Ethical Realism

July 19, 2011

The Is/Ought Gap: How Do We Get “Ought” from “Is?”

The is/ought gap illustrates the difficulty in understanding what it means to say that we ought to do something, and how we can know what we ought to do. What is the is/ought gap and what’s it all about? I will describe the is/ought gap, discuss its implications in meta-ethics, and discuss various solutions to the is/ought gap. (more…)

March 21, 2011

Theoretical Virtue Epistemology: A Common Sense Philosophy

Filed under: epistemology,philosophy — JW Gray @ 10:30 am
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What makes a belief justified or reasonable? We think we know many things, but we can’t always explain how we know they are true. Some of these beliefs might be self-evident, some of them are based on experience, some are “successful assumptions,” and others are unjustified prejudice. However, we have little choice but to do philosophy in the face of uncertainty and take certain beliefs as “common sense” before we can conclusively understand how we justify those beliefs.1 This is why philosophy makes such heavy use of what’s intuitive (beliefs that do not seem to be absurd and seem compatible with our knowledge). I currently believe that the most modest form of justification is through the creation of successful assumptions similar to “working hypotheses” and that is all we usually need when we argue within the philosophical tradition. I will describe self-evidence, coherence, experience, working hypotheses, and theoretical virtues.2 I will then explain my current understanding of justification (epistemological theory)—a form of common sense philosophy that I call “theoretical virtue epistemology.”3 (more…)

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