Title: What The Golden Rule Teaches Us About Ethics
Speaker: Shane Ward (University of Southern California, Philosophy)
Date: Tuesday March 14, 2023
Abstract: The Golden Rule is regularly used in ordinary life, across many different cultures, to acquire new moral knowledge. At the same time, the Golden Rule is widely ignored both in ethics and metaethics because it seems to be an implausible normative theory. Most philosophers who have paid it any attention have thought that, at best, it is an initially tempting thought whose appeal should be explained by the ultimately correct normative theory. My aim in this talk is to attend to an alternative possibility that I believe holds more promise: the Golden Rule teaches us something about metaethics, in the form of moral epistemology, rather than normative ethics. I will argue that sentimental perceptualism, the view that emotional experiences can provide moral knowledge analogously to how perceptual experiences provide empirical knowledge, provides a compelling explanation of the Golden Rule’s usefulness.
About the speaker: Shane Ward completed his BA in Philosophy at the University of Southern California and is currently completing his PhD in Philosophy at the same institution. His research lies at the intersection between ethics and epistemology, and especially the parallel between creditworthy moral action and creditworthy true belief. He has published in the Journal of Philosophy and Inquiry.