Monday, November 7, 2022

The Normative Significance of Future Moral Revolutions (New Paper)

Myself and Jeroen Hopster (Utrecht University) have just published a new paper on the normative significance of future moral revolutions. It starts with the idea that social moral belies and practices have changed in the past and are likely to change again in the future. It then asks the question: what significance does this (likely) fact have for our current normative practices. It outlines eight potential responses, drawing on themes and ideas in the existing literature on moral change and the impact of technology on morality. The paper is available open access. Full details below.

Title: The Normative Significance of Future Moral Revolutions

Links: Official (open access)

Abstract: Since moral revolutions have occurred in the past, it seems plausible to suppose that they will occur again in the future. What significance, if any, does this prospect have for our present normative outlook? This paper identifies eight ways in which this question may be answered, drawing on recent arguments in the philosophical literature. Our aim is not to vindicate any of these purported normative responses as correct. Instead, our aim is taxonomic and synoptic: we provide an overview of the different responses that the prospect of future moral revolutions gives rise to and analyze how these responses are modulated by judgements of certainty and uncertainty, whether they are practically or epistemically oriented, and to what extent they depend on ethical and metaethical assumptions. 

One of the key insights from the paper is how our normative response to the future depends on judgments of certainty/uncertainty. This is summarised in the table, extracted below.


1 comment:

  1. I just don't know. It seems to me that a current moral revolution is more problematic. Morality, in a narrow sense, entails politics. Today was a midterm election. We are always admonished as to the importance of casting our vote. This is soup du jour for politicians. Why? Well, here is how I have come to see it. First, the right to, and responsibility for, voting is ours, per tradition. But, that is no longer right. Ever wonder why the right to vote became obsession? I will tell you. Candidates now see the vote as validation of their career choice. A vote of confidence in a system of corruption. How did we come to this? As always, it is complicated. In order to validate corruption, morality has to take a hit. Which means interests, preferences and motives must change. Radically. Normativity has little relevance, when it is a moving target. Dr. Andreas Matthias, I sense you know this...