Reflective Equilibrium. Part III: The problem of moral disagreement, relativism and underdeterminacy of the method (in Polish)

Artur Szutta

About author

Artur Szutta, PhD
University of Gdańsk
Institute of Philosophy, Sociology, and Journalism
ul. Bażyńskiego 4
Pl-80-952 Gdańsk


One of the main objections against the method of reflective equilibrium is that it is not able to overcome the problem of moral disagreement, and, what is more, it deepens the problem. It is so, the objection goes, due to the following defects of the method: first, it is relativistic in its character, it allows for two different persons to hold two excluding, equally justified sets of moral beliefs as long as they meet the condition of holding these beliefs in reflective equilibrium; second, the method is severely underdetermined, and for this reason it cannot support any convergence of moral views of different persons, even when they use the method in a meticulous way. What is more, because of its underdeterminacy, the objection goes, the method of reflective equilibrium differentiates the outcomes of its application even among those who share the same starting point (the same considered moral judgements). The aim of the paper is to critically analyze and respond to the above objection. I am trying to show that the reflective equilibrium method does not presuppose relativism, and its underdeterminacy can be diminished by some modifications of the method, especially by postulating the constraints of some level of intellectual and ethical virtues of the agents applying the method.

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