Epistemic modesty in ethics

Epistemic modesty in ethics Many prominent ethicists, including Shelly Kagan, John Rawls, and Thomas Scanlon, accept a kind of epistemic modesty thesis concerning our capacity to carry out the project of ethical theorizing. But it is a thesis that has received surprisingly little explicit and focused attention, despite its widespread acceptance. After explaining why the thesis is true, I argue that it has several implications in metaethics, including, especially, implications that should lead us to rethink our understanding of Reductive Realism. In particular, the thesis of epistemic modesty in ethics implies a kind of epistemic modesty about the metaphysical nature of ethics, if Reductive Realism about the metaphysical nature of ethics is true, and it implies that normative concepts are indispensable to practical deliberation in a way that answers an influential objection to Reductive Realism from Jonathan Dancy, David Enoch, William FitzPatrick, and Derek Parfit. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophical Studies Springer Journals

Epistemic modesty in ethics

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy, general; Epistemology; Philosophy of Mind; Ethics; Metaphysics; Philosophy of Language
ISSN
0031-8116
eISSN
1573-0883
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11098-017-0924-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many prominent ethicists, including Shelly Kagan, John Rawls, and Thomas Scanlon, accept a kind of epistemic modesty thesis concerning our capacity to carry out the project of ethical theorizing. But it is a thesis that has received surprisingly little explicit and focused attention, despite its widespread acceptance. After explaining why the thesis is true, I argue that it has several implications in metaethics, including, especially, implications that should lead us to rethink our understanding of Reductive Realism. In particular, the thesis of epistemic modesty in ethics implies a kind of epistemic modesty about the metaphysical nature of ethics, if Reductive Realism about the metaphysical nature of ethics is true, and it implies that normative concepts are indispensable to practical deliberation in a way that answers an influential objection to Reductive Realism from Jonathan Dancy, David Enoch, William FitzPatrick, and Derek Parfit.

Journal

Philosophical StudiesSpringer Journals

Published: May 22, 2017

References

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