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Deep Disagreements on Values, Justice, and Moral Issues: Their Meta-Ethical Relevance and the Need for an Ethics of Disagreement

Political Theory
Knowledge
Normative Theory
TS01

Room: General

Monday 13:30 - 14:45 (27/07/2020)


Abstract

Instructor: Manuel Knoll, Istanbul Şehir University/Universität München Abstract: I start off my session with a historical section showing that until today deep disagreements among notions of social and political justice are a characteristic feature of the history of political thought. Since no agreement or consensus on distributive justice is possible, political philosophers should – instead of continuously proposing new normative theories of justice – focus on analyzing the reasons, significance, and consequences of such kinds of disagreements. In the second section I sketch some possible reasons for deep disagreements among notions of social and political justice. In the third I discuss the meta-ethical relevance of the lack of consensus on justice and reject ethical realism and cognitivism based on the argument from deep disagreements. In the fourth section I argue that we should avoid “epistemic arrogance”, adopt “epistemic modesty”, and work towards an Ethics of Disagreement. Such an ethics asks opposing parties who disagree on values, justice, morality, and ethics to acknowledge that (a) deep disagreements exist, (b) opposing positions should be recognized as worthy of respect, and that (c) one should seek dialogue and mutual understanding. This ethical approach conceives of toleration as a moral and political virtue and presents an argument for toleration based on deep disagreements. Core Readings: Knoll, Manuel, “Deep Disagreements on Social and Political Justice: Their Meta-Ethical Relevance and the Need for a New Research Perspective”. In: New Perspectives on Distributive Justice. Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus, ed. Manuel Knoll, Stephen Snyder, and Nurdane Şimşek, 23–51, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter 2019 (paperback July 2020). Knoll, Manuel, “Deep Disagreements on Values, Justice, and Moral Issues: Towards an Ethics of Disagreement”, forthcoming fall 2020. In: Trames. Special Issue. Disagreements: From Theory to Practice. Further Readings: Fogelin, Robert J., “The Logic of Deep Disagreements”. Informal Logic 25, 1/2005, 3–11 (first published 1985). Gowans, Christopher W., “Introduction. Debates about moral disagreements”. In Moral Disagreements. Classic and Contemporary Readings, ed. Christopher W. Gowans, 1–43, London/New York: Routledge 2000. Gutmann, Amy and Thompson, Dennis, Democracy and Disagreement. Cambridge, Ma./London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1996, Introduction, chap. 1: The Persistence of Moral Disagreement, Conclusion. Hampshire, Stuart, Justice is Conflict. London: Duckworth 1999. Knoll, Manuel, “Max Weber on Politics, Reason, and the Clash of Values and Approaches to Ethics”. Dîvân. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 24, 47/2 2019, 111–140. Waldron, Jeremy, Law and Disagreement. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1999, Introduction, I 2, I 5, II 7, II 8.