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Is Evidence for Moral Principles Possible?

13 Jan 2003, Posted by Alexandros in Academic Papers

Abstract

This paper is a product of a more general worry in Ethics. How do we adjudicate between moral systems that disagree? Are there rational ways with which can solve moral differences at the fundamental level? Can we create a general, impartial framework, which will help the adjudication? This worry led me to the current paper (written between 2002-2003 under Brad Hooker’s supervision at the University of Reading during my MA in Philosophy). I figured that if there is such a thing as “evidence” for moral principles, then maybe that would be a way to adjudicate between different moral principles; we could ask, “Which moral principles enjoy the most evidence?” and if an answer to this question was possible, and there were ways with which we could impartially weigh the evidence for the disagreeing moral principles, we could then rationally decide which moral principles are more plausible. The majority of the essay is centred in a fruitful tangent regarding the possibility of evidence for moral principles, but in the end I think I at least managed to sketch a way towards a process of impartial adjudication.

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