Chapter

THE PROOF PARADIGM AND THE MORAL DISCOVERY PARADIGM

William Talbott

in Which Rights Should Be Universal?

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780195173475
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835331 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195173473.003.0002
 THE PROOF PARADIGM AND THE MORAL DISCOVERY PARADIGM

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In this chapter, Talbott explains how the Proof paradigm, a model of top-down reasoning, has led to a serious misunderstanding of how moral judgments are epistemically justified. Talbott develops an alternative equilibrium model of moral reasoning based on the work of Mill, Rawls, and Habermas and uses it to show how bottom-up reasoning could have led to the discovery of human rights. Talbott uses the U.S. Constitution to illustrate the idea that guarantees of basic human rights are components of a self-improving self-regulating system for promoting justice. The system does not have to begin with self-evident or even true principles of justice. Bottom-up reasoning can lead to changes that make it more just over time.

Keywords: bottom-up reasoning; equilibrium reasoning; Jürgen Habermas; J.S. Mill; Moral Discovery paradigm; moral imperialism; Proof paradigm; John Rawls; top-down reasoning

Chapter.  8738 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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