Widespread moral disagreement raises ethical, epistemological, political, and metaethical questions. Is the best explanation of our widespread moral disagreements that there are no objective moral facts and that moral relativism is correct? Or should we think that just as there is widespread disagreement about whether we have free will but there is still an objective fact about whether we have it, similarly, moral disagreement has no bearing on whether morality is objective? More practically, is it arrogant to stick to our guns in the face of moral disagreement? Must we suspend belief about the morality of controversial actions such as eating meat and having an abortion? And does moral disagreement affect the laws that we should have? For instance, does disagreement about the justice of heavily redistributive taxation affect whether such taxation is legitimate?
In this thorough and clearly written introduction to moral disagreement and its philosophical and practical implications, Richard Rowland examines and assesses the following topics and questions:
- How does moral disagreement affect what we should do and believe in our day-to-day lives?
- Epistemic peerhood and moral disagreements with our epistemic peers
- Metaethics and moral disagreement
- Relativism, moral objectivity, moral realism, and non-cognitivism
- Moral disagreement and normative ethics
- Liberalism, democracy, and disagreement
- Moral compromise
- Moral uncertainty.
Combining clear philosophical analysis with summaries of the latest research and suggestions for further reading, Moral Disagreement is ideal for students of ethics, metaethics, political philosophy, and philosophical topics that are closely related such as relativism and scepticism. It will also be of interest to those in related disciplines such as ethics and public policy and philosophy of law.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Metaethics The Descriptive Consequences of Moral Disagreement
2. Explaining Moral Disagreement
3. Making Room for Disagreement
4. Interpreting Moral Disagreements
Part 2: Epistemology and Normative Ethics Normative Personal Consequences of Moral Disagreement
5. The Epistemic Significance of Peer Disagreement
6. Applied Epistemology of Moral Disagreement
7. From What We Ought to Believe to What We Ought to Do
Part 3: Political Philosophy Normative Interpersonal Consequences of Moral Disagreement
8. Moral Compromise
9. Public Reason, Legitimate State Action, and Justifiability to All
10. Democracy and Deliberative Restraint
Part 4: Metaethics and Disagreement’s Normative Implications
11. Metaethics and the Normative Implications of Moral Disagreement
Richard Rowland is a Lecturer in the School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science at the University of Leeds, UK. He is the author of The Normative and the Evaluative (2019), and the co-editor of Companions in Guilt Arguments in Metaethics (Routledge, 2019).