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Displaying: 61-70 of 739 documents

61. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Tim Dare, Disagreeing about Disagreement in Law: The Argument from Theoretical Disagreement
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Ronald Dworkin argues that disagreement in hard cases is ‘theoretical’ rather than empirical and of central importance to our understanding of law, showing ‘plain fact’ theories such as H. L. A. Hart’s sophisticated legal positivism to be false. The argument from theoretical disagreement (ATD) targets positivism’s commitment to idea that the criteria a norm must meet to be valid in a given jurisdiction are constituted by a practice of convergent behavior by legal officials. The ATD suggests that in hard cases there is no such pattern of convergent behavior. Positivists are divided over the force of the ATD. Much of this disagreement over the force of the ATD can be understood as disagreement over just what it is that legal officials disagreeing ‘theoretically’ are disagreeing about. Once the scope of empirical and theoretical disagreements are more accurately plotted, we will see that the actual disagreements that occur in hard cases are not ones which threaten a deeper and pervasive pattern of convergent behavior, one which focuses not upon rules specifying criteria of legal validity, but instead upon broad processes for making, interpreting, and applying law. Such an account remains positivist, relying on the social fact that there is such a consensus, but allows for considerable disagreement among legal officials deciding cases within such procedures.
62. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
John K. Davis, An Alternative to Relativism
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Some moral disagreements are so persistent that we suspect they are deep: we would disagree even when we have all relevant information and no one makes any mistakes (this is also known as faultless disagreement). The possibility of deep disagreement is thought to drive cognitivists toward relativism, but most cognitivists reject relativism. There is an alternative. According to divergentism, cognitivists can reject relativism while allowing for deep disagreement. This view has rarely been defended at length, but many philosophers have implicitly endorsed its elements. I will defend it.
63. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Christopher W. Gowans, Moral Virtue and the Epistemology of Disagreement
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The paper is a defense of the thesis that there are situations in which morally virtuous persons who are epistemic peers may disagree about what to do without either person being rationally required to change his or her judgment (a version of the Steadfast position in the epistemology of disagreement debate). The argument is based in part on similarities between decisions of virtuous agents and other practical decisions such as a baseball manager’s decision to change pitchers during a game. In both cases, the role and responsibilities of the person making the decision and the complexities of the decision favor the Steadfast position. At the end of the paper, the argument for this position is compared with discussions of traditional arguments against moral objectivity that are based onmoral disagreements, and it is suggested that they involve rather different considerations.
64. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Sarah McGrath, Moral Realism without Convergence
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It is sometimes claimed that if moral realism is true, then rational and informed individuals would not disagree about morality. According to this line of thought, the moral realist is committed to an extremely substantive convergence thesis, one that might very well turn out to be false. Although this idea has been accepted by prominent moral realists as well as by antirealists, I argue that we have no reason to think that it is true, and that the only convergence claims to which the realist is committed are trivial ones.
65. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Christopher McMahon, Disagreement about Fairness
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This essay argues that fairness can be understood as appropriate concession in the context of a cooperative endeavor, and then explores why questions of fairness often give rise to disagreement. A constructivist theory of judgments of fairness is proposed according to which they are grounded, ultimately, in a motivational disposition to make and seek concessions in cooperative contexts when others are similarly disposed. It is argued that when judgments of fairness are interpreted in this way, issues of fairness will often admit of reasonable disagreement, in the sense that incompatible judgments can be supported by reasoning that is fully competent. Two different senses of the reasonable are distinguished, and the possible epistemic relevance of this distinction is noted. The essay concludes with an argument that the divergence of competently reasoned judgments of fairness envisaged by the theory should not be understoodas relativism about fairness.
66. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
C. Thi Nguyen, Autonomy, Understanding, and Moral Disagreement
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Should the existence of moral disagreement reduce one’s confidence in one’s moral judgments? Many have claimed that it should not. They claim that we should be morally self-sufficient: that one’s moral judgment and moral confidence ought to be determined entirely one’s own reasoning. Others’ moral beliefs ought not impact one’s own in any way. I claim that moral self-sufficiency is wrong. Moral self-sufficiency ignores the degree to which moral judgment is a fallible cognitive process like all the rest. In this paper, I take up two possible routes to moral self-sufficiency.First, I consider Robert Paul Wolff’s argument that an autonomous being is required to act from his own reasoning. Does Wolff’s argument yield moral self-sufficiency? Wolff’s argument does forbid unthinking obedience. But it does not forbid guidance: the use of moral testimony to glean evidence about nonmoral states of affairs. An agent can use the existence of agreement or disagreement as evidence concerning the reliability of their own cognitive abilities, which is entirely nonmoral information. Corroboration and discorroboration yields nonmoral evidence, and no reasonable theory of autonomy can forbid the use of nonmoral evidence. In fact, by using others to check on my own cognitive functionality, an agent is reasoning better and is thereby more autonomous.Second, I consider Philip Nickel’s requirement that moral judgment proceed from personal understanding. I argue that the requirement of understanding does forbid unthinking obedience, but not discorroboration. When an agent reasons morally, and then reduces confidence in their judgments through discorroboration, they are in full contact with the moral reasons, and with the epistemic reasons. Discorroboration yields more understanding, not less.
67. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Denis Robinson, Reflections on Moral Disagreement, Relativism, and Skepticism about Rules
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Part 1 of this paper discusses some uses of arguments from radical moral disagreement—in particular, as directed against absolutist cognitivism—and surveys some semantic issues thus made salient. It may be argued that parties to such a disagreement cannot be using the relevant moral claims with exactly the same absolutist cognitive content. That challenges the absolutist element of absolutist cognitivism, which, combined with the intractable nature of radical moral disagreement, in turn challenges the viability of a purely cognitivist account of moral judgments. Such a conclusion could be staved off if it could be held that a sufficient condition for commonality of cognitive content in moral judgments could consist, despite the presence of radical moral disagreement, in the parties’acceptance of a common set of fundamental moral principles. Part 1 begins, and Part 2 further develops, a destructive critique of that idea, leading thereby to a skeptical appraisal of the important role sometimes assigned, in metaethical theorizing, to moral rules. Inter alia the paper is intended to suggest the possibility of overlap between relativist and particularist agendas.
68. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Christine Swanton, Virtue Ethics and the Problem of Moral Disagreement
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According to many critics of virtue ethics the dominant virtue ethical paradigm of practical reasoning and right action both encourages a dismissive attitude to moral disagreement and offers a bad model for dealing with it. The charge of dismissiveness raises two issues. First, what is it to take moral disagreement seriously? Second, can virtue ethics respond to the charge?In answer to the first question I show that on virtue ethical account of ethics a great deal of pervasive deep disagreement can be explained by the existence of vagueness and cognitive shortcomings. Taking moral disagreement seriously is to appreciate that much disagreement is deep, reasonable, and intractable; and that moral points of view (including those of virtuous agents) are subject to limited perspectives, the narrative particularities of one’s life, and cultural and historical location. The alleged problem with virtue ethics is that it fails to appreciate the perspectival, theory ladenness, and intractability of dispute, for it is commonly assumed that in virtue ethics a virtuous agent is both the determinant of right action and the repository of sound reasoning about which actions are right.In answer to the second question I show that virtue ethics need not be committed to this feature. I assume a dialogical version of virtue ethics where right action is understood in terms of meeting the targets of relevant virtues, many of which pertain to excellence in dialogue. Relative to this account I focus on two areas of disagreement.(1) The status of actions falling within areas where the application of ‘right’ is vague.(2) Disagreement caused by cognitive shortcomings on the part of some or all of the disagreeing parties.
69. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 2
Folke Tersman, The Case for a Mixed Verdict on Ethics and Epistemology
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An increasingly popular strategy among critics of ethical anti-realism is to stress that the traditional arguments for that position work just as well in the case of other areas. For example, on the basis of that claim, it has recently been claimed that ethical expressivists are committed to being expressivists also about epistemic judgments (including the judgment that it is rational to believe in ethical expressivism). This in turn is supposed to seriously undermine their position. The purpose of my paper is to examine this challenge. I argue that, in spite of the many similarities between the discourses, there are also crucial differences and that those differences justify a mixed verdict about them.
70. Philosophical Topics: Volume > 38 > Issue: 1
Christopher Cowley, Learning to Love
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Imagine that you find yourself in a situation of considerable adversity and apparent permanence. Does it make sense for me to advise you to learn to love your situation? I argue that such advice is capable of a robust meaning beyond the mere expression of compassion, and far beyond the pragmatic advice to ‘accept it’ or ‘make the best of it’. I respond to the objections that love cannot be commanded, and that I am counselling pernicious forms of self-deception or self-deprecation. The key, I suggest, is to understand what it means to lead a life ‘from the inside’.