Practical Philosophy Seminar: Espen Dyrnes Stabell: "Moral Uncertainty and Moral Theory: A Tension"

"Moral Uncertainty and Moral Theory: A Tension"

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Espen Dyrnes Stabell, Postdoc, NTNU

In recent years, a substantial literature has emerged on decision making under moral uncertainty – that is, decision making when agents are uncertain about which moral view/theory is correct or should guide their decisions/actions in particular situations. In this talk, I consider what I will refer to as the decision theoretic approach to moral uncertainty, notably as developed by MacAskill, Bykvist and Ord in the recent book Moral Uncertainty (Oxford UP, 2020). More specifically, I discuss a tension between the decision theoretic approach and what I take to be a plausible view of the nature of (at least some central) moral theories. The dilemma is the following: In order for moral decision making to be rational, it seems that it should take moral uncertainty into account in something like the way suggested by the authors of Moral Uncertainty. However, taking moral theory seriously might mean that taking credences and preferences over moral theories into account as suggested by the decision theoretic approach can be morally problematic. In the talk, I will explain the dilemma further and discuss how practical philosophers might respond to it.
Published Jan. 29, 2019 10:22 AM - Last modified July 2, 2022 10:25 PM