Experts, Practitioners, and Practical Judgement

Experts, Practitioners, and Practical Judgement Experts, Practitioners, and Practical Judgement O NORA O’N EILL Department of Philosophy University of Cambridge Cambridge, UK oon20@cam.ac.uk In Theory and Practice Kant challenges the well-worn view that practitioners do not need to rely on theory. He acknowledges that experts with a deep knowledge of theory may fail as practitioners both in technical matters, and in matters of morality and justice. However, since action-guiding theories are intended to shape rather than to fit the world, practitioners have no point of reference other than the theories or principles that they seek to enact. If theories of duty appear to offer too little guidance for action, they should look for more rather than fewer principles, which will enable them to guide their practical judgement with greater, if still incom- plete, specificity. Keywords: direction of fit; expertise; judgement; Kant; practice 1. Experts and Practitioners n the opening section of his 1793 essay Theory and Practice , 1 Kant distin- guishes two ways in which experts may fail as practitioners. He describes experts as knowing ‘a sum of rules, even of practical rules’ which ‘is called theory if those rules are thought as principles having a certain generality, so that abstraction is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Moral Philosophy Brill

Experts, Practitioners, and Practical Judgement

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 2007 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1740-4681
eISSN
1745-5243
D.O.I.
10.1177/1740468107079246
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Experts, Practitioners, and Practical Judgement O NORA O’N EILL Department of Philosophy University of Cambridge Cambridge, UK oon20@cam.ac.uk In Theory and Practice Kant challenges the well-worn view that practitioners do not need to rely on theory. He acknowledges that experts with a deep knowledge of theory may fail as practitioners both in technical matters, and in matters of morality and justice. However, since action-guiding theories are intended to shape rather than to fit the world, practitioners have no point of reference other than the theories or principles that they seek to enact. If theories of duty appear to offer too little guidance for action, they should look for more rather than fewer principles, which will enable them to guide their practical judgement with greater, if still incom- plete, specificity. Keywords: direction of fit; expertise; judgement; Kant; practice 1. Experts and Practitioners n the opening section of his 1793 essay Theory and Practice , 1 Kant distin- guishes two ways in which experts may fail as practitioners. He describes experts as knowing ‘a sum of rules, even of practical rules’ which ‘is called theory if those rules are thought as principles having a certain generality, so that abstraction is

Journal

Journal of Moral PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2007

Keywords: practice; expertise; Kant; direction of fit; judgement

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