Objectivity and Intersubjectivity in Moral Philosophy
AbstractMany people believe that morality is objective. My dissertation explores whether we have good grounds for this belief, and whether we should find it troubling if we do not. I defend negative answers to both questions. The first two chapters aim to undermine claims that we have good grounds to believe that morality is objective. The third chapter makes the case that moral normativity is essentially intersubjective, and no less respectable for that fact.
Chapter 1 poses a skeptical challenge for several promising rationales for moral objectivity. I argue that we can undermine rational confidence in these views by reflecting on the unreliability of the processes that lead us to find the views plausible, and so worth defending, in the first place.
Chapter 2 criticizes an approach that treats claims about moral objectivity as nothing more than abstract, first-order moral claims. This approach would treat the skeptical challenge as a form of substantive moral skepticism that we should reject either because it is self-contradictory or because it is implausible on first-order moral grounds. I argue that we lack good grounds to accept this approach, and so that the skeptical challenge survives.
Chapter 3 articulates and defends Intersubjectivism, which treats moral normativity as essentially intersubjective. I argue that we create and maintain moral normativity together by participating in relationships of mutual recognition and accountability. Intersubjectivism casts us as co-authors of morality’s authority, and treats moral normativity as arising from the practical authority we grant one another to make claims within moral relationships.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:40046415
- FAS Theses and Dissertations