Title: Moral Explanation of Moral Judgement
Speaker: Ryo Chonabayashi
Date: Wednesday, 8 June 2022 2.30 – 3.30 BST
Venue: Seminar Area, Littlegate House (Zoom possible, please email Miriam.email@example.com to arrange)
Booking: not required, this internal talk is for Oxford Uehiro Centre members and associates.
Abstract: Moral explanations, explanations their explanans make use of moral terms (e.g., The injustice of a political decision caused the instability of the society, Rebecca's compassion enabled her to recognise her friend's struggle), are supposed to be playing an important role in the realism debate in metaethics. One type of moral explanation discussed in the literature are explanations of particular moral judgements (e.g., the wrongness my act caused my spouse's judgement that I did a wrong thing). The supporters of moral explanations often appeal to unique modal information such moral explanations of particular moral judgements can provide. I shall argue that this standard defence of moral explanation of moral judgement does not succeed since it is highly likely much accurate modal information can be provided by non-moral psychological explanations. I shall then suggest that the supporters of this type of moral explanation could take the following two moves. First, they could suggest a better explanatory question in a contrastive form (i.e., why x happens, rather than y) that is advantageous for the realist side. Second, they could appeal to relevant empirical studies of moral judgement and provide more empirically supported moral explanations. These two moves lead us to see the following possible (may be not moral, but) evaluative explanations of moral judgements: the instances of harmful intentions and suffering, which are not obviously purely descriptive but partly evaluative, cause some particular moral judgements.
Bio: Ryo Chonabayashi is an Associate Professor at Soka University in Japan and an Academic Visitor to the Uehiro Centre from September 2021 to August 2022. His main research interests lie in the relationship between issues in ethics and relevant empirical findings. His other research interests include issues in applied ethics (suicide and death, medical ethics, ethics for social workers), and Buddhist philosophy and its relevance to contemporary philosophical theories.