Domains Where Moral Philosophers Lack Ethical Expertise


Kian Mintz-Woo


Ethical experts do not know substantive moral truths, but are able to provide other information that is helpful to making moral choices. An ideal ethical expert is both well-versed in the non-moral aspects of the domain in question as well as the moral theories that could be applied. In a domain where the moral theory is fixed, greater ethical expertise along the dimension of moral theory is unhelpful. Economics is such a domain. I argue that those who should be considered as having greater ethical expertise for a normative choice in such domains are \emph{not} those with greater understanding of moral theory; they are those who have more information about the domain where the choice arises. Two interesting implications follow from this argument. The first is that the moral philosopher would in such domains be relegated to the sidelines. The second is that, in social decision-making, weighting the preferences or suggestions of those who have such familiarity above suggestions of the public could be justifiable.