Chapter

Moral Knowledge and Experience<sup>1</sup>

Sarah McGrath

in Oxford Studies in Metaethics

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606375
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729478 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606375.003.0005
Moral Knowledge and Experience1

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This chapter explores how one might attempt to reconcile two widely held ideas about morality that stand in prima facie tension with one another. The first idea is that moral knowledge — whatever else is true of it and even whether it exists at all — is not empirical knowledge. If there are moral truths, then the most fundamental of those truths are, like the truths of pure mathematics, available from the armchair. The second idea is that lack of experience can be a handicap in the acquisition of moral knowledge, and that experience of the world often proves crucial in its attainment.

Keywords: morality; moral knowledge; experience; moral truth; a priori knowledge

Chapter.  9191 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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