The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 1999


Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Pages 117-127

Explanation and Justification in Moral Epistemology

Recent exchanges among Harman, Thomson, and their critics about moral explanations have done much to clarify this two-decades-old debate. I discuss some points in these exchanges along with five different kinds of moral explanations that have been proposed. I conclude that moral explanations cannot provide evidence within an unlimited contrast class that includes moral nihilism, but some moral explanations can still provide evidence within limited contrast classes where all competitors accept the necessary presuppositions. This points towards a limited version of moral skepticism.