Many thanks to Simon Blackburn, Richard Joyce, Hatha McDivitt, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Stephen Stich and an anonymous referee. Funding for this work was provided to MDH by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Human Social Dynamics).
The Argument from Disagreement and the Role of Cross-Cultural Empirical Data
Article first published online: 18 OCT 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Mind & Language
Volume 25, Issue 5, pages 541–560, November 2010
How to Cite
FRASER, B. and HAUSER, M. (2010), The Argument from Disagreement and the Role of Cross-Cultural Empirical Data. Mind & Language, 25: 541–560. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.2010.01400.x
- Issue published online: 18 OCT 2010
- Article first published online: 18 OCT 2010
The Argument from Disagreement (AD) (Mackie, 1977) depends upon empirical evidence for ‘fundamental’ moral disagreement (FMD) (Doris and Stich, 2005; Doris and Plakias, 2008). Research on the Southern ‘culture of honour’ (Nisbett and Cohen, 1996) has been presented as evidence for FMD between Northerners and Southerners within the US. We raise some doubts about the usefulness of such data in settling AD. We offer an alternative based on recent work in moral psychology that targets the potential universality of morally significant distinctions (e.g. means vs. side-effects, actions versus omissions). More specifically, we argue that a recent study showing that a rural Mayan population fails to perceive as morally significant the distinction between actions and omissions provides a plausible case of FMD between Mayans and Westerners.