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Episteme

Abstract

Recent pragmatists Cheryl J. Misak and Christopher Hookway extend and improve upon C. S. Pierce’s pragmatist ethics. Their work demonstrates that an objective, determinate truth value for morality is most successfully achieved not by a form of realism but by pragmatic consideration, which finds that truth-aimed committed beliefs lead to definite consequences. While explaining pragmatic ethics, the author believes that the important insight is the link offered between inquiry and truth. The pragmatist conception of experience opens the door to establish genuine moral knowledge once the fact/value dichotomy is dissolved—thanks in part to Quine. Although criticized on account of qualification and recalcitrant experience, the pragmatic-cognitivist project can explain away those concerns. A Piercian pragmatist ethics offers the only perspective that can accommodate the fact of pluralism without falling into relativism.

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