Ira W. DeCamp Bioethics Seminars
ABSTRACT: Suppose you are certain that some action is morally permissible, and you have some credence that not performing this action is seriously wrong. It is tempting to conclude that you ought to perform this action. But such reasoning could have very demanding implications. For example, many of us are confident that making large donations to charity is permissible and we also have some credence that not donating is seriously wrong; does it really follow that we ought to donate?
This question concerns the practical relevance of evaluative uncertainty—uncertainty about values or objective reasons for action. In this paper, we argue, against some recent skeptics, that evaluative uncertainty is relevant to both the rationality and the morality of action. We then consider exactly how it is relevant. We raise problems for a number of principles proposed in the literature, propose alternatives, and consider their implications.
Joe Horton is an associate professor in Philosophy at University College London. He is also an associate editor at Philosophy & Public Affairs. He received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Southern California in 2018.
Audience: Free and Open to the Public. Registration required to attend via Zoom.
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