Balance and Refinement: Beyond Coherence Methods of Moral by Michael R. DePaul

By Michael R. DePaul

All of us have ethical ideals. yet what if one beleif conflicts with one other? DePaul argues that we've got to make our ideals cohere, yet that the present coherence equipment are heavily improper. it's not simply the arguments that have to be thought of in ethical enquiry. DePaul asserts that the facility to make delicate ethical decisions is key to any philosophical inquiry into morality. The inquirer needs to reflect on how her lifestyles reports and reviews with literature, movie and theatre have stimulated her means for making ethical judgments and try and make sure that this potential is neither naive nor corrupted.

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60 My opponent holds that such conversions cannot occur - that all conversions are of a type compatible with the conservative conception of reflective equilibrium. I would think, therefore, that the onus is upon 46 Balance and Refinement my opponent. In the absence of an argunlent against the possibility of radical changes in moral belief, I am permitted to assume that such conversions can occur, and given the results of my admittedly casual observations, do occur. 61 This brings us to the second charge against the radical conception of reflective equilibrium: that radical conversions are not the sort of rational change of belief that ought to have a place in a method of moral inquiry.

We have been supposing that, when a person takes up the task of constructing a moral theory, there are a great many moral and philosophical propositions the person accepts or rejects to some degree or other. It is as if the person has gone through a list of propositions, considering each in turn, and assigning a degree of commitment. It seems obvious to me that at a later time, after the person has had more experience and thought more deeply about things, the person might decide that she was mistaken about some of the assignments she made before she began to think philosophically about moral theory.

It was expected all along that some revisions required for attaining reflective equilibrium would be guided by the degree of commitment the inquirer feels towards certain elements of provisional moral theories independently of the fit between these elements and the inquirer's considered moral judgments and background beliefs. Thus, when more than one moral theory fits the "data" of a person's considered moral judgments and background philosophical beliefs equally well, a uniquely "correct" theory can be determined, either by consulting the believer's existing degrees of commitment to the relevant theories or the "intuitive" judgments she would make about these theories upon considering them.

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