A New Rejection of Moral Expertise
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal 2005; 8(3): 273-279
There seem to be two clearly-defined camps in the debate over the problem of moral expertise. On the one hand are the "Professionals", who reject the possibility entirely, usually because of the intractable diversity of ethical beliefs. On the other hand are the "Ethicists", who criticise the Professionals for merely stipulating science as the most appropriate paradigm for discussions of expertise. While the subject matter and methodology of good ethical thinking is certainly different from that of good clinical thinking, they argue, this is no reason for rejecting the possibility of a distinctive kind of expertise in ethics, usually based on the idea of good justification. I want to argue that both are incorrect, partly because of the reasons given by one group against the other, but more importantly because both neglect what is most distinctive about ethics: that it is personal in a very specific way, without collapsing into relativism.
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