UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Why Epistemic Reductionism Won’t Save the Moral Error Theorist

Murphy, A; (2020) Why Epistemic Reductionism Won’t Save the Moral Error Theorist. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice , 23 (1) pp. 53-69. 10.1007/s10677-020-10062-7. Green open access

[thumbnail of Murphy2020_Article_WhyEpistemicReductionismWonTSa.pdf]
Preview
Text
Murphy2020_Article_WhyEpistemicReductionismWonTSa.pdf - Published Version

Download (403kB) | Preview

Abstract

Moral error theorists often respond to the epistemic companions in guilt strategy by adopting the Disparity Response: reject the putative parity between moral and epistemic reasons and claim that though the former are irreducibly normative, the latter aren’t. I argue such a response fails. Expanding on Das’ Australas J Philos 95(1):58–69, (2017) work I present a master argument against Disparity Responses: the arguments moral error theorists use to advance their conceptual claim apply in the epistemic domain also. This prohibits the error theorist from adopting epistemic reductionism. I use Jonas Olson’s work as exemplary of moral error theory. I demonstrate that Olson’s (2014) argument that the rhetorical authority of moral claims is best explained by the error theorist’s conceptual claim applies equally in the epistemic case. Olson (2018) attempts to avoid this by claiming that epistemic claims are reducible to claims about whether our doxastic attitudes live up to their functions. There are two problems with Olson’s (2018) argument. Firstly, functional reasons are a species of a common genus – standards reasons – and since Olson’s authority argument against moral reductionism applies to standards reasons, it applies to functional reasons. Secondly, Olson’s (2018) claim that we cannot also cast moral reasons as functional is under-supported. I suggest that there is plausible evidence that we can and undermine his arguments against this claim. I do not argue that the epistemic companions in guilt strategy demonstrates the falsity of moral error theory. Rather, I argue that the Disparity Response to the epistemic companions in guilt strategy fails.

Type: Article
Title: Why Epistemic Reductionism Won’t Save the Moral Error Theorist
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10677-020-10062-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-020-10062-7
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Moral error theory, Epistemic error theory, Moral reductionism, Epistemic reductionism, Meta-ethics, Meta-epistemology, Meta-normativity
UCL classification: UCL
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/10141382
Downloads since deposit
9Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item