ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
PUBLISHED
SINCE 1997
 
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5

DEEP CONCEPTUAL MORAL DISAGREEMENTS: OVER WHAT DO WE DISAGREE AND WHY?; pp. 295–314

Full article in PDF format | 10.3176/tr.2020.3.03

Author
Margit Sutrop

Abstract

We frequently find ourselves in intractable disagreements about the morality of abortion, euthanasia, restrictions to freedom, or eating meat for fun. An adequate reaction to a disagreement requires knowing which type of disagreements we are confronted with. The main aim of my paper is to explain the source of moral disagreements and clarify their nature. I will argue that some moral disagreements are deep conceptual disagreements that similarly to disagreements in logic or ontology, are not resolvable, as the resolution of the disagreement requires the disputants to adopt perspectives that are conceptually unavailable to them. I will suggest four possible sources of moral disagreements: incommensurable fundamental values, different concepts of the good life, different motivating reasons and different concepts of morality.


References

Adams, David (2005) “Knowing when disagreements are deep”. Informal Logic 25, 1, 65–77.
https://doi.org/10.22329/il.v25i1.1045

Ahola, Salla (2017) “Why (not) disagree? Human values and the readiness to question experts’ views”. Public Understanding of Science 26, 3, 339–354.
https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662516637818

Airaksinen, Timo (2016) “Narratives of desire”. In Timo Airaksinen and Wojciech W. Gasparski, eds. Desire: the concept and its practical context, 3–58. New Brunswick: Transaction Publisher.
https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203793435-1

Archard, David (2012) “Moral compromise”. Philosophy 87, 341, 403–420.
https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031819112000265

Bartels, D. (2008) “Principled moral sentiment and the flexibility of moral judgement and decision making”. Cognition 108, 381–417.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2008.03.001

Benn, Stanley (1988) A theory of freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Berlin, Isaiah (1947/2013) “The pursuit of the ideal”. In Henry Hardy, ed. The crooked timber of humanity. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Berlin, Isaiah (1958/2002) “Two concepts of liberty”. In Henry Hardy, ed. Liberty. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
https://doi.org/10.1093/019924989X.001.0001

Blackburn, Simon (1998) Ruling passions. a theory of practical reasoning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Blackburn, Simon (1999) “Is objective moral justification possible on a quasi-realist foundation?”. Inquiry 42, 2, 213–227.
https://doi.org/10.1080/002017499321552

Bond, E. J. (2001) “Value, concept of”. In Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker, eds. Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2nd ed. Vol. 3, 1745–1749. New York, London: Routledge.

Brink, David (1989) Moral realism and the foundations of ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511624612

Brunning, Luke (2019) “The avoidance approach to plural value”. Theoria 160, 66, 3, 53–70.
https://doi.org/10.3167/th.2019.6616004

Ceva, Emanuela (2016) Interactive justice: a proceduralist approach to value conflict in politics. New York: Routledge.
https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315560052

Chang, Ruth (1997) “Introduction”. In R. Chang, ed. Incommensurability, incomparability, and practical reason, 1–34. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Decker, Jason and Daniel Groll (2013) “On the (in)significance of moral disagreement for moral knowledge”. In R. Shafer-Landau, ed. Oxford studies in metaethics. Vol. 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678044.003.0006

Duran, Claudio (2006) “Levels of depth in deep disagreement”. OSSA Conference Archive 11: 1–8.

Fogelin, Robert J. (1985) “The logic of deep disagreements”. Informal Logic 7, 1, 3–11.
https://doi.org/10.22329/il.v7i1.2696

Frances, Bryan (2014) Disagreement. Cambridge: Polity.

Frances, Bryan and Jonathan Matheson (2018) “Disagreement”. In Edward N. Zalta, ed. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Available online at
<https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2019/entries/disagreement/>. Accessed on May 1, 2020.

Gibbard, Allan (2003) Thinking how to live. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Gordijn, Bert (2001) “Regulating moral dissent in an open society: the Dutch experience with pragmatic tolerance”. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26, 3, 225–244.
https://doi.org/10.1076/jmep.26.3.225.3013

Gowans, Christopher W. (1987) “Introduction: the debate on moral dilemmas”. In C. W. Gowans, ed. Moral dilemmas, 3–33. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gowans, Christopher W. (2000) Moral disagreements: classic and contemporary readings. London: Routledge.

Griffin, James (1986) Well-being. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Haidt, Jonathan (2012) The righteous mind: why good people are divided by politics and religion. New York: Pantheon Books.

Hanrick, Fieke and Daniel Druckman (2017) “Do negotiation interventions matter? Resolving conflicting interests and values”. Journal of Conflict Resolution 61, 1, 29–55.
https://doi.org/10.1177/0022002715569774

Harman, Gilbert (1975) “Moral relativism defended”. Philosophical Review 84, 3–22.
https://doi.org/10.2307/2184078

Harman, Gilbert (2000) Explaining values and other essays in moral philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hare, Richard Mervin (1963) Freedom and reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Inglehart, R., C. Haerpfer, A. Moreno, C. Welzel, K. Kizilova, J. Diez-Medrano, M. Lagos, P. Norris, E. Ponarin, B. Puranen et al., eds. (2014) World values survey: round six - country-pooled datafile. Madrid: JD Systems Institute. Available online at
<www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSDocumentationWV6.jsp>. Accessed on May 1, 2020.

Inglehart, Ronald and Christian Welzel (2005) Modernization, cultural change and democracy. New York, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kekes, John (1993) The morality of pluralism. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

MacIntyre, Alasdair (1984) After virtue: a study in moral theory. 2nd ed. London: Duckworth.
https://doi.org/10.2307/1051043

Mackie, John (1977). Ethics: inventing right and wrong. New York: Penguin.

Marino, Patricia (2015) Moral reasoning in a pluralistic world. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Marino, Patricia (2017) “Value pluralism, moral diversity, moral reasoning, and the foundation of bioethics”. Ethics, Medicine and Public Health 3, 477–485.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemep.2017.09.013

Mason, Andrew (2013) Explaining political disagreement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mason, Elinor (2018) “Value pluralism”. In Edward N. Zalta, ed. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Available online at
<https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/value-pluralism/>. Accessed on May 1, 2020.

McGrath, Sarah (2007) “Moral disagreement and moral expertise”. In Russ Shafer-Landau, ed. Oxford studies in metaethics. Vol. 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McNaughton, David (1988) The moral vision. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

McNaughton, David and Piers Rawling (1992) “Honoring and promoting values”. Ethics 102, 4, 835–843.
https://doi.org/10.1086/293451

Nagel, Thomas (1979) “The fragmentation of value”. In his Mortal questions. Ch. 9, 128–141. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107341050.011

Nussbaum, Martha (1986) The fragility of goodness: luck and ethics in greek tragedy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nussbaum, Martha (2001) Upheavals of thought: the intelligence of emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511840715

Orsi, Francesco (2015) Value theory. London: Bloomsbury.

Pettit, Philip (1989) “Consequentialism and respect for persons”. Ethics 100, 1, 116–126.
https://doi.org/10.1086/293149

Ranalli, Chris (2018) “What is deep disagreement?”. Topoi.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11245-018-9600-2

Raz, Joseph (1986) The morality of freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schroeder, Mark (2016) “Value theory”. In Edward N. Zalta, ed. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Available online at
<https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2016/entries/value-theory/>. Accessed on May 1, 2020.

Seung T. K. and Daniel Bonevac (1992) “Plural values and indeterminate rankings”. Ethics 102, 4, 799–813.
https://doi.org/10.1086/293449

Shafer-Landau, Russ (2005) Moral realism: a defence. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Smith, Michael (1994) The moral problem. Oxford: Blackwell.

Spang, Friderike Marta Gabriela (2017) Dealing with disagreement: towards a conception of feasible compromise. Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 4919. Available online at
<https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/4919>. Accessed on May 1, 2020.

Stevenson, Charles Leslie (1963) Facts and values: studies in ethical analysis. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Stocker, Michael (1990) Plural and conflicting values. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Sutrop, Margit (2015) “Can values be taught? A myth of value-free education”. Trames 19, 2, 189–202.
https://doi.org/10.3176/tr.2015.2.06

Sutrop, Margit (2016) “What role do emotions play in moral disagreements?”. In Timo Airaksinen and Wojciech W. Gasparski, eds. Desire: the concept and its practical context, 183–199. New Brunswick: Transaction Publisher.
https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203793435-9

Sutrop, Margit and Kadri Simm (2020) “Developing guidelines for the distribution of scarce medical resources during the COVID-19 pandemic: the Estonian case”. Trames 24, 2, 251–268.
https://doi.org/10.3176/tr.2020.2.08

Viganò, Eleanora and Edoardo Lombardi Vallauri (2020) “Moral and vocational dilemmas meet the common currency hypothesis: a contribution to value commensurability”. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11, 83–102.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13164-019-00448-7

Walker, Paul and Terence Lovat (2018) “In a world characterized by moral pluralism, is dialogic consensus a way to establish moral truth?”. Review of Contemporary Philosophy 17, 43–55. 
https://doi.org/10.22381/RCP1720184

Williams, Bernard (1965/1973a) “Ethical consistency”. In his Problems of the self, 166–186. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511621253.013

Williams, Bernard (1973b) “Morality and the emotions”. In his Problems of the self, 207–229. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511621253.015

Williams, Bernard (1981) Moral luck. Philosophical papers 1973–1980. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139165860

Williams, Bernard (1985) Ethics and the limits of philosophy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Wong, David B. (1992) “Coping with moral conflict and ambiguity”. Ethics 102, 4, 763–784.
https://doi.org/10.1086/293447

Wong, David B. (1995) “Pluralistic relativism”. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 20, 378–399.
https://doi.org/10.5840/msp19952023

Wong, David B. (2006) “Ethical relativism (addendum)”. In Donald M. Borchert, ed. Encyclopedia of philosophy, 372–374. 2nd ed. Detroit: Thomson Gale.

Zuolo, Frederico and Giulia Bistagnino (2018) “Disagreement, peerhood, and compromise”. Social Theory and Practice 44, 4, 593–618.
https://doi.org/10.5840/soctheorpract201891848


Back to Issue