It's (Still) All In Our Heads: Non-Ideal Theory as Grounded Reflective Equilibrium


Jaggar names six features of naturalized “reasoning toward justification.” These reasoning practices are desirable because they are likely to help non-ideal philosophers describe problems more completely, construct more accurate and compelling thick moral accounts, achieve better understandings of what is at stake for whom, and gain new insights about not only the problem under investigation but about moral concepts and conundrums more broadly. Contrary to Jaggar’s epistemological claims, however, these justificatory reasoning practices are neither fully “naturalized” nor hence epistemologically novel. Furthermore, the methodological process of reason-seeking and reason-giving that Jaggar proposes need not— perhaps should not—lead to the construction of realistic utopias. Non-ideal theory would do better to use naturalized epistemologies to identify and explore novel moral concepts and conceptions, to propose non-utopian approaches to mitigate lived injustice, and even to construct fully idealized normative theories about moral phenomena and questions made visible by situated inquiry into non-ideal circumstances.


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Last updated on 01/05/2018