Honors College Thesis


Moral Disagreement and Moral Genealogy : Two Sources of Empirically-Based Epistemological Challenges to Robust Realism Public Deposited

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  • I defend robust realism from arguments that raise epistemological challenges to it based on considerations about either moral disagreement or the genealogy of our moral beliefs. The first argument is the “Argument from Conciliationism,” which contends that the moral disagreements that obtain between moral peers give us reason to believe that we lack any (positive) moral knowledge. After showing why that argument fails, I consider a second disagreement-based argument: Justin Horn’s “Reliability Argument from Disagreement” (RAD), which contends that moral disagreements undercut the reliability of our moral belief forming methods for tracking realistic moral facts. I argue that, besides facing empirical issues, the RAD reduces to Genealogical Debunking Arguments (GDAs), the third kind of argument I consider. GDAs contend that the causal genealogies of our moral beliefs undercuts their epistemic credentials. I argue that GDAs reduce to a priori worries about the very possibility of beings like us achieving knowledge of the causally impotent facts posited by robust realism. I conclude that no reason to have epistemological worries about robust realism over and above the reasons stemming from a priori epistemological worries about the view arises from empirical considerations about moral disagreement and the genealogy of our moral beliefs.
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