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Practice-Dependence and Epistemic Uncertainty
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2017 (English)In: Journal of Global Ethics, ISSN 1744-9626, E-ISSN 1744-9634, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 187-205Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A shared presumption among practice-dependent theorists is that aprinciple of justice is dependent on the function or aim of thepractice to which it is supposed to be applied. In recentcontributions to this debate, the condition of epistemicuncertainty plays a significant role for motivating and justifying apractice-dependent view. This paper analyses the role ofepistemic uncertainty in justifying a practice-dependent approach.We see two kinds of epistemic uncertainty allegedly playing thisjustificatory role. What we call‘normative epistemic uncertainty’emerges from dealing with the problem of value uncertainty injustifying applied principles when our higher-level principles areopen-textured, that is, when their content is too vague or unclearto generate determinate prescriptions. What we call‘descriptiveepistemic uncertainty’emerges from dealing with uncertaintyabout empirical facts, such as the problem of moral assurance,that is, the problem that the requirements of justice cannot gobeyond arrangements that we can know with reasonableconfidence that we can jointly establish and maintain. In bothcases, practice-dependent theorists conclude that the condition ofepistemic uncertainty justifies a practice-dependent approach,which puts certain restrictions on theorizing regulative principlesand has wide-ranging practical implications for the scope ofjustice. Our claim in this paper is that neither kind of epistemicuncertainty justifies a practice-dependent approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 13, no 2, p. 187-205
Keywords [en]
Practice-dependence, justice, epistemic uncertainty, Andrea Sangiovanni, Aaron James
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-146705DOI: 10.1080/17449626.2017.1371063OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-146705DiVA, id: diva2:1139132
Available from: 2017-09-06 Created: 2017-09-06 Last updated: 2017-11-06Bibliographically approved

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