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Epistemic AuthorityA Theory of Trust, Authority, and Autonomy in Belief$
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Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199936472

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199936472.001.0001

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Moral Authority

Moral Authority

(p.159) 8 Moral Authority
Epistemic Authority

Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski

Oxford University Press

This chapter applies the arguments of previous chapters to the domain of moral belief. The chapter defends the existence of epistemic authority in the moral domain against objections from three directions: (1) there is no moral truth to be discovered, (2) there are no moral experts, and (3) taking a moral belief on authority conflicts with the autonomy of the self. However, the chapter identifies limitations of moral testimony for moral motivation and moral understanding. These limitations reveal the importance of moral communities for the transmission of practically useful and praiseworthy moral beliefs.

Keywords:   testimony, moral authority, moral judgment, moral scepticism, autonomy, moral emotions, moral motivation, moral understanding

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