Methodology and Moral Philosophy  book cover
1st Edition

Methodology and Moral Philosophy

ISBN 9780367664664
Published September 30, 2020 by Routledge
250 Pages

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Book Description

Many ethicists either accept the reflective equilibrium method or think that anything goes in ethical theorizing as long as the results are plausible. The aim of this book is to advance methodological thinking in ethics beyond these common attitudes and to raise new methodological questions about how moral philosophy should be done.

What are we entitled to assume as the starting-point of our ethical inquiry? What is the role of empirical sciences in ethics? Is there just one general method for doing moral philosophy or should different questions in moral philosophy be answered in different ways? Are there argumentative structures and strategies that we should be encouraged to use or typical argumentative patterns that we should avoid?

This volume brings together leading moral philosophers to consider these questions. The chapters investigate the prospects of empirical ethics, outline new methods of ethics, evaluate recent methodological advances, and explore whether different areas of moral philosophy are methodologically continuous or independent of one another. The aim of Methodology and Moral Philosophy is to make moral philosophers more self-aware and reflective of the way in which they do moral philosophy and also to encourage them to take part in methodological debates.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Jussi Suikkanen

Part I: The Prospects of Empirical Ethics

2. How to Debunk Moral Beliefs

Victor Kumar and Joshua May

3. Who’s Afraid of Trolleys?

Antti Kauppinen

4. Learnability and Moral Nativism: Exploring Wilde Rules

Tyler Millhouse, Alisabeth Ayars and Shaun Nichols

Part II: New Methods

5. Metaethics from a First-Person Standpoint

Catherine Wilson

6. Consequentialism and the Evaluation of Action qua Action

Andrew Sepielli

Part III: Evaluations of Recent Methods

7. The Similarity Hypothesis in Metaethics

Christopher Cowie

8. The That

James Lenman

9. Footing the Cost (of Normative Subjectivism)

Jack Woods

Part IV: Metaethics and Normative Ethics

10. Normative Commitments in Metanormative Theory

Pekka Väyrynen

11. Revisionist Metaethics

Matthew Silverstein

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Jussi Suikkanen is a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Birmingham. His main research interests are in metaethics and normative ethics. He has published articles on moral metaphysics, psychology, and semantics and ethical theories such as contractualism and consequentialism.

Antti Kauppinen is Professor of Social and Moral Philosophy at the University of Helsinki. He has wide-ranging research interests in ethics and metaethics, inluding topics such as well-being and the meaning of life, the role of emotions in morality and the nature of reasons and rationality.


"The methodology of philosophy, in general, has been the subject of intense discussion in recent years, with valuable new ideas and positions emerging from these debates. However, the methodology of moral philosophy, in particular, has not received the same kind of renewed and focused attention. This volume rectifies that omission by bringing together an excellent collection of essays on moral methodology. Some of these essays shed new light on old issues but the main focus is on new methods and ideas. Anyone interested in understanding, and evaluating, the methods we use in ethical theorizing will want to read this book."Yuri Cath, La Trobe University, Australia