“Moral Bias and Corrective Practices” and the possibility of an ongoing moral catastrophe

Link post

(The full ar­ti­cle is at the link if you scroll down a bit.)

EAs have wor­ried about “the pos­si­bil­ity of an on­go­ing moral catas­tro­phe” in talks like Mo­ral Progress and Cause X.

One ap­proach to this prob­lem is to look to his­tory (where in­stances of gen­uine moral progress are clearer) and see what meth­ods of moral rea­son­ing were used and to what effect. If we find meth­ods that were re­li­ably cor­re­lated with moral progress in that past, that may offer hope for the fu­ture.

Mo­ral Bias and Cor­rec­tive Prac­tices: A Prag­ma­tist Per­spec­tive looks at moral rea­son­ing and its effects in the case of Amer­i­can slav­ery. It ar­gues that “the moral bi­ases of slav­ery ad­vo­cates proved largely im­mune to cor­rec­tion by the dom­i­nant meth­ods of moral philos­o­phy, which were de­ployed by white abo­li­tion­ists. As­cent to the a pri­ori led to ab­stract moral prin­ci­ples—the Golden Rule, the equal­ity of hu­mans be­fore God—that set­tled noth­ing be­cause their ap­pli­ca­tion to this world was con­tested. Table-turn­ing ex­er­cises were in­effec­tive for similar rea­sons. Reflec­tive equil­ibrium did not clearly fa­vor the abo­li­tion­ists, given au­thor­i­tar­ian, Bibli­cal, and racist premises shared by white abo­li­tion­ists and slav­ery ad­vo­cates.”