Next talk: 'Sources of Moral Knowledge' by Dr Alex Barber, Tuesday 10 October 2017

“What evidence is there to support our moral beliefs? We assume that it is (usually) wrong to tell big lies, to steal, etc., but many philosophers, and many non-philosophers, have despaired at giving convincing grounds for such beliefs. It is hard to say much beyond ‘Well, that is just obvious!’ or ‘Don’t hold inconsistent moral beliefs’. This predicament contrasts with the rigorous evidence we have for our beliefs about the physical world (climate-change denialists notwithstanding). The contrast has tempted some philosophers to argue that moral theories can rest on the same kind of evidence as scientific ones, or even that scientific and moral beliefs form part of a single coherent and well-evidenced picture of the world. I will describe these efforts before highlighting a problem: their threat to undermine scientific enquiry itself, which need to be (in a specific sense) value free.”