Moral Expertise and Moral Testimony

November 28, 2014
Centre for Ethics, University of Zürich

SOF E 17
Schönberggasse 1


Christian Budnik
University of Berne
Julia Driver
Washington University in St. Louis
David Enoch
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Michel Meliopoulos
University of Zürich
Paulina Sliwa
Cambridge University


Christoph Baumberger
ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Georg Brun
University of Zürich
Michel Meliopoulos
University of Zürich
Peter Schaber
University of Zürich

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The idea of moral expertise and moral testimony is often met with skepticism. Many think that even if there were moral experts, deferring to them is problematic, but are these convictions justified? If there are no moral experts, the contrast to non-moral domains needs to be explained. If there are moral experts, we need to know what makes them experts, how they can be identified, and which role they can play.

More specifically, we want to know whether there are epistemic or moral reasons (not) to defer to possible moral experts. Can we acquire and justify moral knowledge by deferring to experts?  And if so, is this is also the case for more demanding epistemic goods such as moral understanding? If there should be experts whose moral beliefs are more likely to be true than those of non-experts, do we have moral reasons (not) to defer to them? Can actions performed on the basis of moral testimony have moral worth? Does trusting moral testimony have a negative influence of the moral character of the acting person?

The workshop addresses these questions by bringing together opponents as well as proponents of moral expertise and moral testimony.

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November 25, 2014, 4:00pm CET

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