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  • David Sosa

Abstract

In both ethics and epistemology an important question is whether justification is a fully internal or a partly external matter. In view of analogies between relevant considerations in each area, I recommend distinguishing, as basic and independent subjects of normative status, (i) agents and (ii) what they do. Evaluations of subjects, on one hand, and of their beliefs and actions, on the other, are less intimately related than is presupposed. This helps resolve internalism/externalism controversies in both domains. An important related advantage of the distinction is its effect on our understanding of normative luck, both moral and epistemic.

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References

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Hume, D. 1748. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.
Kant, I. 1785. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.
Murdoch, I. 1970. The Sovereignty of Good. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Nagel, T. 1979. Mortal Questions. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Smith, A. 1759. The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Smith, M. 1994. The Moral Problem. Oxford: Wiley/Blackwell.
Sosa, D. 2016. ‘The Vice of Virtue Theory.’ In Mi, C., Slote, M. and Sosa, E. (eds), Moral and Intellectual Virtues in Western and Chinese Philosophy. New York, NY: Routledge.
Thomson, J. J. 1989. ‘Morality and Bad Luck.’ Metaphilosophy, 20. Reprinted in Statman, D., 1993. Moral Luck, pp. 195215. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Williams, B. 1982. Moral Luck. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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