Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Scepticism and the value of distrust
    (Taylor & Francis, 2022-11-16) ;
    Faced with urgent calls for more trust in experts, especially in high impact and politically sensitive domains, such as climate science and COVID-19, the complex nature of public trust in experts and the need for a more critical approach to the topic are easy to overlook. Scepticism–at least in its Humean mitigated form that encourages independent, questioning attitudes–can prove valuable to democratic governance, but stands in opposition to the cognitive dependency entailed by epistemic trust. In this paper, we investigate the tension between the value of mitigated scepticism and the need for trust in experts. We offer four arguments in favour of mitigated scepticism: the argument from loss of intellectual autonomy; the argument from democratic deficit; the argument from the normative failures of science; and the argument from past and current injustices. One solution, which we reject, is the idea that reliance, rather than trust, is sufficient for accommodating experts in policy matters. The solution we endorse is to create a ‘climate of trust’, where questioning experts and expertise is welcomed, but the epistemic trust necessary for acting upon information which the public cannot obtain first-hand is enabled and encouraged through structural, institutional and justice-based measures.
      12Scopus© Citations 5
  • Publication
    If Veganism Is Not a Choice: The Moral Psychology of Possibilities in Animal Ethics
    (MDPI, 2020-01-16)
    In their daily practices, many ethical vegans choose what to eat, wear, and buy among a range that is limited to the exclusion of animal products. Rather than considering and then rejecting the idea of using such products, doing so often does not occur to them as a possibility at all. In other cases, when confronted with the possibility of consuming animal products, vegans have claimed to reject it by saying that it would be impossible for them to do so. I refer to this phenomenon as ‘moral impossibility’. An analysis of moral impossibility in animal ethics shows that it arises when one’s conception of ‘what animals are’ shifts—say through encounter with other animals. It also arises when individuals learn more about animals and what happens to them in production facilities. This establishes a link between increased knowledge, understanding, and imaginative exploration on the one hand, and the exclusion of the possibility of using animals as resources on the other. Taking moral impossibility in veganism seriously has two important consequences: one is that the debate around veganism needs to shift from choice and decision, to a prior analysis of concepts and moral framing; the other is that moral psychology is no longer seen as empirical psychology plus ethical analysis, but the contents of psychological findings are understood as being influenced and framed by moral reflection.