Three questions concerning Reid's moral epistemology
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In my dissertation, I argue for a novel interpretation of Reid's moral epistemology. Accordingly, I attempt to show that Reid is committed to the view that we obtain moral knowledge by way of moral intuition and moral perception. I maintain that, by way of moral intuition, one obtains knowledge of what Reid calls moral first principles, which constitute the set of basic or foundational moral beliefs from which all other moral beliefs are ultimately inferred; moreover, I believe moral intuition and perception, at least on Reid's account, provides one with knowledge of moral particulars (e.g., whether a particular action is morally wrong or right or whether a particular individual is virtuous or vicious). Furthermore, I show how Reid's account of moral perception and intuition fits with his other philosophical commitments. I then show exactly how the belief-forming processes of intuition and perception enables us to obtain knowledge of moral reality. Finally, I respond to a number of objections one might raise to my interpretation of Reid or Reid's moral philosophy in general. Ultimately, while I mainly focus on what I take to be the most accurate and philosophically plausible account of Reid's moral epistemology, I largely put aside contemporary applications of Reid's moral epistemology. Nonetheless, I think the arguments defended in this dissertation help set the foundation for applying Reid's moral epistemology to contemporary philosophical issues.
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