The pragmatics of moral change - A philosophical analysis of indignation in claims that we demand too much
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Revisionist proposals make up a substantial part of moral philosophy. Philosophers who favour a particular theory often propose we should act in accordance with this theory, and when we claim they demand too much they often argue that we have no substantial arguments for those claims. In order to create a better understanding of why we think some proposals demand too much, I will give two examples that show that when we propose revisionist changes we often ask things of people that they find too demanding. It will become clear that in both these cases the reactions of people to those changes show signs of indignation in addition to claiming that these proposals demand too much. This indignation is much more complex than often assumed. We show indignation because the commitments that shape our lives are threatened and because the frameworks we use to interpret the actions of others and shape our own actions with are breached. When we experience indignation because the proposed changes threaten to alienate us from our commitments, thereby not adhering to the ‘Principle of Minimal Psychological Realism’, we should not dismiss rejections claiming that too much is demanded as easily as philosophy is wont to do.