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Making Moral Decisions: The Synergistic-Reflective-Equilibrium Model

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Making Moral Decisions: The Synergistic-Reflective-Equilibrium Model

ABSTRACT: This treatise is a contribution towards the understanding of why humankind cannot agree on the foundation of morality and why moral pluralism is the logical constitution of moral reality. The synergistic-reflective-equilibrium model is the model that will describe how persons can make moral decisions as pluralistic agents. If this model is correct, then it will not be a new discovery, rather, it will be a new description of how pluralistic agents do in fact make moral decisions. This synergistic-reflective-equilibrium description should then be useful not only in giving a fuller understanding of how moral decisions ought to be made, but also how moral philosophy can be united into a pluralistic collective whole. The first part of this paper defines the synergistic-reflective-equilibrium mode. It briefly explains how it is a combination of both the theory model of moral decision-making and the intuition model of moral decision-making. The second part of this paper defines mid-level principles and explains how they are a natural development of the synergistic-reflective-equilibrium method. It will then be shown that both Mill and Kant used this method in their own moral theories. Lastly, it will be shown how "weighing and balancing" and "specification" are integral components in this model and were also practiced by Mill and Kant in their moral systems.

Introduction

This treatise is a contribution towards the understanding of why humankind cannot agree on the foundation of morality and why moral pluralism is the logical constitution of moral reality. The synergistic-reflective-equilibrium model is the model that will describe how persons can make moral decisions as pluralistic agents. If this model is correct, then it will not be a new discovery, rather, it will be a new description of how pluralistic agents do in fact make moral decisions. This synergistic-reflective-equilibrium description should then be useful not only in giving a fuller understanding of how moral decisions ought to be made, but also how moral philosophy can be united into a pluralistic collective whole.

I. The Synergistic-Reflective-Equilibrium Model

The synergistic-reflective-equilibrium model is the position in which the justification of what is right or wrong is done by using neither a pure theory model, nor a pure intuition model. The synergistic-reflective-equilibrium model is a back-and-forth process—starting with particulars and going to the general and back to the particulars and so on and so forth. This is a constant process that never really comes to closure as new decisions are constantly having to be made.
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