Expert Moral Advice: A Dialogue


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Moral philosophers sometimes take it to be within the domain of their expertise to tell other people what, morally, they should do. But is moral advice something that moral philosophers are experts in?

In a recent presentation, I argued that there are several reasons for thinking that being an expert in moral philosophy does not involve being an expert in moral advice, and that moral philosophers, especially, ought to have very low confidence in the moral advice they offer, as experts. I then look at the ethics of offering low-confidence advice, and argue that most moral philosophers’ own theories would judge it to be wrong of them to offer such “expert” moral advice.

As part of the presentation, I tried something new (for me): a play, or dialogue, really. I had Matthew Smith of Northeastern University join me in the front of the room to perform it with me—and perform he did, putting in his best Larry David impression. It was a fun alternative to the standard talk, at least for me. The text of the dialogue is below.

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