1st Edition

Philosophical Perspectives on Moral Certainty

    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    Moral certainty refers to those aspects of morality – moral acting, feeling, and thinking – that are beyond doubt, explanation, and justification. The essays in this book explore the concept of moral certainty and its application and usefulness in contemporary moral debates.

    The notion of moral certainty, which is inspired by the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, is emerging as a key reference point in contemporary moral philosophy. An investigation into the implications of moral certainty is called for, given that so many discussions in moral philosophy concern the possibility of justifying our moral beliefs. The concept of moral certainty also feeds directly into the emerging field of hinge epistemology. The chapters in this volume tackle the following issues: meta-questions around whether and how we can make sense of the concept of moral certainty; the role of moral certainty in contemporary debates on gender, racism, bias, and historically unjust practices; ways in which radical change in society engendered by new technologies might affect moral certainties; and the role of the notion of moral certainty in the debates on free will and moral responsibility.

    Philosophical Perspectives on Moral Certainty will appeal to researchers and advanced students working on ethics and moral philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of technology, and Wittgenstein.

    1. Introduction: On Moral Certainty Neil O'Hara, Cecilie Eriksen, Julia Hermann, and Nigel Pleasants

    2. Socially Disruptive Technologies and Moral Certainty Julia Hermann

    3. Bedrock Gender Daniele Moyal-Sharrock and Constantine Sandis

    4. "The Frightening Thing Is the Uncertainty": Wittgenstein on Love and the Desire for Certainty Camilla Kronqvist

    5. Unbearable Certainties Joel Backström

    6. Wrong Hinges Anna Boncompagni

    7. Local Moral Certainty and the Possibility of Cross-Cultural Understanding Neil O'Hara

    8. A Wittgensteinian Account of Free Will and Moral Responsibility Stefan Rummens and Benjamin De Mesel

    9. Moral Certainty and Conceptual Deficiency: A Wittgensteinian Critique of the Moral Fixed Points Proposal Samuel Laves

    10. Moral Certainties  Subjective, Objective, Objectionable? Hans-Johann Glock

    11. Nigel Pleasants on Moral Certainties: A Critical Discussion Martin Kusch

    12. Is There an Internal Link between Seeing a Human and Seeing One to Whom Moral Consideration Is Due? José Mariá Ariso



    Cecilie Eriksen is a Special Consultant at the National Center of Ethics, The Ministry of Health, Copenhagen, Denmark. She is also an affiliated researcher on the research programme The Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies and the author of Moral Change: Dynamics, Structure and Normativity (2020).

    Julia Hermann is Assistant Professor in the Philosophy and Ethics of Technology and fellow on the NWO-funded research programme The Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies, University of Twente, the Netherlands. She is the author of On Moral Certainty, Justification and Practice: A Wittgensteinian Perspective (2015).

    Neil O’Hara is a Visiting Lecturer at London School of Theology, and an Independent Scholar, UK. He is the author of Moral Certainty and the Foundations of Morality (2018).

    Nigel Pleasants is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Exeter, UK. He is the author of Wittgenstein and the Idea of a Critical Social Theory (Routledge, 1999) and recent articles on moral certainty, moral revolution, slavery and abolition, the Holocaust, and issues in philosophy of social science.