Moral disagreement can be painful and involve deeply held beliefs. This combination may lead to conflict and even more disagreement—as a pebble dropped into a pool of water with ever-expanding effects.
Because moral disagreement is so prevalent in a pluralistic society it deserves serious thought. Consider the following questions: What is moral disagreement? What causes it? What occurs during disagreement? What are the consequences of moral disagreement?
What is moral disagreement?
Moral disagreement is a difference of belief about strongly held convictions. Convictions occur on a continuum—mild, moderate, strong conviction, and moral certainty. Some persons are morally uncertain and others morally certain. This uncertainty and certainty many times (but not always) evolves into moderate conviction. Morally certain persons are more likely to remain absolutely convinced. Person’s beliefs about one issue does not always apply to other issues. One can be morally certain about one issue but uncertain about others. And yet, some persons are morally certain or uncertain about a variety of issues.
What leads to moral disagreement?
In many cases the difference in belief is based on having different information, a difference of opinion about how to interpret information, or strongly held beliefs about others . . .