Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee

Wide Reflective Equilibrium

  • Juha Räikkä
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_33

The method of wide reflective equilibrium (henceforth WRE) has been widely applied in practical ethics, including global ethics. WRE is a particular coherence method of justification in ethics. WRE was first introduced by John Rawls in his “The Independence of Moral Theory,” and one of WRE’s strongest proponents has been Norman Daniels. As Daniels describes WRE, it is a method that attempts to produce coherence in an ordered triple sets of beliefs held by a particular person, namely: (a) a set of considered moral judgments, (b) a set of moral principles, and (c) a set of relevant (scientific and philosophical) background theories.

When using WRE, a person begins by collecting moral judgments (such as “military interventions should not be allowed”) which she finds intuitively plausible. Then she proposes alternative sets of moral principles (such as “killing human beings is wrong”) that have varying degree of fit with the moral judgments. Finally, she seeks support for those moral...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juha Räikkä
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioural Sciences and PhilosophyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland