In our last round, Charlie Kurth (Washington University in St. Louis) was tagged by Gillian Russell (Washington University in St. Louis), a tag that was geographically close but one that boldly shifted the game from the epistemology of logic to moral psychology. Now it’s time for Kurth to make his move:
Practical reflection is having a hard time of it. Whereas the consensus used to be that this capacity must have a central place in our understanding of what makes for good moral and practical decision making, recent work by psychologists and empirically minded philosophers (e.g., Jonathan Haidt, John Doris) suggests otherwise: reflection’s role, they suggest, is trivial or illusory—perhaps even downright pernicious. “In Defense of Reflection” (Philosophical Issues 23 : 223-243) by Valerie Tiberius (University of Minnesota) takes issue with this recent line of skepticism. In this paper, Tiberius makes two interesting moves. First, she notes that much of the empirical work motivating this skepticism targets a form of reflection that is concerned with analyzing reasons. But she argues that this kind of reflection isn’t particularly important for good moral and practical decision making. Second, she identifies a form of reflection that she does think is important—namely, reflection that helps us put our values and needs into a coherent whole. Moreover, she argues that reflection of this sort can avoid the skeptics’ empirically grounded worries. The result is a particularly thoughtful and nuanced defense of the importance of reflection. So Valerie Tiberius, you’re it!