Moral Experts

For an early case for moral experts, see this paper by Peter Singer.  Read this, as well.

Gordon Marino offers this warning about thinking one is (or that there are) moral experts.  Also see this.  Marino also offers some Kierkegaardian warnings about ethics here.  For Marino on being a psychologist –in the style of Kierkegaard, see this page.

Marino is right about the dangers of self-deception and it may be that the language of “being an expert” or “expertise” is inappropriate in an ethical context.  Perhaps the language of “expertise” suggests ethics can be a matter of applying algorithms, but might it make sense to think that some persons are or can become (and can help others become) better in terms of ethical reflection and living ethically?  Can an ethics course or the study of ethics help one to:

Become a better listener, understanding the points of view of others–whether one agrees or disagrees with them?

Get better at feeling and expressing genuine, appropriate concern for the welfare of others?

Develop skills at showing (appropriate) compassion, affection, less given over to follow socially indoctrinated, harmful stereotypes?

Become better at self-examination and self-questioning in which one can improve one’s recognition of when one is prey to vanity, self-deception, professionally jealousy?

We know of no reason why the earnest, mature encounter with ethics (say, sharing ethical considerations within a community) cannot contribute to all of the above ideals.