Chapter

The Social Epistemology of Morality

Elizabeth Anderson

in The Epistemic Life of Groups

Published in print February 2016 | ISBN: 9780198759645
Published online April 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191820380 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759645.003.0005

Series: Mind Association Occasional Series

The Social Epistemology of Morality

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This chapter aims to explore how social groups learn moral lessons from history, particularly from their own histories, and with a particular focus on the history of slavery. It asks: how do historical processes of contention over moral principles lead groups to change their moral convictions? This interest is normative: how can we know that changes in collective belief count as moral improvements, as acquisitions of genuine moral knowledge? The chapter draws some lessons about how the social organization of moral inquiry—of contention over moral claims—affects the prospects that a group will be able to improve its moral beliefs.

Keywords: history; slavery; change; social; groups; learning; lessons; inquiry

Chapter.  9016 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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