Moral Perception without (Prior) Moral Knowledge

Preston J. Werner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Proponents of impure moral perception claim that, while there are perceptual moral experiences, these experiences epistemically depend on a priori moral knowledge. Proponents of pure moral perception claim that moral experiences can justify independently of substantive a priori moral knowledge. Some philosophers, most notably David Faraci (2015), have argued that the pure view is mistaken, since moral perception requires previous moral background knowledge, and such knowledge could not itself be perceptual. I defend pure moral perception against this objection. I consider two ways to understand the notion of "background knowledge" that is crucial to the objection. On a (stronger) reading, the claim that background knowledge is necessary for moral perception is likely false. On a second and weaker reading, the claim is true, but the background knowledge in question could be perceptual, and thus compatible with pure moral perception. Thus, the objection fails.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)164-181
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Moral Philosophy
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Keywords

  • ethics
  • moral epistemology
  • moral knowledge
  • moral perception
  • perception

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