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Moral Uncertainty and Political Philosophy

Knox, Andrew MacGregor Isaacs; (2019) Moral Uncertainty and Political Philosophy. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis addresses a methodological tendency in political philosophy whereby philosophers develop their ethical views independently of the political realm and then import those views into political argumentation intact, without considering whether this sort of primacy of the ethical is appropriate. Observing that the political is non-accidentally typified by disagreement about all manner of things, including, importantly, the ethical, reveals this to be deeply problematic. Through a discussion of moral epistemology, the thesis aims to show that we should not be certain about our moral beliefs in the face of disagreement, which means in turn that we must alter the way in which we approach political philosophy. It considers two responses to this concern: the Unilateral Solution, which argues that if you have access to the moral facts you may ignore disagreement, and the Pluralist Solution, which argues that moral disagreement ought to be taken seriously and that it is the job of political philosophy to provide a framework in which this disagreement can play out. After arguing that neither of these solutions is satisfactory, the thesis concludes that the moral uncertainty caused by disagreement is unavoidable, and offers some suggestions for how we might practice political philosophy in light of this situation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Moral Uncertainty and Political Philosophy
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086797
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