the justification-conferring power of a moral seeming to be determined by its phenomenological credentials alone. However, the standard account is vulnerable to a problem. In brief, the standard account implies that moral knowledge is seriously undermined by those commonplace moral disagreements in which both agents have equally good phenomenological credentials supporting their disputed (...)
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  2. Reappraising the Manual Tradition.Brian Besong - 2015 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 89 (4):557-584.
    Following the Second Vatican Council, the predominant trend in Catholic moral theology has been decidedly antagonistic toward the tradition that dominated moral theology before the Council, namely the use and formulation of ecclesiastically-approved “manuals” or “handbooks” of moral theology, the contents of which chiefly involved general precepts of morally good and bad behavior as well as the extension of those precepts to particular cases. In this paper, I will oppose the dominant anti-manual trend. More particularly, I will first sketch what (...)
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  3.  40
    Virtue and Asceticism.Brian Besong - forthcoming - Philosophy:1-24.
    Although one can find a robust philosophical tradition supporting asceticism in the West, from ancient Greece to at least early modernity, very little attention has been paid to what motivated this broad support. Instead, following criticism from figures such as Hume, Voltaire, Bentham, and Nietzsche, asceticism has been largely disregarded as either eccentric or uniquely religious. In this paper, I provide what I take to be the core moral argument that motivated many philosophical ascetics. In brief, acts of deliberate self-denial (...)
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  4. Being Appropriately Disgusted.Brian Besong - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (1):131-150.
    Empirical research indicates that feelings of disgust actually affect our moral beliefs and moral motivations. The question is, should they? Daniel Kelly argues that they should not. More particularly, he argues for what we may call the irrelevancy thesis and the anti-moralization thesis. According to the irrelevancy thesis, feelings of disgust should be given no weight when judging the moral character of an action (or norm, practice, outcome, or ideal). According to the anti-moralization thesis, feelings of disgust should not be (...)
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  5. Teaching the Debate.Brian Besong - 2016 - Teaching Philosophy 39 (4):401-412.
    One very common style of teaching philosophy involves remaining publicly neutral regarding the views being debated—a technique commonly styled ‘teaching the debate.’ This paper seeks to survey evidence from the literature in social psychology that suggests teaching the debate naturally lends itself to student skepticism toward the philosophical views presented. In contrast, research suggests that presenting one’s own views alongside teaching the debate in question—or ‘engaging the debate’—can effectively avoid eliciting skeptical attitudes among students without sacrificing desirable pedagogical outcomes. Thus, (...)
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  6. The Prudent Conscience View.Brian Besong - 2014 - International Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2):127-141.
    Moral intuitionism, which claims that some moral seemings are justification-conferring, has become an increasingly popular account in moral epistemology. Defenses of the position have largely focused on the standard account, according to which the justification-conferring power of a moral seeming is determined by its phenomenal credentials alone. Unfortunately, the standard account is a less plausible version of moral intuitionism because it does not take etiology seriously. In this paper, I provide an outline and defense of a non-standard account of moral (...)
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  7.  62
    Disagreeing with Confidence.Brian Besong - 2017 - Theoria 83 (4):419-439.
    Does having an initially high level of justified confidence in a belief vindicate remaining steadfast in the face of disagreement? According to one prominent view in the literature, namely Jennifer Lackey's justificationist position, the answer is yes so long as one also has personal information that provides a symmetry-breaker. In this article, I raise a problem for the justificationist view. On the most straightforward reading of the justificationist position, personal information always provides a symmetry-breaker in a peer dispute over a (...)
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