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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 1$
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Mark Timmons

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693269

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693269.001.0001

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Normative ethics, conversion, and pictures as tools of moral persuasion

Normative ethics, conversion, and pictures as tools of moral persuasion

Chapter:
(p.268) 11 Normative ethics, conversion, and pictures as tools of moral persuasion
Source:
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 1
Author(s):

Sarah McGrath

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693269.003.0011

In attempting to influence the moral views of others, activists sometimes employ pictures as tools of moral persuasion. In such cases, a viewer is confronted with an actual instance of the practice whose morality is at issue and invited to draw a general moral conclusion in response. This paper explores some of the philosophical issues that arise in connection with the use of pictures as tools of moral persuasion, with special attention to the roles of acquaintance and conversion in the moral domain. Against concerns that relying on pictures will tend to bias or distort one’s moral judgment, the paper offers a qualified defense of the use of pictures. It then considers some implications for (i) the characterization of wide reflective equilibrium, (ii) the concept of a moral expert, and (iii) our attitudes towards our moral convictions.

Keywords:   pictures, moral persuasion, acquaintance, conversion, bias, reflective equilibrium, moral expert, moral epistemology, moral knowledge

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