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Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Vol 7$
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Mark C Timmons

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808930

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808930.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 September 2021

How Moral Uncertaintism Can Be Both True and Interesting

How Moral Uncertaintism Can Be Both True and Interesting

(p.98) 5 How Moral Uncertaintism Can Be Both True and Interesting
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Vol 7

Andrew Sepielli

Oxford University Press

Several philosophers have tried to develop a framework for decision-making in the face of fundamental moral uncertainty. Critics argue that the project is misguided, as it assumes that there’s a kind of “subjective” rightness that depends on which moral views might be true (rather than which ones are true). This chapter replies to some such criticisms presented by Elizabeth Harman. Harman argues that “moral uncertaintists” seem committed to counterintuitive views about what’s right and what we’re culpable for, and that the only way of modifying the uncertaintist position to escape these commitments renders it uninteresting. However, uncertaintism can avoid these counterintuitive implications by focusing on epistemic probabilities of moral claims rather than subjective ones, and by positing different “orders” of subjective rightness. Further, the version of uncertaintism Harman calls “uninteresting” is not; it specifies what would count as one’s best try at doing what she has objective reason to do.

Keywords:   moral uncertainty, Elizabeth Harman, subjective rightness, epistemic probability, trying

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