3. Normative and Moral Disagreement

One of the most common assumptions about morality is presumably that disagreement in this area is more widespread and persistent than within science and certain other fields. In this regard, morality would resemble other normative areas such as aesthetics and matters of taste with regard to sensuous experiences. This purported fact has been used in arguments against moral cognitivism and realism, and in favor of moral sentimentalism, subjectivism, and non-cognitivism. In this project, we investigate a series of interrelated issues with regard to moral and normative disagreement.

Main investigators: Christel Fricke (CSMN/IFIKK), Carla Bagnoli (Università degli Studi di Modena/IFIKK), Torfinn Huvenes (Umeå/CSMN)


3.1 The Concept of Disagreement

The main question we shall explore is whether normative and in particular moral disagreement should be understood as a matter of disagreement in belief or disagreement in attitudes. Does the answer to this question depend on the kind of disagreement that is at stake?


3.2 Can Normative Disagreement be Settled?

How should we rationally respond to moral disagreements with others? In particular, does moral disagreement with our peers provide us with a reason to revise our original evaluations and does moral disagreement differ from peer disagreements in other areas? Is it possible to find a procedure by which we could solve normative and in particular moral disagreement? And, if so, how should this procedure be spelled out?


3.3 Different Kinds of Normative Disagreement

Are there any important differences between moral disagreements and disagreements about other normative matters, such as aesthetic matters and matters of taste (in other areas than that of artistic merit)? Does the answer to this question have to take pragmatic considerations into account, considerations about how much tolerance for diversities of preferences and tastes we need and on what normative questions we have to agree for the sake of the stability of the society in which we live?


3.4 Moral disagreement and its Metaethical Implications

In the light of the most plausible responses to the questions mentioned above, which moral view provides the best overall account for the nature of moral disagreements and the prospect of coming to terms with them?

Published May 12, 2016 11:34 AM - Last modified May 12, 2016 11:34 AM