ETHICS 1 Module 2 study guide (Aug 2018) Nature of Ethics and Moral Reasoning.pdf

However while these descriptive empirical accounts of

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However, while these descriptive empirical accounts of moral development were able to shed some light on the process moral agents are engaged in when they come up with moral judg- ments, it is silent as to how exactly moral agents arrive at those moral judgments in this process of moral reasoning. Is there a structure, form, or steps that define moral reasoning and distinguish it from other kinds of reasoning? Accounts that attempt to answer this ques- tion are widely disputed and remain the subject of considerable inquiry from moral philoso- phers. According to Harman, Mason and Armstrong in their article “Moral Reasoning” (2010), there are two competing theories of moral reasoning in the literature that account for how it works, what form it takes, and when it is good and when it is bad. One of the most popular is the de- ductive model of moral reasoning attributed by scholars to Plato, Mill, Toulmin, and Hare, among others. According to them, moral reasoning, while not strictly a kind of linear infer- ence, exhibits the feature of a deductive argument in so far as it starts from very general moral rules or principles (as premises) and then considers what judgments or actions (as con- clusion) logically follow from these general rules and principles. In a moral argument, a par- ticular course of action is judged to be right if it is deductively derived from these general rules and principles and it is judged to be wrong otherwise. Moral reasoning is seen as good only if it takes the form of a deductively valid argument that is, only if the general rules and principles, which function as the premises of the argument, guarantee or justify the ac- tion, which serves as its conclusion. The alternative reflective equilibrium model , according to Harman et al., characterizes moral reasoning as a process of making adjustments to one’s moral beliefs and judgment of a par- ticular case to achieve coherence with one’s beliefs and judgments of similar cases and a Page of 11 18
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ETHICS 1 - Ethics and Moral Reasoning in Everyday Life broader range of moral and factual issues. According to this view, one arrives at a judgment of what is right or wrong not by deducing them from general moral rules and principles but by reflecting on the moral judgment at issue in light of relevant moral beliefs and judgments and in consideration of rules and principles that we believe govern them, and revising this moral judgment whenever necessary in order to achieve an acceptable coherence among them. Instead of viewing moral reasoning as modeled by a deductively valid argument, this non-deductive reflective equilibrium model conceives of moral reasoning as a network of nodes representing particular propositions that mutually reinforce and inhibit each other.
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  • Spring '10
  • Johnson
  • Ethics , Moral psychology, practical reasoning

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