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Moral Skepticisms

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, the fellow portrayed here, is the author of MORAL SKEPTICISMS.

This is not to be confused with an anthology called MORAL SKEPTICISM (singular), edited by Diego Machuca, which I included recently on my list of a dozen forthcoming books on epistemology.

Actually, I confused the two myself, and am now re-writing this entry to straighten that out.

I'm happy to report that Sinnott-Armstrong, at least, is not a moral skeptic.  Happy because, as I trust my readers know, I am a cognitivist in meta-ethics and moral epistemology. I very much believe there is a fact of the matter that one either hits or one misses when one says, for example, "it would be right to switch the track on that trolley." Further, I see cognitivism as central to my Jamesianism, and thus to the mission of this humble blog. So I'm happy to see that Sinnott-Armstrong is an ally on this matter, and that his book is about moral skepticism, not for it.

Sinnott-Armstrong is also known for Morality without God? (2009) and for his participation in a debate with a Christian theologian, William Lane Craig, in 2003. In both the debate and the book Sinnott-Armstrong took the view that morality is not only possible without a God, it is better off without Him.

Sinnott-Armstrong is a coherentist in moral epistemology.  That is, he believes that any one belief about an ethical question is part of a broader network of beliefs, that it finds its value -- its justification -- in its contribution to that broader network.

I understand that Moral Skepticisms adds to these ideas the following: that coherentism doesn't make up a full response to moral skepticism (the skeptic can throw the whole network of views into doubt), but that it is the best we have and we can learn to live with it.

Just some thoughts for the day.


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