Autonomy and the Asymmetry Problem for Moral Expertise


We seem less likely to endorse moral expertise than reasoning expertise or aesthetic expertise. This seems puzzling given that moral norms are intuitively taken to be at least more objective than aesthetic norms. One possible diagnosis of the asymmetry is that moral judgments require autonomy of judgement in away that other judgments do not. However, the author points out that aesthetic judgments that have been ‘borrowed’ by aesthetic experts generate the same autonomy worry as moral judgments which are borrowed by moral experts. The author then explores various approaches to accepting the testimony of moral experts and concludes that the asymmetry may best be explained by (1) the conditions for moral expertise being more difficult to satisfy than those of aesthetic expertise and (2) the intuitive greater seriousness of accepting the moral judgments of others, since moral norms are generally viewed as more binding than aesthetic norms.

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Correspondence to Julia Driver.

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Driver, J. Autonomy and the Asymmetry Problem for Moral Expertise. Philos Stud 128, 619–644 (2006).

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  • Moral Judgment
  • Moral Norm
  • Aesthetic Judgment
  • Moral Expertise
  • Reasoning Expertise