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How do we know right from wrong? Do we even have moral knowledge? Moral epistemology studies these and related questions about our understanding of virtue and vice. It is one of philosophy's perennial problems, reaching back to Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Hume and Kant, and has recently been the subject of intense debate as a result of findings in developmental and social psychology.In this outstanding introduction to the subject Aaron Zimmerman covers the following key topics: What is moral epistemology? What are its methods? Including a discussion of Socrates, Gettier and contemporary theories of knowledgeSkepticism about moral knowledge based on the anthropological record of deep and persistent moral disagreement, including contextualismMoral nihilism, including debates concerning God and morality and the relation between moral knowledge and our motives and reasons to act morallyEpistemic moral scepticism, intuitionism and the possibility of inferring 'ought' from 'is,' discussing the views of Locke, Hume, Kant, Ross, Audi, Thomson, Harman, Sturgeon and many othersHow children acquire moral concepts and become more reliable judges.Criticisms of those who would reduce moral knowledge to value-neutral knowledge or attempt to replace moral belief with emotion.Throughout the book Zimmerman argues that our belief in moral knowledge can survive sceptical challenges. He also draws on a rich range of examples from Plato's Meno and Dickens's David Copperfield to Bernard Madoff and Saddam Hussein.Including chapter summaries and annotated further reading at the end of each chapter, Moral Epistemology is essential reading for all students of ethics, epistemology and moral psychology.
Table of Contents
|Moral epistemology: context and method||p. 1|
|What is moral epistemology?||p. 1|
|Socrates, Gettier, and the definition of ˘knowledge÷||p. 3|
|The standard method: levels of inquiry||p. 9|
|Theories of moral knowledge: an overview||p. 14|
|Chapter summary||p. 22|
|Further reading||p. 23|
|Moral disagreement||p. 25|
|Disagreement and skepticism||p. 25|
|Moral contextualism||p. 33|
|Chapter summary||p. 40|
|Further reading||p. 41|
|Moral nihilism||p. 42|
|Moral skepticism characterized||p. 42|
|The death of god||p. 43|
|Mackie's queerness||p. 47|
|Motives internalism||p. 54|
|Reasons internalism||p. 61|
|Chapter summary||p. 69|
|Further reading||p. 71|
|The skeptic and the intuitionist||p. 73|
|The Pyrrhonian problematic||p. 73|
|Non-inferential moral knowledge||p. 76|
|Chapter summary||p. 103|
|Further reading||p. 105|
|Deductive moral knowledge||p. 107|
|On deducing ˘ought÷ from ˘is÷||p. 107|
|In search of an epistemologically valuable moral deduction||p. 113|
|Assessing the epistemological value of our deduction||p. 124|
|Chapter summary||p. 138|
|Further reading||p. 139|
|Abductive moral knowledge||p. 141|
|Moral inference to the best explanation||p. 141|
|Chapter summary||p. 149|
|Further reading||p. 150|
|The reliability of our moral judgments||p. 151|
|Acquiring moral concepts and exercising objectivity||p. 151|
|Chapter summary||p. 168|
|Further reading||p. 169|
|Epilogue: Challenges to moral epistemology||p. 171|
|Frege, Moore, and the definition of ˘immorality÷||p. 171|
|Common-sense objections to non-cognitivism||p. 180|
|The Frege-Geach problems: Semantics v. pragmatics||p. 182|
|Non-cognitivist forms of validity||p. 186|
|Chapter summary||p. 193|
|Further reading||p. 193|
|Glossary of philosophical terms||p. 195|
|Works cited||p. 219|
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