Article/Publication Details

On the Application of the Methods of Scientific Justification and Explanation in Ethics

(Original title: O aplikaci metod vědeckého zdůvodnění a vysvětlení v etice)
Organon F, 2013, vol. 20, Supplementary Issue 1, pp. 5-23.
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This work presents an analysis of the analogy between scientific and ethical theories with respect to their testability, explanatory potential and the causal relevance of the entities they postulate. Critics of ethical theories often claim that ethical theories are in fundamental contrast to scientific theories as they cannot be tested by empirical methods. While scientific facts are objective and open to empirical investigation, moral facts are mere expressions of subjective attitudes towards objective facts, and thus fall out of the scope of legitimate, scientific knowledge. We believe that this picture of such a deep contrast between science and ethics is based on a naïve conception of both types of theories. If we accept a more sophisticated view of scientific activity, interesting anal- ogies begin to turn up. This paper attempts to assess critically some of the analogies.


Causal relevance and efficacy, controlled manipulation, ethics, explanation, science, supervenience

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