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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Is Applied Ethics Applicable Enough? Acting and Hedging under Moral Uncertainty

By Grace Boey
3 Quarks Daily
Originally published December 16, 2014

Here are two excerpts:

Lots has been written about moral decision-making under factual uncertainty. Michael Zimmerman, for example, has written an excellent book on how such ignorance impacts morality. The point of most ethical thought experiments, though, is to eliminate precisely this sort of uncertainty. Ethicists are interested in finding out things like whether, once we know all the facts of the situation, and all other things being equal, it's okay to engage in certain actions. If we're still not sure of the rightness or wrongness of such actions, or of underlying moral theories themselves, then we experience moral uncertainty.


So, what's the best thing to do when we're faced with moral uncertainty? Unless one thinks that anything goes once uncertainty enters the picture, then doing nothing by default is not a good strategy. As the trolley case demonstrates, inaction often has major consequences. Failure to act also comes with moral ramifications...

The entire blog post is here.