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Knowing Right From Wrong$
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Kieran Setiya

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657452

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657452.001.0001

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(p.56) 2 Reliability
Knowing Right From Wrong

Kieran Setiya

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops and defends the Reductive Epistemology of chapter one, responding to the problem of coincidence. According to recent critics of ‘ethical realism’, such as Sharon Street, our reliability in ethics is wholly inexplicable if the facts are independent of our beliefs. Since it is irrational to accept a coincidence that cannot be explained, ethical realism leads to sceptical doubt. This chapter develops a response to Street's argument that hinges on two ideas: first, that there are conditions in which it is rational to accept an inexplicable coincidence, conditions that are met in the ethical case; second, that it is legitimate to argue for reliability in ethics by way of ethical beliefs.

Keywords:   coincidence, epistemology, ethics, evidence, evolution, realism, reliability, scepticism

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