Reflective equilibrium is bullshit

Via Brian Leiter, I recently discovered this excellent essay by Robert Cummins, a former philosophy professor who now writes detective novels. To the point, Dr Cummins’ essay presents a slam-dunk refutation of “reflective equilibrium,” a feeble, if not totally bogus, method of reasoning that is nevertheless popular among professional philosophers and some academic lawyers. In brief, there are two reasons why “reflective equilibrium” is bullshit. One is moral pluralism (my term). When people have different moral intuitions, no amount of individual or collective “reflection” will change that. The other reason has to do with the non-falsifiable nature (in a Popperian sense) of our moral intuitions. As a result, there is no way of “calibrating” or testing the intellectual outputs derived from this method of reasoning.

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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