Epistemology and Ethics

Noah Lemos

in The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195301700
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Epistemology and Ethics

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  • Moral Philosophy



This article suggests that moral epistemology is mainly concerned with “whether and how one can have knowledge or justified belief” about moral issues. It presents and replies to several problems that arise in this connection. It addresses arguments for ethical skepticism, the view that one cannot have moral knowledge or justified belief. Assuming that one can have moral knowledge, this article considers how the moral epistemologist and moral philosopher should begin their account of this knowledge. It favors a particularist approach whereby the instances of moral knowledge are given and used to formulate criteria for moral knowledge. It relates this approach to concerns about the nature of the epistemic justification of moral beliefs as dealt with by foundationalists and coherentists. Finally, this article concludes by responding to arguments against particularist approaches in moral epistemology.

Keywords: epistemology; ethical skepticism; moral knowledge; justified belief; moral philosopher

Article.  16907 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Epistemology ; Moral Philosophy

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