Chapter

Reliability

Kieran Setiya

in Knowing Right From Wrong

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199657452
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745539 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657452.003.0003
Reliability

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This chapter develops and defends the Reductive Epistemology of chapter one, responding to the problem of coincidence. According to recent critics of ‘ethical realism’, such as Sharon Street, our reliability in ethics is wholly inexplicable if the facts are independent of our beliefs. Since it is irrational to accept a coincidence that cannot be explained, ethical realism leads to sceptical doubt. This chapter develops a response to Street's argument that hinges on two ideas: first, that there are conditions in which it is rational to accept an inexplicable coincidence, conditions that are met in the ethical case; second, that it is legitimate to argue for reliability in ethics by way of ethical beliefs.

Keywords: coincidence; epistemology; ethics; evidence; evolution; realism; reliability; scepticism

Chapter.  9955 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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