Andrea Petrou (LSE) - 2021-22 Students

Hedging our moral bets: Treating moral uncertainty as analogous to preference uncertainty

Moral uncertainty research has long treated uncertainty of the moral truth as completely analogous to empirical uncertainty. I question this analogy, aiming to find out if a more fruitful way to manage moral uncertainty is by analogy to uncertainty about our desires or preferences. In broad terms, my thesis will explore the possibility that the methods by which decision theorists determine someone’s preferences can also be used to find out someone’s moral values. This has the potential to solve one of the most pressing issues in the literature – the problem of making comparisons between the values stipulated by different moral theories. I argue that we often make implicit judgments of intertheoretic value comparison and that measuring these judgments will solve the problem. I focus on how we might use the methodology of revealed preference theory, which is ordinarily used to measure an agent’s non-moral preferences. In addition, I would like to explore other ways in which an analogy with uncertainty of our desires can be developed.

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