Article

Are We Playing a Moral Lottery? Moral Disagreement from a Metasemantic Perspective

Author
  • Sinan Dogramaci (The University of Texas at Austin)

Abstract

If someone disagrees with my moral views, or more generally if I’m in a group of n people who all disagree with each other, but I don’t have any special evidence or basis for my epistemic superiority, then it’s at best a 1-in-n chance that my views are correct. The skeptical threat from disagreement is thus a kind of moral lottery, to adapt a similar metaphor from Sharon Street. Her own genealogical debunking argument, as I discuss, relies on a premise of such disagreement among evolutionary counterparts.

In this paper, I resist the threat from disagreement by showing that, on some of the most influential and most attractive theories of content determination, the premise of moral disagreement cannot serve any skeptical or revisionary purposes. I examine and criticize attempts, made by Gilbert Harman and Sharon Street, to argue from disagreement to relativism by relying on a theory of content determination that involves a principle that, within certain constraints, maximizes the attribution to us of true beliefs. And I examine and criticize Robert Williams’s attempt to show there is moral disagreement by relying on a theory of content determination that involves a principle that instead maximizes the attribution to us of rationality. My overall aim is to defend commonsense moral realism via a careful look at the theory of content and concepts.

How to Cite:

Dogramaci, S., (2021) “Are We Playing a Moral Lottery? Moral Disagreement from a Metasemantic Perspective”, Ergo 8: 18. doi: https://doi.org/10.3998/ergo.1155

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Published on
13 Dec 2021
Peer Reviewed