Moral Deference

ATTENTION, CHANGEMENT D’HEURE! The Puzzle of Moral Deference

Quand :
9 décembre 2014 @ 13:30 – 15:00
Où :
Salle 309 CRÉ
Université de Montréal
2910 Boulevard Edouard-Montpetit, Montréal, QC H3T 1J7

Michele Palmira présente ses travaux de recherche dans le cadre des midis de l’éthique du CRÉ.


Objectivist views about morality have to face the so-called puzzle of moral deference (see McGrath 2011). Briefly put, the puzzle is this. Whereas there is nothing wrong about relying on an expert’s opinion in e.g. geography, when we defer the justification of our moral beliefs or actions to the alleged moral expert’s opinion we have the feeling that something fishy is going on. In this paper, we argue that the analogy between morality and other alleged objective areas of discourse that motivates the puzzle is misleading, and we explain why the puzzle seemed so puzzling in the first place. The key contention of the paper is that the subject’s behaviour of deferring to someone else is suspicious, but not because she is relying on an expert – instead, it’s because she fails to acknowledge that she is relying on an epistemic peer when she shouldn’t.

This is a joint work with Cory Davia (University of California San Diego).