Conciliating to avoid moral scepticism

Nick Küspert*

*Corresponding author for this work

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A common worry about moral conciliationism is that it entails at best uncertainty about many of our moral beliefs and at worst epistemological moral scepticism. Against this worry, I argue that moral conciliationism saves us from epistemological moral scepticism and enables us to be confident in many of our moral beliefs. First, I show that only taking disagreements seriously as a threat to our beliefs allows us to utilise agreements in support of our beliefs (call this symmetry). Next, I argue that utilising moral agreements as an epistemic resource allows moral conciliationism to resist the potentially worrisome reduction in confidence of our moral beliefs. Taking the relevance of moral agreement into account, I argue that it is anti-conciliationism that must meet the challenge of epistemological moral scepticism. For this, I suggest that moral inquiry is best understood as a collective endeavour. If so, then agreement on our moral judgments is required to justify the confidence we have in many of our moral beliefs. However, by symmetry, this appeal is possible only if one accepts the conciliatory attitude towards disagreements. Hence, accepting, rather than rejecting moral conciliationism, is the way out of moral scepticism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-300
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number3
Early online date8 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2023


  • Peer disagreement
  • Moral disagreement
  • Conciliationiism
  • Moral scepticism


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