Is Moral Hedging Compatible with Moral Integrity?
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Moral hedging is a coherent phenomenon and a prevalent feature of our moral experiences. Furthermore, it is a method of moral decision-making that is capable of determining which actions make the most moral sense, in instances of moral uncertainty. The phenomenon of moral hedging can teach us a lot about the nature of morality and moral experiences; for example, the realm of the normative may not admit of normative treatment, reflective reasoning about moral matters can only take us so far with respect to determining which actions make the most moral sense, good moral decisions need not always be epistemically reasonable or reflective justified, morality is in important senses personal, intuitions of a moral modality are legitimate occurrences, and there are limits to the scope of moral authority. Despite these insights, moral hedging is incompatible with moral integrity. This is because it involves a recognition of the epistemic fallibility of one’s moral judgement that the person of moral integrity does not act on. This doesn't make the moral hedger epistemically vicious, but it does mean that the moral hedger is worthy of moral disapprobation, both in the eyes of others, and by the lights of her own moral convictions. Consequently, moral hedging involves not only undermining one’s self-identity, but also forsaking the worth of one’s character and one’s moral integrity. Moral integrity involves acting on a moral calling that cannot be rationally or reflectively accounted for; it is an irrational and pre-reflective decision-making procedure that cannot be illegitimised on these grounds. Morality may call on a man, at any moment, to surrender the most promising avenue to his own moral perfection, and what changes for the moral hedger is the future self that he aspires to having.
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