The Special Standing of Moral Skepticism

The Electric Agora

by Daniel A. Kaufman

I want to describe a kind of moral skepticism that I believe enjoys special standing.  It is skeptical, insofar as it denies that there are good reasons for believing in moral properties.   It has special standing, because unlike general skepticism – by which I mean, skepticism about the external world – the doubts it describes are real, not hypothetical, and derive not from the exploitation of formal gaps in the logic of justification or the mere contemplation of human fallibility, but from reflection upon the substance of actual moral practice.

This does not mean that I myself am a moral skeptic.  The jury’s still out on that one, though I do seem to vacillate between a moral intuitionism and moral skepticism that might very well be two sides of the same coin.  Certainly, there are moral experiences and moral performances, or at least, there are experiences…

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