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Conclusion: No End to Our Troubles

The dual process theory of ethical judgement appears to be well supported by evidence for it (although we have yet to consider any evidence against it). This supports the loose reconstruction of Greene (2014)’s argument (see Greene contra Ethics (Railgun Remix)), which is also not vulnerable to any of the quick objections (at least none I could find in the literature). We may therefore have to accept the conclusion that not-justified-inferentially premises about particular moral scenarios, and about debatable ethical principles, cannot be used in ethical arguments insofar as the arguments aim to establish knowledge of their conclusions. This does not show that consequentialism is the one true ethical theory. But it does imply that we should avoid a variety of approaches to doing ethics, including Foot’s, Kamm’s and Rawls’ method of reflective equilibrium insofar as our aim is to gain knowledge of ethical truths.

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not-justified-inferentially : A claim (or premise, or principle) is not-justified-inferentially if it is not justified in virtue of being inferred from some other claim (or premise, or principle).
Claims made on the basis of perception (_That jumper is red_, say) are typically not-justified-inferentially.
Why not just say ‘noninferentially justified’? Because that can be read as implying that the claim is justified, noninferentially. Whereas ‘not-justified-inferentially’ does not imply this. Any claim which is not justified at all is thereby not-justified-inferentially.


Greene, J. D. (2014). Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics. Ethics, 124(4), 695–726.