Michael Vincent
Michael Vincent

Project Title: Diversity, Stability, Chronicity, and Morality

Principal Advisor: Dr Julian Lamont

Project Abstract: To what extent must the justification of (normative) moral claims be sensitive to (descriptive) facts about how moral orders operate in practice and which specific social mores are accepted in a given community? For many who study the justification of value judgments, this question is not a high priority. But if we try to write a moral code for an allegorical community of purely rational beings, we neglect many of the important practical benefits of morality and the distinctively human and historical quirks which allow it to function. I am focused in particular on the account of how a moral order operates provided in Gaus’s The Order of Public Reason. I follow this work’s lead in calling for greater engagement by philosophers with the social and behavioural sciences, but argue for scepticism regarding the author’s claim that we can use morality alone to reconcile social order with individual freedom.

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