Mcgrath's Dilemma Analysis
4.1 The Dilemma
At this point in the dialectic, McGrath wants to make room for her non-inferential moral perception account of moral knowledge. One way she tries to make room for her view is by giving a negative argument against moral bridge inferentialism, one of the more plausible versions of moral inferentialism, which comes in a form of a dilemma. Here is McGrath’s negative argument, her dilemma, against the claim that all of our moral knowledge is inferential:
P1’: All inferences to known moral facts are of the form put forward by the moral bridge inferentialist.
P2’: We need to be able to explicitly state both premises, the non-moral facts and the moral bridge …show more content…
The dilemma is the question Q*: must moral bridge principles be explicitly statable? McGrath argues that, regardless of the answer, the moral bridge inferentialist cannot make her inferences to particular moral facts because the moral bridge principles turn out to be either trivial, false, or unknowable. In either of three cases, the moral bridge principles turn out to be unusable and unhelpful for the moral bridge inferentialist to infer to particular moral facts.
If the answer to Q* is yes, then McGrath argues that the moral bridge principles are either trivial or false. False moral bridge principles are useless in obtaining moral knowledge because of their falsity. Clearly, false moral bridge principles can be explicitly stated. For example, “if you lie, then you are morally wrong” is a false moral bridge principle which is explicitly statable. Obviously, this moral bridge principle is explicitly statable as I just explicitly stated it in text. Furthermore, it is false as there are a host of counterexamples. If I lie to my friend so that she receives a later great moral good, then I think, quite uncontroversially, that my white lie is not morally wrong. To be specific, if I lie to my friend about her surprise birthday party, I am not acting …show more content…
Why are they useless for the moral bridge inferentialist, as McGrath claims? Because if the bridge principle is trivial, then we need to adjust NM in order for the inference to go through. We would adjust NM to NM*, the collection of non-moral facts which are necessary to get M. But, in order to adjust NM for the inference to go through, we need to use some sort of moral relevancy condition, i.e. NM becomes “the non-moral facts which matter or which are relevant to the moral bridge principle.” However, changing NM to include a moral relevancy condition makes the inference into an inference from moral premises to a moral conclusion, and one hasn’t actually answered the initial question, that is, how do we get moral