Moral Strata

Another Approach to Reflective Equilibrium

  • John R. Welch

Part of the Theory and Decision Library A: book series (TDLA, volume 49)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. John R. Welch
    Pages 1-16
  3. John R. Welch
    Pages 17-46
  4. John R. Welch
    Pages 47-94
  5. John R. Welch
    Pages 95-131
  6. John R. Welch
    Pages 133-168
  7. John R. Welch
    Pages 169-196
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 197-202

About this book


This volume recreates the received notion of reflective equilibrium. It reconfigures reflective equilibrium as both a cognitive ideal and a method for approximating this ideal. The ideal of reflective equilibrium is restructured using the concept of discursive strata, which are formed by sentences and differentiated by function. Sentences that perform the same kind of linguistic function constitute a stratum. The book shows how moral discourse can be analyzed into phenomenal, instrumental, and teleological strata, and the ideal of reflective equilibrium reworked in these terms. In addition, the work strengthens the method of reflective equilibrium by harnessing the resources of decision theory and inductive logic. It launches a comparative version of decision theory and employs this framework as a guide to moral theory choice. It also recruits quantitative inductive logic to inform a standard of inductive cogency. When used in tandem with comparative decision theory, this standard can aid in the effort to turn the undesirable condition of reflective disequilibrium into reflective equilibrium.


Analogical inference Comparative decision theory Concepts of supererogation and moral obligation Disagreements over morally phenomenal statements Plausibilistic coherence Plausibility theory Prototype theory Quantitative inductive logic Reflective equilibrium Theory choice in ethics

Authors and affiliations

  • John R. Welch
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Louis University – Madrid CampusMadridSpain

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-08012-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-08013-0
  • Series Print ISSN 0921-3384
  • Series Online ISSN 2352-2119
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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