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The Epistemic Life of GroupsEssays in the Epistemology of Collectives$
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Michael S. Brady and Miranda Fricker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759645.001.0001

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The Social Epistemology of Morality

The Social Epistemology of Morality

Learning from the Forgotten History of the Abolition of Slavery

Chapter:
(p.75) 4 The Social Epistemology of Morality
Source:
The Epistemic Life of Groups
Author(s):

Elizabeth Anderson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759645.003.0005

This chapter aims to explore how social groups learn moral lessons from history, particularly from their own histories, and with a particular focus on the history of slavery. It asks: how do historical processes of contention over moral principles lead groups to change their moral convictions? This interest is normative: how can we know that changes in collective belief count as moral improvements, as acquisitions of genuine moral knowledge? The chapter draws some lessons about how the social organization of moral inquiry—of contention over moral claims—affects the prospects that a group will be able to improve its moral beliefs.

Keywords:   history, slavery, change, social, groups, learning, lessons, inquiry

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